Ambitious plans by Case IH managers in Europe to increase sales by 50% over the next three years are being supported in developing markets by one of North America's largest retail dealer groups.

With Case IH managers' enthusiastic backing, Titan Machinery, headquartered in West Fargo, N.D., has acquired or started a number of dealerships in four countries in Eastern Europe, to bring investment in resources and improve the service and management culture of the businesses.

"At the beginning of last year, Case IH launched a marketing collaboration in Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia with Titan Machinery, one of the leading Case IH dealers in the U.S.," explains Matthew Foster, Case IH vice president for Europe. "Our clear objective in Europe is to build on and continue the rapid market development we have enjoyed in recent years, and this venture with Titan Machinery is coming on splendidly."

Andreas Klauser, president and CEO of global operations, wants to see Europe contributing another $50 million to Case IH Agriculture's portion of CNH revenues, which will involve lifting sales from around $1 billion today to $1.5 billion in 2015.

"I am convinced that the development we are going through in Europe in every way rivals the growth experienced in the U.S.," says Klauser. "We have innovative products backed by motivated employees and dealers offering first-rate service."

Managers have worked tirelessly to rebuild the Case IH brand in Europe after it bombed in the wake of the merger with New Holland in 2000. The decision by former CNH CEO Harold Boyanovsky to revert to management and operational structures by brand was a key turning point that gave Case IH its individual identity once more.

The former Steyr tractor plant in Austria has become a very visible Case IH headquarters in Europe and tractor sales have steadily improved, rising 5% in the past year, reports Foster. The Case IH range will be bolstered this year by the rollout of four ranges of general purpose tractors below 115 horsepower carrying the familiar Farmall brand.

Sales of U.S. built Axial-Flow combines are also gathering pace as a result of overall performance gains and more specifically through the introduction of tracks, wider cutting tables and more effective residue management.

Titan Machinery's role is to help unlock the potential for growth in developing Eastern and Central European states, where it has acquired two Case IH agricultural equipment dealerships in Romania and added a third branch, and bought a seven-dealer business in Bulgaria and one in Serbia, with combined revenues of $59.5 million.

In addition, Titan is expanding an established exports business in Ukraine by setting up a Case IH distribution company for selected regions.

As a result of these and a raft of dealership acquisitions in the U.S., the company has raised its guidance on full-year revenues to the end of January to between $2 billion and $2.15 billion.