What became of the 9N/2N tractor builders after the split with Ford? Did they build the 8N, or go with Ferguson? September 4, 2016.
After the split, and when Ford stopped building the 9N/2N for Harry Ferguson Inc, Ferguson arranged for TE-20s to be imported from England so Ferguson dealers would have a tractor to sell. This was meant to be an interim step while Ferguson worked to set up a new source for tractors in the US.
At first Ferguson attempted to find another manufacturer willing to build Ferguson tractors, and when those attempts failed began working to set up his own manufacturing facilities in the US. A site was selected in Ohio but the deal fell through. Ferguson believed the deal was sabotaged by Ford people. There is considerable evidence to support that belief. As Ferguson worked to set up a network of suppliers for his new tractor he found Ford was contacting suppliers, and threatening to discontinue business with them. Many of the companies, fearing the power of Ford Motor Company, refused to do business with Ferguson.
Luckily, not all the suppliers felt threatened by Ford, and went ahead and agreed to do business with Ferguson. A classic example that is often cited is Firestone who supplied all the tires for the Ford Ferguson 9N/2N. Firestone refused to sell tires to Ferguson, and the result was a life long partnership between Goodyear and Ferguson, and later Massey Ferguson. Borg Warner was another company that refused to be intimidated by Ford and became a primary supplier for Ferguson.
When a suitable factory site was located on Southfield Road in Detroit all the initial paperwork was completed in the name of a surrogate company to avoid Ford sabotaging the deal. When the new Ferguson plant was completed the first tractor produced was the TO-20. As TO-20 production ramped up, imports of the TE-20 was discontinued. Because of tariffs in place at the time, Canada continued to be supplied with TE and TEA-20’s from the UK even though Ferguson TO-20’s were being just a few miles from the Canadian border. It was less expensive to have TE and TEA-20’s shipped from England than to pay the tariffs to ship TO-20’s from England.