Back to Racing News & Views
Why are people brand loyal?
Early Caterpillar
Early Caterpillar
February 11th 2008 - Whether it is motorcycles, automobiles, engines, tractors, beer, sodas...or even antique equipment, people become brand loyal. We all know someone that is, maybe it is you. It is this reason, (or mabye the opposite reason), that when watching a NASCAR Race with my father-in-law, I'll cheer for anything as long as it is not a Chevy. This tends to get under his skin a little bit, and we can't help but giving little jabs at one another.

Recently on the History Channel, I was watching something on Harley-Davidson, and the brand loyalty H-D has with some many people world wide.
H-D has the largest following of any manufactured product, now, and at any time in modern history! Why?

That got me to thinking, and I located this piece about people that are just as passionate about their Caterpillar Equipment. Read on, and enjoy. Let me know where your brand loyalty lies! - BRONCO

ANTIQUE CATERPILLAR MACHINERY OWNERS CLUB
If you ask Jeff Huff how many antique Cat® machines he owns, with a chuckle he quips, "Do you want the real answer, or the one I give my wife?"

The real answer is between 100 and 150 (sorry to expose you, Jeff). "I also have between 100 to 150 antique Cat scale models," admits Huff. "I try to have a model of all the tractors I've owned over the years."

The collection is fitting for the president of the Antique Caterpillar Machinery Owners Club, or ACMOC for short. While other club members may have less extensive collections, their love of Cat equipment easily rivals his. "I find it fascinating to stand and watch a dozer, scraper or motor grader—old or new—at work," says Kent Bates, a Caterpillar engineer for more than 30 years and an ACMOC member for more than 10.
Huff and Bates are two of the more than 3,000 ACMOC members. Founded in 1991, the club has grown from a handful of people in the northwest United States to chapters all around the globe, including the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. "Membership brings people from all walks of life: construction workers, doctors, lawyers, dentists, farmers, engineers, pilots, teachers, even politicians," says Huff. "The common bond is our love of machinery and interest in preserving history."

Despite Huff's impressive collection and the name of the club itself, you don't have to own antique Cat equipment to join. "Many people are fascinated by equipment but not everyone has the space and time to maintain it," says Huff. "If you live in an apartment, you really can't put a D8 in your parking spot."

Instead, many collect literature, memorabilia and antique scale models. Regardless of what they collect, all members are focused on the products of one company. That focus helps achieve ACMOC's mission of promoting interest in Caterpillar history. "Cat has literally changed the face of the earth," says Bernie Smith, ACMOC program manager and Caterpillar retiree. "During many major events in history—wars and rebuilding efforts, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the construction of the interstate highway system—Caterpillar was there."
"I think people are aware that Cat makes high-quality products and has since the beginning," says Bates. "What they may not realize is the diversity of applications and the company's early worldwide presence."

By the time Holt Manufacturing Company and C.L. Best Tractor Co. merged to form Caterpillar Tractor Co. in 1925, dealerships were already established in places like Cuba, Japan, Turkey and Uruguay. "No other manufacturer can boast of such a global beginning," says Huff.
ACMOC promotes Cat history through a bi-monthly magazine, website (www.acmoc.org) and regional and national tractor shows. Another method is supporting a new museum in East Peoria, Illinois—to be constructed on the same spot that Caterpillar was born. The Heritage Park Museum will focus exclusively on Cat history between 1925 and 1960. "ACMOC will provide the vintage machines for exhibits," says Smith. "Rotating exhibits will highlight Cat's involvement in helping build the world's infrastructure. This promotion of Cat history will be the ultimate for us."

ACMOC is also trying to grow its membership. It hopes a new deal between Caterpillar and one of its suppliers will help. The supplier now has the rights to produce and sell vintage Cat scale models, circa 1925-1960. (ACMOC also sells scale models, but on a limited basis.) On the packages of those models will be a description and information on how to join ACMOC. "A lot of people still don't know about us," says Bates.
"You need to keep growing membership for survival," says Huff. "If we don't keep the club alive and growing, we become stagnant and will eventually disappear. Again, it's about preserving history—ours and Caterpillar's."
These members' passion for history doesn't diminish their excitement for new machines. "I like to see the progress," says Bates. "Emerging technology that makes our machines easier to operate—that's exciting."

Still, it's that nostalgia—and story sharing—that attract most club members. "I can be on modern equipment during the week, and on the weekend go play on an older tractor," says Huff, owner of Huff Equipment Company, where he rents and sells mostly Cat equipment. "It makes me aware of what our forefathers went through: no sun protection, no environmentally sound cab, no radio. It's quite a contrast."

"I own 12 antique Cat machines and some vintage parts, but no scale models," says Bates. "I prefer the real tractors—and not just owning and restoring them, but operating them and doing real work. They don't have all the comforts of today, but that's okay."

A favorite story Smith likes to share is of a member and his first D2 purchase (a track-type produced in the 1930s and 40s) "During delivery, the tractor somehow rolled off the trailer and was badly damaged," says Smith. "He called Caterpillar, which still had shipping records and serial numbers for all parts. Cat supplied the replacement parts and even custom-made another," he explains. "Here's a guy who had an early ownership experience and it's one of the reasons he's been a loyal Cat buyer ever since."
 
Further Resources:
www.cat.com