S&P 400 Component
landscape & turf maintenance products
|Headquarters||Bloomington, Minnesota, U.S.|
|Richard Olson, President and CEO, Michael J. Hoffman, Chairman of the Board|
|Products||Professional and residential turf maintenance equipment and irrigation systems|
|Revenue||US$2.505 billion (2017)|
Number of employees
The Toro Company is an American company that designs, manufactures, and markets a range of turf maintenance equipment (lawn mowers), snow removal equipment (snow blowers), and irrigation system supplies for commercial and residential gardens, public parks, golf courses, sports fields, and agricultural fields.
The company is based in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington, Minnesota.
The company was established as the "Toro Motor Company" in 1914 to build tractor engines for The Bull Tractor Company,
In 1948, Toro enters the push mower market acquiring Whirlwind Corp. They sold push mowers under this name for several years. They would close the Whirlwind Co. Windowm Mn. factory in 1952.
In 1970, Toro's Chairman, David Lilly, and President, Al Conover, determined Toro's need to become a full-line lawn and garden manufacturer. To accomplish this, they recognized the need to offer a serious two-stage snow thrower line. However, persons who previously tried to accomplish this with less than stellar results, pronounced, "We are a mower company and don't belong in snow."
Nevertheless, Conover and Lilly assigned a couple newly employed engineers, to lead a group in research of alternatives for a potential new line of snow throwers. One of them then conducted the full line product development, resulting in a 3-unit line that received top ranking with Consumer Reports in its second year. Thus, Toro began its long-term domination of the snow industry. Later on, an unusual snow thrower concept, prototyped and demonstrated as part of this same research program, was developed further and became Toro's "Power Curve." These same two individuals went on to create a number of other original Toro concepts, including Toro's "kicker" based mulching mower system, its riding mower bagging system, its yard lights, its "virtual pivot" fairway mower attachment system, its leaf vacuum/blower system, and a number of other concepts to facilitate Toro's campaign to become a full-line lawn and garden manufacturer. In later years, and as independent consultants, these same people went on to create and develop these multiple new patentable concepts for Toro, plus multiple other Minnesota companies.
Thanks to excellent follow up and further improvement by Toro’s in-house product development engineering staff, plus very smart marketing efforts and decisions, Toro established its position as a genuine leader in the outdoor consumer product market.
In 1986 Toro acquired the Wheel Horse Products Division of American Motors Corporation (AMC). Wheel Horse manufactured a wide range of lawn and garden tractors as well as riding lawn mowers. The division was spun off from AMC for $8 million so that the automaker could maintain focus on vehicles. The benefits to Toro were its knowledge about the outdoor power products sector and buying Wheel Horse put Toro back into the riding mower business.
Lawn and garden tractors were then marketed under the Toro, Wheel Horse, and Toro Wheel Horse names. Acquisitions continued with the purchase of Lawn-Boy in 1989 from Outboard Marine Corporation.
In the 1990s, then CEO Kendrick Melrose changed the company's strategy, shifting its focus to "professional maintenance markets" (such as golf courses, sports fields, municipal parks, and commercial properties). The company grew by acquiring James Hardie Irrigation in 1996, Exmark Manufacturing in 1997, Hayter in 2005, Rain Master Irrigation Systems, and Turf Guard Wireless Monitoring Technology in 2007. The strategy yielded higher margins and offered more protection from the uncertainty of weather and economic conditions than the highly competitive residential market segments.
During December 2001, Toro adopted new accounting rules the Emerging Issues Task Force had issued and restated the prior periods. The adoption of these rules had no effect on operating earnings or net income.
In 2007 almost 70 percent of the company's sales came from professional markets, versus one-third in 1990. In 2007, the low-end lawn and garden tractor product manufacturing was outsourced to MTD Products, to be sold at Home Depot stores. Toro also discontinued its Wheel Horse models and retired the brand name in 2007. However, products and other brands expanded with Toro's purchases of TYCROP Manufacturing turf equipment product line in 2009 and USPraxis in 2010.
In 2014, the snowplow and snow removal equipment company Boss Products was purchased by Toro.
On February 15, 2019, Toro announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire privately held The Charles Machine Works, the parent company of Ditch Witch and MTI Equipment and other brands, for $700 million.
The company's products are marketed under several brands: