CNH REPORTS THIRD QUARTER 2006 NET INCOME OF $67 MILLION, UP 148 PERCENT FROM $27 MILLION IN THIRD QUARTER 2005

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  • Equipment Operations third quarter gross margin up 1.8 percentage points
  • Improved full-year 2006 outlook for diluted EPS before restructuring costs - raised to a range of $1.40 to $1.50 per share from range of $1.30 to $1.40 per share
  • Global actions initiated to accelerate cost reductions, including optimization of North American Agricultural Equipment manufacturing footprint

LAKE FOREST, Illinois (October 25, 2006) - CNH Global N.V. (NYSE:CNH) today reported third quarter 2006 net income of $67 million, up 148 percent compared to net income of $27 million in the third quarter of 2005. Results include restructuring charges, net of tax, of $4 million in the third quarter of 2006, and $16 million in the third quarter of 2005. Third quarter diluted earnings per share were $0.28, compared with $0.12 per share in 2005. Before restructuring, net of tax, third quarter diluted earnings were $0.30 per share, compared with $0.19 per share in 2005.

"We were pleased at the continued strength of our construction equipment markets in the quarter outside of North America," said Harold Boyanovsky, CNH president and chief executive officer. "Our Equipment Operations gross margin improvement has continued into the third quarter, up 1.8 percentage points compared with last year, despite slightly lower revenues, and is up 2.2 percentage points for the first nine months compared with last year.  These results strengthen our confidence in our full year targets."

Highlights for the quarter included the following:

  • Research and development spending increased 21% from the same period in 2005, reflecting CNH?s continued investments in product innovation and quality.
  • The company launched a new line of utility tractors to provide reliable power and economical simplicity in an affordable package for modest budgets and a new, expanded line of front-end loaders with industry leading visibility and a quick automatic lock which makes it easy to mount or dismount the loader without tools.  In total, the company launched 15 new or upgraded products, as part of its ongoing product innovation and quality improvement initiatives.
  • As the company has continued to improve its product value positioning with customers, it was able to maintain pricing at a higher level than its total economics and currency related cost increases, resulting in another quarter of positive net price recovery for both Agricultural and Construction Equipment Operations.
  • To accelerate cost reduction activities, CNH today initiated new global initiatives, including the closure of its Belleville, PA and Goodfield, IL agricultural manufacturing facilities to improve manufacturing efficiencies. Production from these two plants will be relocated to other existing facilities in North America and Poland (which will assume full responsibility for production of European balers).
  • In September, Rubin J. McDougal was appointed Chief Financial Officer, succeeding Michel Lecomte who was appointed President of Parts and Services Operations.  In addition, Randy Baker, Senior Vice President for Logistics and Supply Chain was appointed President of Case IH Agricultural Equipment, while retaining his Logistics and Supply Chain responsibilities ad-interim.

EQUIPMENT OPERATIONS - Third Quarter Financial Results

Net sales of equipment, comprising the company's agricultural and construction equipment businesses, were $2.7 billion for 2006, compared to $2.8 billion for the same period in 2005.  Net of currency variations, net sales decreased by 6% compared with the prior year.

Agricultural Equipment Net Sales

  • Increased sales of tractors, specialty harvesting and hay & forage products were offset by lower sales of combines, reflecting the combine industry declines in the North and Latin American and Rest of World markets, resulting in a 7% decline in Agricultural equipment net sales to $1.7 billion, compared with the prior year.  Excluding currency variations, net sales were down 10%.
  • Net sales were up 16% in Latin America and up 3% in Western Europe, exluding currency variations.  Net sales in North America and Rest of World markets declined by 23% and 2% respectively, excluding currency variations.
  • Case IH introduced new or upgraded products including an upgraded MX Magnum tractor in Brazil, new compact tractors with cabs, an upgraded JX utility tractor, an upgraded Axial-Flow combine for Latin America and upgraded and re-powered models of sprayers.
  • New Holland introduced new or upgraded products including new compact tractors featuring "Super Suite" cabs, new utility tractor loaders, a new line of economy utility tractors for the North American market and a new mid-size combine in Brazil.
  • Worldwide production of agricultural tractors and combines was approximately 7% lower than retail unit sales in the quarter, following the company's normal seasonal pattern to decrease company and dealer inventories after the spring selling season.

Construction Equipment Net Sales

  • Increased sales of light construction equipment products, including the new line of compact tracked loaders led a 4% increase in net sales of construction equipment to approximately $1 billion, compared to last year.  Net sales were up 1% excluding currency variations.
  • Net sales increased 18% in Western Europe in a strong industry environment, 21% in Latin America and 8% in Rest-of-World markets, excluding currency variations.  Net sales in North America declined 12%, excluding currency variations, in a weaker industry environment.
  • New Holland Construction Equipment introduced re-powered and upgraded dozers in Europe and Latin America with increased pushability and leveling performance.
  • Sales in the quarter were constrained as overall component demand outstripped CNH's supply base's installed capacity, creating some temporary parts shortages such as hydraulic components for excavators.
  • Worldwide production was approximately 2% lower than retail unit sales in the quarter.

Gross Margin
Equipment Operations gross margin (defined as net sales of equipment less cost of goods sold) for agricultural and construction equipment increased by 8% to $470 million, compared to the third quarter of 2005. As a percent of net sales, gross margin increased 1.8 percentage points to 17.5%.

  • Agricultural equipment gross margin increased in both dollars and as a percent of net sales compared to the prior year.  Positive price recovery and other actions, more than offset the impact of company actions to reduce dealer and company inventories and weaker combine industry volumes.
  • Construction equipment gross margin also increased in both dollars and as a percent of net sales.  Positive price recovery and manufacturing efficiencies contributed to the improvement.

Industrial Operating Margin
Equipment Operations industrial operating margin (defined as net sales of equipment, less cost of goods sold, SG&A and R&D costs) increased 21% to $158 million, or 5.9% of net sales, compared to $131 million or 4.7% of net sales in the third quarter of 2005.  The higher gross margin noted above drove the improvement, while SG&A costs as a percent of sales were unchanged from the prior year.  Increased investments in R&D to increase product innovation by brand and to improve product quality were a partial offset.

Adjusted EBITDA
Adjusted EBITDA for Equipment Operations (defined as net income excluding net interest expense, income tax provision (benefit), depreciation and amortization and restructuring) increased 16% to $185 million, or 6.9% of net sales, compared to $160 million in 2005, or 5.8% of net sales.  Interest coverage, on a last 12 months basis (defined as adjusted EBITDA for the past 12 months divided by net interest expense for the past 12 months) was 5.0 times for the period ended September 30, 2006, compared with 3.2 times for the same period ended September 30, 2005.

FINANCIAL SERVICES - Third Quarter Financial Results
Financial Services operations reported a 19% increase in net income, to $62 million, reflecting portfolio growth and higher gains on asset backed securitizations partially offset by the impact of higher funding costs and higher SG&A and other expense.

CNH Year-to-Date Financial Results
CNH's net income for the nine months rose 65% to $257 million, compared to $156 million for 2005.  Results include restructuring charges, net of tax, of $13 million in 2006, and $24 million in 2005.  Nine month diluted earnings per share increased 63% to $1.09, compared to $0.67 per share in 2005.   Before restructuring, net of tax, diluted earnings per share were $1.15, compared with $0.77 per share in 2005.

EQUIPMENT OPERATIONS - Year-to-Date Financial Results
Net sales of equipment, comprising the company's agricultural and construction equipment businesses, were $9.1 billion, compared to $9.0 billion in 2005. Net of currency variations, net sales increased by 1% over the prior year.

Adjusted EBITDA for Equipment Operations increased by 19% to  $671 million, or 7.4% of net sales, compared to $564 million in 2005, or 6.3% of net sales.

FINANCIAL SERVICES - Year-to-Date Financial Results
Financial Services operations reported 12% higher net income of $163 million, compared to $145 million last year, reflecting portfolio growth and higher gains on asset backed securitizations partially offset by higher Brazilian agricultural equipment credit losses, higher funding costs and higher SG&A and other expense.

NET DEBT AND OPERATING CASH FLOW
Equipment Operations Net Debt (defined as total debt less cash and cash equivalents, deposits in Fiat affiliates cash management pools and intersegment notes receivables) was $378 million on September 30, 2006, compared to $137 million at June 30, 2006, $719 million at December 31, 2005 and $839 million at September 30, 2005. Net debt to net capitalization was 6.6% at September 30, 2006, down from12.5% at December 31, 2005. As of September 30, 2006, CNH had 235.9 million common shares outstanding.

In the quarter, net debt increased by $241 million principally because of $180 million of cash used by operating activities, primarily increased working capital, and $58 million of capital expenditures. Working capital (defined as accounts and notes receivable, excluding inter-segment notes receivable, plus inventories less accounts payables), net of currency variations, increased by approximately $178 million in the quarter.  Payables declined more rapidly than total receivables and inventories in the period which included numerous plant vacation shut-downs, particularly in Europe. At incurred currency rates, working capital at September 30, 2006 was $2.241 billion, up $173 million from $2.068 billion at December 31, 2005 but down $56 million from $2.297 billion at September 30, 2005.

In July, CNH's wholly owned subsidiary, Case New Holland, Inc. exchanged 100% of its  7.125% Senior Notes due 2014 issued in a first quarter 2006 private offering, for new 7.125% Senior Notes due 2014 that have been registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

Financial Services Net Debt decreased by $732 million to $4.2 billion at September 30, 2006 from June 30, 2006, reflecting primarily the proceeds of its $1.3 billion U.S. retail asset backed securitization transaction completed during the quarter.

AGRICULTURAL EQUIPMENT MARKET OUTLOOK FOR FULL YEAR 2006
CNH believes that worldwide industry unit retail sales of agricultural tractors will be 5 to 10% higher than in 2005, driven by an expected 20% increase in Rest-of-World markets.  Industry unit retail sales of under-40 horsepower tractors in North America are expected to be down as much as 5% from 2005 levels.  Sales of over-40 horsepower tractors in North America also are expected to be down as much as 5% from 2005, with industry sales of 40 to 100 horsepower tractors at approximately the same level as last year and sales of over 100 horsepower tractors down 15 to 18%. Agricultural tractor markets in Western Europe are expected to be at approximately the same levels as in 2005 and markets in Latin America could be down as much as 5%.

Worldwide industry unit retail sales of combine harvesters may be down 10 to 15%.  Western European and Rest-of-World markets could be flat to down as much as 5%, while industry sales in North America could be down as much as 10%.  Industry sales in Latin America are expected to be down 35 to 40%.

CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT MARKET OUTLOOK FOR FULL YEAR 2006
CNH believes that worldwide industry unit retail sales of construction equipment will be stronger than in 2005. Worldwide industry sales of heavy construction equipment are expected to increase by 10 to 15%, led by increases of 15 to 20% in Rest-of-World markets and Latin America.  Industry unit sales in Western Europe and in North America could be up 5 to 10% compared with 2005.

Worldwide industry unit retail sales of light construction equipment could be up as much as 10%, with Western Europe up 10 to 15%, Rest-of-World markets up as much as 20% and markets in Latin America up 25 to 30%. In North America, industry sales are expected to be at about the same level as in full year 2005.

CNH OUTLOOK FOR FULL YEAR 2006
CNH expects its net sales of equipment to increase in the range of 2 to 4%. Results of pricing and margin improvement initiatives at Equipment Operations through the first nine months will continue to drive better results in the fourth quarter. New products are expected to improve sales volumes, beginning in the fourth quarter. Profitability at Financial Services is expected to be up 5 to 10% compared with 2005 and results of CNH's joint ventures are now expected to record additional improvements over 2005. The benefit of this improvement at Equipment Operations will be partially offset by an increase in CNH's effective tax rate, as previously stated.

CNH now anticipates that 2006 diluted earnings per share, before restructuring, net of tax, should be in the range of $1.40 to $1.50, compared with $0.95 per share for 2005.

CNH is planning to undertake new actions around the globe aimed at readjusting the organizational structure to evolving business needs.  These actions include optimizing its North American Agricultural Equipment manufacturing footprint to drive efficiency.  CNH anticipates that the cost of all these actions, in total, will be approximately $100 million before tax.  Approximately $70 million, before tax, is expected to be recognized in the fourth quarter of 2006, with the balance to be recognized in 2007 and beyond.  This will increase 2006 full-year restructuring costs, net of tax, to approximately $110 million.

The company's previously announced $120 million contribution to its U.S. defined benefit pension plan was made in April, 2006. After considering this contribution, Equipment Operations continues to expect to reduce its year-end 2006 level of net debt by approximately $400 million, as compared with year-end 2005.

Adoption of the FASB's SFAS No. 158 at year-end 2006, which will require CNH to recognize the full funded status of its pension and other post retirement benefit plans liability on its balance sheet, could result in a estimated reduction, based on 2005 actual results, of CNH's Shareholders? Equity of approximately $550 million, net of tax.

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CNH management will hold a conference call later today to review its third quarter results. The conference call Webcast will begin at approximately 9:00 a.m. U.S. Central Time; 10:00 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time. This call can be accessed through the investor information section of the company's Web site at www.cnh.com> and is being carried by CCBN.

CNH Global N.V. is a world leader in the agricultural and construction equipment businesses. Supported by more than 11,000 dealers in 160 countries, CNH brings together the knowledge and heritage of its Case and New Holland brand families with the strength and resources of its worldwide commercial, industrial, product support and finance organizations. CNH Global N.V., whose stock is listed at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:CNH), is a majority-owned subsidiary of Fiat S.p.A. (FIA.MI; NYSE:FIA), More information about CNH and its Case and New Holland products can be found online at www.cnh.com.

Forward-looking statements. This press release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact contained in this press release, including statements regarding our competitive strengths, business strategy, future financial position, budgets, projected costs and plans and objectives of management, are forward-looking statements. These statements may include terminology such as "may," "will," "expect,", "could", "should," "intend," "estimate," "anticipate," "believe," "outlook," "continue," "remain," "on track," "goal," or similar terminology.

Our outlook is predominantly based on our interpretation of what we consider key economic assumptions and involves risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ. Crop production and commodity prices are strongly affected by weather and can fluctuate significantly. Housing starts and other construction activity are sensitive to interest rates and government spending. Some of the other significant factors for us include general economic and capital market conditions, the cyclical nature of our business, customer buying patterns and preferences, foreign currency exchange rate movements, our hedging practices, our and our customers? access to credit, actions by rating agencies concerning the ratings of our debt securities and asset backed securities and the ratings of Fiat S.p.A., risks related to our relationship with Fiat S.p.A., political uncertainty and civil unrest or war in various areas of the world, pricing, product initiatives and other actions taken by competitors, disruptions in production capacity, excess inventory levels, the effect of changes in laws and regulations (including government subsidies and international trade regulations), the results of legal proceedings, technological difficulties, results of our research and development activities, changes in environmental laws, employee and labor relations, pension and health care costs, relations with and the financial strength of dealers, the cost and availability of supplies from our suppliers, raw material costs and availability, energy prices, real estate values, animal diseases, crop pests, harvest yields, government farm programs and consumer confidence, housing starts and construction activity, concerns related to modified organisms and fuel and fertilizer costs. Additionally, our achievement of the anticipated benefits of our profit improvement initiatives depends upon, among other things, industry volumes as well as our ability to effectively rationalize our operations and to execute our brand strategy. Further information concerning factors that could significantly affect expected results is included in our Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2005.

We can give no assurance that the expectations reflected in our forward-looking statements will prove to be correct. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements. All written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to us are expressly qualified in their entirety by the factors we disclose that could cause our actual results to differ materially from our expectations. We undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements.