No matter how disconnected someone is from the construction industry, virtually everyone in America knows the name Caterpillar. It's an American institution, and today, its brand is virtually synonymous with heavy equipment of all kinds.
So perhaps it's no surprise that Donald Trump is now trying to associate himself with the company. After a wave of Super Tuesday victories, the extremely controversial Republican presidential contender wrote a veritable love letter to the equipment company.
During his famous rambling Super Tuesday speech, with a confused-looking Chris Christie standing behind him, Trump said:
"The Great Wall of China -- built 2,000 years ago -- is 13,000 miles, folks. And they didn't have Caterpillar tractors -- cause I only want to use Caterpillar, if you wanna know the truth. Or John Deere. [I] buy a lot of equipment from John Deere. I love John Deere, too. But [the builders of the Great Wall] didn't have tractors, they didn't have cranes. They didn't have excavation equipment. The wall is 13,000 miles long. We need 1,000 miles. And we have all of the materials. We can do that so beautifully."
It's not the first time Trump has name dropped Caterpillar either. Perhaps Trump thought he could win the support of construction industry pros, those who sell heavy equipment and used Caterpillar parts for a living. When Catepillar executives declined to comment, Trump began talking about how Catepillar is losing out to Japanese companies like Komatsu, an analysis the Wall Street Journal rejected. In 2011, North American market had the second-biggest construction equipment market, valued at $25.8 billion. And in 2012, Caterpillar was still the world’s largest construction machinery maker, with global revenues of $65.88 billion, which doesn't even include secondary sales of used Caterpillar parts.
It's true that economic problems in China hurt Cat's profits last year, but the company has repeatedly said markets like China will provide long-term growth for the company. So despite the proclamations of a certain presidential candidate, there's no reason for anyone selling new or used Caterpillar parts to start panicking.
If you work in the heavy equipment industry, then you become intimately familiar with the in's and out's of some of the most important machinery on the planet. You learn that hydraulic logic elements handle flows ranging from five to more than 5,000 gpm and pressures up to 6,000 psi and above. Yet mention heavy equipment components like camshafts and hydraulic couplings to a civilian and you're likely to receive a blank stare in return. Even the most basic items like bucket pins or Hardox plates will make most people's eyes glaze over.
But most Americans know the name Caterpillar, and that's not likely to change anytime soon, whether Trump ever builds his wall or not.