1920 > 1940
Lombardini began doing business in 1922, when Adelmo Lombardini — together with partner Pietro Slanzi — produced their first engine. In 1933, together with brothers Alberto and Rainero, Adelmo decided to start his own business and founded a company called, “Officine Meccaniche Fratelli Lombardini”. To do so, he bought an existing mechanics firm and its foundry, which were located outside Reggio Emilia.
After the overwhelming difficulties of the Second World War and, during post-war reconstruction, Lombardini was ready to meet the increasing demands of the market with the company’s line of engines (both diesel and gasoline), marine engines, and a wide range of tractors and motor-driven pumps.
1950 > 1960s
Two fundamental milestones in the life of the company were reached by the end of the 1950s: in 1957, Lombardini began producing the LA line of engines (single-cylinder air-cooled diesel engines), and in 1959 the product line was expanded to include the first tracked agricultural tractor: the Castoro model.
The resulting success was so great that the production facilities on the Via Galliano, where the company had been started, became too small. In 1963, the company decided to build a new factory, which is the current facility in Pieve (near Reggio Emilia).
At the same time, the company began to take on a true international dimension with the opening of its first foreign branches: France (1964), Spain (1965) and Germany (1967).
1970 > 1990
In the 1970s, the company was committed to reaching goals of technological nature: in 1970, the first small-displacement diesel engine with direct injection was built. The new unit was able to operate at 3600 RPM. In 1979, construction began on a Research and Development Center. Upon completion, it was dedicated to Franco Lombardini, who had died prematurely in 1980.
In 1986, the special independent Lombardini Marine division was founded to manufacture marine engines. It was felt that such a division could produce better results.
Thanks to Lombardini’s continuous efforts to raise the technological level of its products, the company was able to launch a line of water-cooled diesel engines in 1988:
- FOCS (Fully Overhead Controlling System)
- CHD (Compact Heavy Duty)
In the early 1990s, the growth that had begun at the end of the previous decade continued, thanks to an ongoing policy of making technological improvements to the product line. Thanks to this policy, the production strategies at the various factories were effectively revised.
In particular, Lombardini acquired the Acme Company in Valdobbiadene (near Treviso), which specialized in producing gasoline engines and the production of the CHD hi-tech, water-cooled diesel engines was concentrated in Slovakia.
Because of the company’s constant effort to improve quality, the quality system was certified as complying with ISO 9001 already in 1995. And in 2002, Lombardini was certified as meeting the environmental quality standard and the specific QS9000 standard for companies doing business in the automotive sector.
In April 1999, the company became part of the American group called Mark IV Inc. The positive effects of the change in ownership soon became clear, and an investment program began, that not only impacted research, but also led to a stronger competitive position.
The initial results of the acquisition were obtained that same year with the important purchase of Ruggerini Motori, Lombardini’s traditional competitor in the Reggio Emilia area. The final phase of this program saw the acquisition of a factory in India in August 2001. Its facilities included special assembly lines for single-cylinder diesel engines that power small motor vehicles, which transporting both goods and passengers in India.
2000 > Today
In 2007, Lombardini was acquired by Kohler Co.
Lombardini forms part of the most recent division, Global Power Group. Thanks to its position as a strong market leader, third in the world, in its own sector from 0 to 67 Hp diesel engines will make a significant contribution to the growth of the group. Partnership and integration will be the characteristics of this merger. Kohler manufactures and markets single and twin-cylinder gasoline engines worldwide, with a power range from 4 to 40 HP and is one of the best-known names in the States for its wide variety of engines, particularly those in the Lawn and Garden division. Lombardini manufactures and markets single and multi-cylinder diesel engines with a range of from 0 to 67 Hp which can be used in machinery in different sectors (agriculture, industry, electrics, building, automobile and marine). The skills acquired by both companies will contribute jointly to the growth in know-how of the group. Their partnership will also extend to the distribution network. The strong presence each of them has in their own market, Kohler in the United States, Lombardini in Europe with four sales branches in France, Spain, Germany and the UK, will provide an impressive business operation which will benefit both. Finally, entering developing markets will close the circle for a group which seems ready to redefine the history of the engine.