Eisenach automobile plant

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VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach (AWE)

legal form publicly-owned business
founding 1896 (as a vehicle factory in Eisenach )
resolution 1991
Seat Eisenach , German Democratic Republic
management Wolfram Liedke (last Operations Director)
Number of employees
  • 578 (July 1945)
  • 2576 (July 1946)
Branch Motor vehicle manufacturer

AWE lettering on the portal of the former Eisenach automobile plant

The VEB automobile work Eisenach (short AWE ) was an automobile manufacturer in Thuringia Eisenach . The plant, which was founded in 1896 as the Eisenach vehicle factory, was taken over by Bayerische Motoren Werken AG in 1928 and nationalized after the Second World War. In 1953, the factory was given the final name VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach and produced the Wartburg from 1955 . In 1991 the company was closed by the Treuhandanstalt . At the same time, Opel opened a plant in Eisenach , which continues the tradition of the city's auto industry.


Vehicle factory in Eisenach

Company founder Heinrich Ehrhardt (approx. 1922)
Motorized two-wheeler "Wartburg" 1899
Wartburg motor car 1898
Wartburg motor car. An advertisement from the Eisenach vehicle factory from 1902

On December 3, 1896, in the Eisenach judicial councilor's office, Dr. Max Wernick, Bornstrasse 2, the industrialist Heinrich Ehrhardt , his son Gustav Ehrhardt and representatives of a bank consortium set up the Eisenach vehicle factory (FFE) as a stock corporation with a share capital of 1,500,000 marks.

The company was founded in Eisenach when the Prussian military administration Ehrhardt, which had already earned an excellent reputation as an army supplier, had approved an additional large order for 1,000 horse drawn military vehicles (ammunition and medical vehicles, field kitchens, limbs ) and the existing ones Plants in the Rhineland and in Zella-Mehlis did not have sufficient capacities.

A meadow land acquired by the Ehrhardt family in Eisenach was chosen as the factory location, the actual purpose of the plant was still concealed and after the turn of the year 1897 up to 1,000 construction workers and auxiliary workers were recruited. At the beginning of March 1897, construction began on the first factory building - initially for a bicycle factory - in Sedanstrasse on the northern outskirts of Eisenach. The majority of the Eisenach trade association initially saw this establishment as a threat and a major obstacle to urban development; they feared inflation , housing shortages and political unrest. On August 11, 1897, machines, tools, materials and almost 200 selected factory workers from Ehrhardt's works in the Zella-Mehlis area arrived in Eisenach on a special train; Series production of bicycles began the very next day. However, since the accommodation for the workers promised by the works director Gustav Ehrhardt was not available, 160 workers went on the first strike on August 24, 1897. Up until December 1897, the factory management also had to take legal action against the Eisenach retailers and hauliers who wanted to make a profit from the emergency.

After machine parts , guns and bicycles of the Wartburg brand had initially been manufactured, the production of the first Wartburg motor vehicle followed in 1898 . This corresponded to the French two-cylinder “Decauville”, for which Heinrich Ehrhardt had acquired the license . Ehrhardt's son Gustav was in charge of the plant in Eisenach , which at the end of the 19th century already belonged to the large companies in Thuringia with 1,300 workers .

In order to increase sales of the "petrol carriages" and automobiles, many manufacturers took part in races that were also rated as reliability tests. In 1899 the Wartburg motor car won 22 gold medals, trophies and first prizes. The speed of the vehicle had been increased from initially 40 to 60 km / h through technical improvements. With a specially designed two-seater Wartburg racing car, the vehicle factory won the 1902 international race in Frankfurt am Main; the 22 hp, water-cooled four-cylinder engine enabled a racing speed of a maximum of 120 km / h.

In 1903 Gustav Ehrhardt resigned from the company management after financial losses and differences of opinion with the main shareholders; In 1904 he was followed by his father, who took the rights to the Decauville license with him.

In 1904 the Eisenach vehicle factory gave up the brand name Wartburg. The products were given the new brand name Dixi , which comes from Latin and means “I have spoken”. The chief designer Willy Seck was now responsible for the technical development of the new “Dixi” models .

Dixi automobiles such as the flagship of the four-cylinder type "U 35" from 1907 with a displacement of 7,320 cm³ , over 65 hp and a top speed of 85 km / h were soon among the most renowned cars and gained a good reputation for their high performance and reliability . The Dixi model range contained mainly medium-sized and almost predominantly large, representative cars.

After the beginning of the First World War , production was completely converted to vehicles and trailers for the military: Army trucks, ammunition vehicles, medical vehicles, limbers, field guns, carriages and the like. With the end of the war, arms production also ended; Mass layoffs and political unrest threatened in Eisenach as well. In 1919, the factory management under director Rauh tried to delay the threatened bankruptcy of the company by cutting wages and layoffs, but the Eisenach trade unionists and members of the Communist Party organized warning strikes and protest meetings during the year, in which the employees and employees of the administration also took part. In addition, representatives of the Allied Control Commission in Eisenach began to dismantle machines and systems. At the end of 1919, civil automobile production was resumed with a selected part of the workers. In March 1920, the Kapp Putsch in Thuringia also spread to the Eisenach region. In May 1921, due to an economic crisis, the vehicle factory Eisenach AG merged with the Gothaer Waggonfabrik AG . The plant now traded under the name of "Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach, branch of Gothaer Waggonfabrik AG".

The competition as well as the general economic misery made it necessary to turn away from large models. The Dixi brand therefore changed its model policy towards the small car in 1927, as a result of which, with the small car 3/15 DA 1, a license production of the two-seater Austin 7, which had been successfully manufactured in England since 1922 , was used - a simple, small vehicle with a four-cylinder engine and the Appearance of a real automobile. The license agreement with the Austin Motor Company was for production and sales between January 1, 1927 and December 31, 1932.

The onset of the Depression and the Great Depression also shook the German automobile industry; there were numerous company failures and mergers. After the death of the main shareholder Luis Strupp and the short-term takeover by his nephew, bank director Ludwig Fult, the company came into the hands of Berliner Diskontbank as a restructuring case. This had the task of working out a redevelopment plan with the city administrations in Gotha and Eisenach, which was however decidedly rejected by both city administrations. Immediate bankruptcy threatened. In this emergency, the Berlin-based stock exchange speculator Jacob Schapiro managed to "acquire" the company. Schapiro also got the majority of shares in Gothaer Wagonfabrik and initiated the merger with Berlin's Cyklon Maschinenfabrik . There were great financial losses, which led to the sale of both works in 1928 to avert insolvency.

In November 1928, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG , which started automobile production, acquired the Eisenach vehicle factory ("Dixiwerke") for 800,000 Reichsmarks in BMW shares and 800,000 Reichsmarks in cash from the Gothaer Waggonfabrik, which had run into financial difficulties . This takeover resulted in the layoff of 1,430 workers and employees in 1929 who were now dependent on social assistance.

BMW branch in Eisenach

As the "BMW Zweigniederlassung Eisenach", the company ended in 1928 and later the well-known brand "Dixi". The popular new Dixi 3/15 was renamed the BMW 3/15 PS . The name is explained by the engine power of 15 hp. The 3 resulted from a complicated calculation of the then usual tax horsepower . For the 3/15, the calculation of displacement and number of cylinders resulted in the value 2.84 - rounded up to 3. In 1931 the 25,000 was already produced. Small car of the type BMW 3/15 , which was built in four models ( DA 1 to DA 4 ). In 1932 BMW let the license agreement with Austin expire a few weeks before the introduction of its own 3/20 AM-1 . This was further developed in several stages and built as the AM-4 until 1934 .

In 1933 BMW turned away from the unprofitable production of small cars and began developing and producing new types of cars with 6-cylinder engines between 1.2 and 3.5 liters. The first vehicle in this series was the BMW 303 convertible .

Around 1935 the factory premises along the Hörsel were massively expanded; The listed buildings O2 and O5, which are now used by the automobile museum, were also built during this period. In order to expand in an easterly direction, BMW acquired parts of the outdoor facilities of the former cigar factory on Fischweide in several steps ; today's Friedrich-Naumann-Straße was incorporated into the factory premises.

In the period that followed, well-known types such as BMW 315 , BMW 319 , BMW 326 , BMW 327 , BMW 335 or the elegant and successful sports car BMW 328 with a total of 62,864 were manufactured in Eisenach.

In addition to economical production, the Munich management also insisted on the highest possible quality of the vehicles. This is why the plant purchased numerous accessories and components from well-known manufacturers as well as the latest machines and technical systems from southern and western Germany. Body production had also been outsourced - in Berlin , the Ambi-Budd pressing plant produced the required sheet metal parts until the end of the war in 1945, after which the plant was located in the Soviet occupation zone and was completely dismantled. However, the pressing tools for the BMW 321/326 reached Eisenach in the winter of 1945/46, where the car was initially built as the BMW 321. In 1952, the successor type 340 came onto the market as a BMW; only later did it become the EMW 340.

Due to the concentration of aircraft engine development in Munich , the entire motorcycle production was relocated to the Eisenach plant during the Second World War . As a result, automobile production ceased there in 1941 and the war production of motorcycles began. The aircraft engine production set up in Eisenach was taken over in January 1937 by the new Dürrerhof plant of Flugmotorenfabrik Eisenach GmbH, Eisenach, founded in October 1936 with the participation of the Reich (from December 1939 after taking over the state shares BMW Flugmotorenfabrik Eisenach GmbH ). On July 20, 1944, the first area bombing of Allied bomber squadrons took place; During this attack, numerous civil buildings in the urban area that were in the vicinity of the two parts of the plant were destroyed. Three more times, on September 11 and 13, 1944 and February 9, 1945, the BMW plants near Eisenach as well as the infrastructure of the city (railroad, motorway, electricity networks) and the military objects on the outskirts were bombed, and there were also isolated attacks On-board weapons by fighter pilots.

According to the Führer order, the already badly damaged factory was to be blown up in April 1945 in order not to let it fall into the hands of the Americans . On April 6, American tanks moved into Eisenach before the detonation could occur.

At the end of the Second World War in 1945, 60 percent of the BMW plant in Eisenach was destroyed, but the machines and parts stocks were stored in the surrounding shafts of the potash mines on time. As a result of the war economy, all supplies of material were exhausted; During the first production start-ups, wooden parts had to be used for body parts. The BMW factory management had moved away with the withdrawing Americans in June; the planned recovery of the stored machines could not be carried out in this short time. Former employees and volunteers arriving at the plant began clearing the rubble and producing "urgent supplies"; they were thus entitled to ration cards. In July 1945 578 people were employed in the plant, in July 1946 there were already 2576 people.

On July 3, 1945 Thuringia became part of the Soviet occupation zone. As the dismantling of the plant and its transport to the Soviet Union threatened, Albert Seidler (Head of Motorcycle Production) presented a BMW 321 limousine to Marshal Georgi Schukow as testimony to the performance of the Eisenach automobile manufacturer , and Schukow actually asked for five new cars to be built.

BMW motorcycles were also highly regarded in the Soviet Union (the M72 was already based on plans for the BMW R 71 ), and so orders were given to manufacture motorcycles from the stored parts. 220 “R 35” units could be assembled, which were tested by the Soviet side and found to be good.

After the SMAD order No. 93 of October 13, 1945 was issued to “ensure that the new passenger cars and motorcycles are brought out to the vehicle and machine factory in Thuringia”, production was resumed in November 1945 for reparation payments to the Soviet Union . 3000 cars of the type "321" and motorcycles of the type "R 35" were required .

By order of the state president of Thuringia, all operating facilities were expropriated in September 1945. Corresponding contradictions from Munich were answered as follows: "[the contradictions] are only to be assessed as robbery claims by the monopoly lords and warmongers of BMW-Munich who are again in the leading position of German imperialism in West Germany today ."

Eisenacher four-stroke after 1945

After the Second World War , the Thuringian car plant was expropriated by the Soviet military administration in Germany and the Eisenach vehicle factory was continued as the Soviet joint-stock company AWTOWELO from September 15, 1946 . The loss of skilled workers and engineers was problematic. Before production was resumed, the factory buildings, some of which were in danger of collapsing, had to be provisionally repaired. For this purpose, industrially manufactured standard components were dismantled from the buildings of the BMW aircraft engine plant in Dürrerhof intended for dismantling and reused in the automobile plant. More than 20 duds had to be defused in and around the factory. The reconstruction of the plant dragged on in several stages until the mid-1950s.

Since practically no one could still afford a car, household items (cooking pots, coal buckets, letter boxes) as well as furniture and carts with steel-spoke wheels were made first. After that, a number of the old BMW models were built practically unchanged or revised. Between 1945 and the end of production in 1950, the plant built almost 9,000 BMW 321s .

In 1948, the BMW 340 was developed from the BMW 326 . This was further developed in the following years as the EMW 340-2 and also built as a combi version in small numbers. From 1949 to the end of production in 1955, the plant produced more than 21,200 copies of the 340 and 340-2. Successor models of the EMW 340 , which would also have had a six-cylinder four-stroke engine and had already been built as prototypes and in some cases already shown at the Leipzig Motor Show, no longer went into series production because they were technically too complex and did not fit into the concept of the central planning specifications at the time fit, which provided for a focus on smaller two-stroke cars for the GDR . In 1952, the EMW 327 sports car , which corresponded to the BMW 327 , was added to series production . A little more than 400 pieces had been produced by 1955. In 1952 a small series of Kübelwagen of 161 pieces of the EMW 325/2 (P1) was produced. In total, a little more than 30,800 four-stroke cars were produced in the Eisenach plant from 1945 to 1955 . The company also built the EMW R 35 motorcycle , initially in the rigid-frame version R 35/2 , then later slightly further developed as the R 35/3 with straight rear suspension. Between 1945 and the end of production in 1955, the plant built 83,000 of the R 35, R 35/2 and R 35/3.

Racing collective and rallying department

Works driver Paul Thiel and a mechanic, at the start in Leipzig in 1954

When the development of new vehicles began in 1947, the first thoughts were also given to the continuation of the racing tradition that had been cultivated before the war when the successful BMW 328 had set standards. During the development of the BMW 340 , head designer Gustaf Apel created the prototype of a roadster, the BMW 340-1, and a sports car, the BMW 340-S, in addition to the series vehicle in 1949. The streamlined BMW S1 and the 2-liter monoposto BMW Intertype were also produced especially for racing . Racing car design at BMW Eisenach came to an end in 1950 when Apel left the factory.

After the end of the 1952 racing season, the state racing collective founded in 1951 was relocated from Berlin-Johannisthal to the Eisenach engine plant, which had recently won a victory at the AVUS in 1952 with vehicles developed from the BMW 328 . From 1954 onwards, eight 1.5-liter AWE racing cars were redesigned in what is now the EMW racing collective , and they were successfully used in racing cars from 1954–56. With the drivers Edgar Barth and Paul Thiel , we were able to achieve highly acclaimed results in the 1955 Eifel race at the Nürburgring and in Formula 2 , and Arthur Rosenhammer set a world speed record over 10 miles with an average speed of 229.5 km / h. With the participation in the Grand Prix of Germany in 1953 at the Nürburgring, the first and only participation of a GDR racing team in a race for the automobile world championship took place. In April 1957, the construction of racing cars was discontinued by a government decision and the racing collective was dissolved.

From now on, racing should focus on the use of series vehicles in rally sport. The freed specialists and capacities were assigned to the development and testing department of the AWE, from which the AWE rally sport department emerged. It existed until 1991.

From BMW to EMW to AWE and two-stroke engines

In 1951, the Munich Bayerische Motoren Werke AG forbade the Eisenach company to use the name BMW. After the return from the Soviet administration, the plant was nationalized by the GDR in 1952 and initially renamed the Eisenacher Motorenwerk (EMW) . In 1953 the factory was given the final name VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach with the well-known abbreviation AWE . The VEB AWE belonged to the VEB IFA-Kombinat Pkw Karl-Marx-Stadt, which in turn was part of the Industrieverband Fahrzeugbau der DDR (IFA) . Against the will of the plant management, the conversion of the production from larger four-stroke to smaller two-stroke cars was ordered, which was perceived as offensive by the employees. In 1953 the production of the Zwickau IFA F9 was relocated to Eisenach. At the same time, the old BMW models continued to run for a while .

In 1955 the first " Wartburg " type 311 came on the market, a lower middle class car based on the same engine and largely the same technology as the F9. Robustness, variety of variants and beauty of form nevertheless ensured it extensive export successes. The then relatively modern production facilities with automated cylinder block production were worth the award of the National Prize for Science and Technology to the government in 1962. After a modern chassis was introduced in 1965, the Wartburg finally received a new, contemporary body in the form of the 353 . Since the projects to get a Wankel engine ready for series production failed, the two-stroke engine was still used. Although this had proven itself, its principle-related disadvantages such as high emissions and the relatively high fuel consumption were to lead to considerable difficulties in the following years, especially in export. For the reasons mentioned, an increase in displacement was also out of the question, only the output was increased slightly again in 1969 to 50 hp. Many of the improvements developed later by the designers, such as 4-stroke engines or new vehicle models, were never allowed to go into series production by government order, the car was only further developed in detail.

Growing problems and slow modernization

Site plan of the plants on the northern edge of the city center

Apart from the political guidelines, the AWE was particularly concerned with its location. Squeezed between the city center, the railway embankment and the Hörsel , there were no options for expansion and thus also no options for increasing production capacities. Even the now outdated building structure could not be renewed due to a lack of alternative options. The production thus took place in a very confined space and over several floors, whereby the installation of machines and systems was limited by the small dimensions and the insufficient load-bearing capacity of the building ceilings. Especially on the upper floors, almost only manual work was possible, which made production considerably more expensive. Although the pressing of the sheet metal was successfully outsourced to the Ludwigsfelde and Zwickau automobile plants, the high transport costs proved to be too expensive and logistically not particularly reliable.

Therefore, in the years 1976-84 a new plant with a total of four press lines was built on the western outskirts of Eisenach ("Eisenach-West"). This enabled AWE to manufacture all pressed parts in-house. However, due to the small number of pieces and the simultaneous need for continuous production, constant retooling of the press lines and the replacement of tools, which weighed tons, were necessary, which resulted in corresponding loss of time.

When in the early 1980s the long waiting times of customers for a Wartburg car caused severe resentment among the population, it was decided to increase production by 10,000 units per year at short notice. This was achieved by outsourcing the production of frames and chassis to the Theodor Neubauer motor vehicle plant in Gotha around 1983 . However, this measure entailed a considerable logistical effort. Apart from the transport of the prefabricated individual parts from Eisenach to Gotha, the finished chassis, which together with the mounted wheels, exhaust, gearbox and motor stood on specially made special pallets, were brought to Eisenach-West by two special Reichsbahn trains. There, six of them were loaded onto special trailers by means of a truck-mounted crane in all weathers and pulled three kilometers into the city center by tractors, where they were again unloaded and pulled to final assembly by electric carts.

When the IFA acquired the license to replicate the EA111 four-stroke engine used in the Polo from Volkswagen in the mid-1980s , this in turn entailed considerable investments in Eisenach-West. Because this meant that the engine had to be installed transversely, an extensive redesign of the front end was necessary, which, in addition to engine production, also meant a new transmission plant and modern body production for the modified front end. There was also a computer-assisted paint coating system for 110 million marks. The vehicle model, which was from then on called the Wartburg 1.3 , had little change in appearance and went into series production in 1988.

As early as June 1983, a decision was made about the future of the plant with a resolution to increase production while at the same time completely overhauling entire production lines. For the complex modernization of the plant, according to a feasibility study by the government, 4.3 billion marks were required up to 1995, of which 852 million marks in building investments. As a plan, the company had an annual production volume of 75,000 vehicles a year with a simultaneous decrease in the number of employees.

The end of the AWE and the time after it

On March 11, 1990, the joint venture company Opel-AWE-PKW GmbH was founded in Eisenach . This later Opel factory was built up in the AWE part of the business established in the 1980s in Gries , in the west of the Wartburg city . On October 5, 1990, an assembly line for the Opel Vectra was opened together with the then Eisenach automobile plant . Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl was the guest of honor at the opening ceremony .

On May 18, 1990, the Eisenach factory management took further steps to privatize the company with the approval of the state authorities of the GDR; saw the establishment of the automobile plant in Eisenach GmbH with registered capital of 400 million marks. Initially, the company was confident that the Wartburg 1.3, which was delivered with four-stroke engines, would be economically successful as a sedan and pickup variant. For the Wartburg Tourist 1.3, the bodywork and conversion specialist Karmann from Osnabrück presented a first modified variant. At the same time, the Irmscher Automobilbau company presented a prototype called the Wartburg New Line ; major innovations related to the body and technology. However, after the costs for series production had exploded after the currency reform, there was a stipulation in July 1990 to bring about a significant cost reduction; The aim was to save 30 percent. Most of the AWE's suppliers also complied. However, when demand for the Wartburg 1.3 collapsed with the introduction of the D-Mark , the AWE with its technically outdated production methods and products also ended.

Further parts of the highly qualified workforce were able to be taken over in 1990 in branch and successor companies, which were established in Eisenach thanks to state subsidies. These include Johnson Controls (seat production), Benteler AG (press parts production), the transmission manufacturer MITEC Automotive AG and Hörmann Industrietechnik GmbH as a service provider for production technology.

On January 21, 1991, the Treuhandanstalt ordered the cessation of production in the Eisenach GmbH automobile factory. 4,500 employees in short-time work were immediately laid off.

A law firm appointed as liquidator determined all assets and liabilities and implemented a master plan prepared by the trust for the gradual dissolution of the work. Spontaneous demonstrations in the city for the preservation of the plant were the result, up to and including a complete blockade of Autobahn 4 at the Eisenach-West driveway on January 25, organized by AWE employees, the works council and IG Metall . On April 10, 1991, the last Wartburg 1.3 rolled off the assembly line .

By the mid-1990s, several buildings on the western AWE site had already been sold to successor companies. The two power plants, the data center and the majority of the production and administration buildings in the city center were demolished as planned. The former gatehouse, the former east canteen and the production buildings O1, O2, G and G1 have been under monument protection since 1995 . The AWE clubhouse and the former polyclinic were also largely preserved. After years of struggle to preserve the listed building, the automobile world Eisenach technical museum opened on June 4, 2005 on the former factory site . The O2 building at Friedrich-Naumann-Straße 10 now houses vehicles and motorcycles from more than a century of vehicle production in Eisenach. In the museum you can see the Wartburg motor car from 1899, a double phaeton from 1910, a Dixi from 1928, a Wartburg Sport from 1958 and many other exhibits.

Directors of the AWE

The first plant manager known by name after the end of the war was BMW employee Alfred Schmarje, who was appointed as trustee of the Thuringian state government on September 15, 1945. The Soviet military administration appointed Avtovelo General Director Konstantinov and the chief engineer Mussruschin, who was responsible for technical matters of the plant. In 1955 Martin Zimmermann took over the position of Operations Director, followed in September 1968 by Wilhelm Helbach and 1979 by Dankward Fehr. Wolfram Liedke was appointed as the last operations director in December 1987, who handed over the automobile plant to the appointed liquidator in accordance with the negotiations with representatives from politics and the trust agency. At the side of the plant directors, 15 company secretaries were quickly appointed; only Günter Irrgang remained in office for more than three years (1980–1991).

Model overview 1945–1991

Illustrated timeline of the vehicles of the Eisenach automobile plant 1945–1991
Basic types Vehicle factory in Eisenach Eisenach automobile plant
BMW EMW Wartburg
1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s – 1991
5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1
Four-stroke Photo library df pk 0000 174 013.jpg
BMW 326
1945 to 1946
Federal archive picture 183-19000-3223, BMW plant Eisenach, first delivery.jpg
BMW 321
1945 to 1950
Fotothek df roe-neg 0006199 006 Front view of a parked BMW 340.jpg
BMW / EMW 340
1949 to 1955
BMW 327 2010-04-03.JPG
BMW / EMW 327
1952 to 1955
BMW / EMW R 35
1945 to 1955
Wartburg sedan 4d.jpg
Wartburg 1.3
1988 to 1991
Two-stroke IFA F9 front 20040924.jpg
EMW 309 / IFA F9
1953 to 1956
Wartburg 311 gray.JPG
Wartburg 311/312
1956 to 1967
Front of Wartburg 353 in Brno, Brno-City District.jpg
Wartburg 353
1966 to 1989
Wartburg 313
1957 to 1960
Wartburg 312 convertable during the Szocialista Jáműipar Gyöngyszemei ​​2008.jpg
Wartburg 312-300
1965 to 1966
Melkus RS 1000
1969 to 1980

Production statistics

The automobile production of VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach and its predecessors from 1898 to 1991

Period Type Production (vehicles)
1898-1903 Wartburg motor car about 250
1904-1927 Dixi car 6,090
1907-1927 Dixi truck 2,622
1907-1928 Dixi small car Dixi 3/15 9,308
1929-1942 BMW 3/15 , 3/20 , 303 , 309 , 315 , 319, 319/1, 329 , 320, 321 , 325 , 326 , 327 , 328 , 335 78,768
1945-1950 Post-war BMW 321 8,996
1945-1946 Post-war BMW 326 16
1952-1955 BMW / EMW 327-1, 327-2, 327-3 505
1949-1955 BMW / EMW 340, 340-1, 340-2 21,083
1952 Kübelwagen IFA EMW 325-3 166
1953-1956 IFA F9 38,782
1955-1965 Wartburg 311 / Wartburg 312 258.928
1957-1960 Wartburg Sport 313-1 469
1965-1966 Wartburg 312-1 33,759
1966-1975 War castle 353 356.330
1975-1988 Wartburg 353 W. 868.860
1988-1991 Wartburg 1.3 152.775
Total production 1,837,708

Breakdown of the production of Wartburg vehicles from 1955 to 1991

Manufacturing locations: Eisenach plant and the bodyworks in Halle and Dresden

Model Model year number
311 1955 00.162
1956 14,223
311 and 313-1 1957 23,285
1958 24,326
1959 29,020
1960 28,801
311 1961 30,232
311-1000 1962 26,209
1963 30.003
1964 31,998
1965 20,669
312 1965 11,035
1966 18,570
1967 04.142
353 1966 14.005
1967 30,438
1968 34,873
1969 37,447
1970 40,411
1971 43,200
1972 45,676
1973 48,470
1974 51,813
1975 09,997
353 W 1975 44,043
1976 55,510
1977 57,565
1978 58,732
1979 56,318
1980 58,325
1981 60.133
1982 61,300
1983 64,000
| 72,000
1985 74,000
1986 74,231
1987 71,520
1988 59,992
1989 01,191
1.3 1988 12.303
1989 70.204
1990 63,068
1991 07,200

The motorcycle production of VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach and its predecessors from 1930 to 1955

No figures are known for the first years of production.

Years of production 1942–1955
model vNumber
Heavy sidecar bike BMW R 75 18,440
BMW / EMW R 35 approx. 83,000

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Werner Oswald , Eberhard Kittler: All BMW automobiles since 1928 . Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-613-02053-X , Wartburg-Motorwagen and Dixi, ancestors of BMW automobiles, p. 8-10 .
  2. Paul Hogl: The first decade 1896-1906 . In: Operating party leadership of the SED in VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach (ed.): The engine . Special issue 1. Druck- und Verlagshaus Frisch, Eisenach 1966, p. 4-7 .
  3. ^ VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach (ed.): Races - Rallies - Series Cars . Druck- und Verlagshaus Frisch, Eisenach 1964, Motorsport from the beginning, p. 5-7 .
  4. Paul Hogl: The Struggle for Power 1918–1923 . In: Operating party leadership of the SED in the VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach (ed.): The engine . Special edition 3. Druck- und Verlagshaus Frisch, Eisenach 1968, p. 48 .
  5. ↑ Collective of authors: From the history of the company on the occasion of its 75th anniversary (1898–1973) . Ed .: VEB Luft- und Kältetechnik Gotha. Self-published, Gotha 1973, p. 17-27 .
  6. ^ New renovation of Gothaer Waggon In: Vossische Zeitung of October 20, 1928.
  7. Jensen Zlotowicz: SWG Eisenach plans residential construction on Fischweide 1 , accessed on March 17, 2014
  8. a b c AWE small chronicle - destruction and reconstruction after the Second World War (1945–1970), Eisenach city archive, inventory: August 30, 2003 - Eisenach automobile plant.
  9. Paul Hogl: Resurrected from ruins 1945–1955 . In: Operating party leadership of the SED in the VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach (ed.): The engine . Special issue. Druck- und Verlagshaus Frisch, Eisenach 1969, p. 5-11 .
  10. Motor vehicle show in Leipzig - but not without surprises. In: Automotive Technology. 4/1951, p. 80.
  11. ^ News from the automotive industry. In: Automotive Technology. 10/1952, p. 314.
  12. The probably last copy of the P1 (EMW 325/3) ( Memento from October 21, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  13. Horst Ihling : Auto racing in the GDR: 90 years of racing cars and motor sports, Delius Klasing Verlag, Bielefeld, October 2006, ISBN 9783768857888
  14. ^ BMW Eisenach became public property. In: Automotive Technology. 6/1952, p. 193.
  15. Deutschlandradio Kultur: 50 Years Ago: Ulbricht's Offensive - Visions of Socialism and Prosperity at the 5th Party Congress of the SED 1958 on July 16, 2008.
  16. Modern production technology in the VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach. In: Motor vehicle technology 1/1963, pp. 9-10 and 3/1963, pp. 89-94.
  17. 20 years of Opel Eisenach , accessed on September 17, 2012
  18. ^ History of Eisenach from 1990 , accessed on September 19, 2012
  19. Wartburg meeting on AWE closure at: www.eisenach.online.de , accessed on November 30, 2015.
  20. Open Monument Day 2010 at: eisenach.de ( Memento from December 18, 2013 in the Internet Archive ).
  21. ^ Result of an inquiry in the museum "automobile world eisenach"
  22. ^ NN: Association "Friends of the automotive industry in the Eisenach region" . In: MFB Eisenacher-Verlagsgesellschaft (Hrsg.): StadtZeit . January issue. Eisenach 2000, p. 24-27 .


  1. Foundation : The following people took part in the founding meeting: Banker Hermann Köhler, partner in the company Sulzbach Brothers, Frankfurt a. M .; Banker Lorenz Zuckermandel, partner in the Berlin Commandit company on shares K. Schlesinger, Trier and Co; Mr. Max Trinkaus, partner in the banking company KG Trinkaus, Düsseldorf; Secret building officer Heinrich Ehrhardt, Düsseldorf and his son Gustav Ehrhardt, living in Eisenach .
  2. ^ License : During a study trip to France, Heinrich and Gustav Ehrhardt visited the automobile plants of Panhard & Levassor , Decauville and other French manufacturers. In Ehrhardt's opinion, the vehicle built by Decauville was still fraught with many technical deficiencies, which he assessed as solvable at short notice .
  3. Ehrhardt's retreat : In his memoirs Ehrhardt cites the excessive profit claims of the major shareholders involved as reasons for his departure, the reason being the slump in sales in bicycle production, Ehrhardt had at this point in vain hoped for an armaments contract to equip cycling troops.
  4. Dixi passenger car production : A total of 15,822 vehicles can be determined from the literature that were manufactured as Dixi in Eisenach between 1904 and 1929; the most popular type was the Dixi 3/15 with 9,265 vehicles sold.
  5. ^ Austin Motor Corp. : The contract was a profitable business for both parties. A set of parts imported from England was included in every vehicle produced. During the transition period, Hughs Johnson, an English automotive engineer who had previously worked on improving assembly line technology at Ford Motor Company in Detroit , was hired as a technical consultant. The technology transfer that followed made it possible for the Eisenach automobile manufacturers to reduce the production costs for the Dixi considerably.
  6. Jacob Schapiro : Jacob Schapiro succeeded in a few years in acquiring large numbers of automobiles from well-known German automobile manufacturers and paid for them with bills of exchange . He let these bills prolong until the real values ​​of the bills had been reduced by the currency devaluation to such an extent that he could pay them from the proceeds of the vehicle sales and, in addition, made large profits. In 1930 the Schapiro Group finally collapsed, Schapiro was arrested in 1931: “You can't deny a certain pity for someone who has risen quickly and has now fallen down,” wrote the Neckar-Zeitung on November 13, 1931.
  7. Supplier companies : Material and parts from more than 150 supplier companies were required to manufacture the cars. Of these, more than 60 percent were in the western occupation zones, since 1949 in the Federal Republic. This constant dependency was a thorn in the side of the GDR government and should go along with the disruption of certain branches of the economy - e. B. can be solved by the chemistry program.


  • Wolfram Rödiger: Wartburg. 70 years of the Eisenach automobile plant . Ed .: VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach. Georg Mugler KG Oberlungwitz, Eisenach 1967, p. 158 .
  • Till Lorenzen: BMW as aircraft engine manufacturer 1926–1940. State control measures and entrepreneurial freedom of action. Oldenbourg, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-486-58155-3 (also dissertation at the University of Konstanz ).
  • Werner Reiche, Michael Stück: Milestones from Eisenach. A century of automobile history . Schrader, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-613-87260-9 .
  • Michael Stück u. a .: 10 years of the Automobilbau-Museum Eisenach eV 1992–2002. Druck- und Verlagshaus Frisch, Eisenach 2002, p. 18 (today: automobile world eisenach ).

Web links

Commons : Automobilwerk Eisenach  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 50 ° 58 ′ 52 ″  N , 10 ° 19 ′ 19 ″  E