Daimler Benz

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Daimler-Benz Aktiengesellschaft

legal form Corporation
founding June 28, 1926
resolution December 21, 1998
Reason for dissolution Merger with Chrysler Corporation to form DaimlerChrysler AG
Seat Stuttgart , GermanyGermanyGermany 
Number of employees 300,068 (December 31, 1997)
sales 124 billion DM (1997)
Branch Automotive , aerospace and defense industries

The Daimler-Benz Aktiengesellschaft was a predecessor company of today's Daimler AG . It was created in 1926 through the merger of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft with Benz & Cie., Rheinische Automobil- und Motorenfabrik . In 1998, Daimler-Benz AG and the American Chrysler Corporation merged to form DaimlerChrysler AG , which has been operating as Daimler AG since 2007 after the majority sale of Chrysler .

The forerunners of Daimler-Benz AG, Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft and Benz & Cie. , are considered to be the two oldest motor vehicle manufacturers in the world.


DMG factory in Untertürkheim 1911
Carl Benz's workshop in Mannheim , where he invented the automobile with a combustion engine

From the company's foundation to 1933

1883 was Gottlieb Daimler first patent rights for a gas engine with hot-tube ignition and for regulating the speed of the motor by controlling the exhaust valve secure. The two patents formed the basis for the world's first high-speed internal combustion engine . On January 29, 1886, Carl Benz patented the automobile , a three-wheeled vehicle with a combustion engine and electric ignition.

In June 1919, the first German newspaper appeared in the Daimler factory in Stuttgart . It arose from a proposal by the sociologist Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy . With his memorandum on the mental rehabilitation of the Daimler plant , he had offered himself to be a publicist. 19 issues appeared in 14 months until it was discontinued on August 25, 1920 because of a strike by communist workers' groups.


In the 1920s, almost all automobile manufacturers were struggling to survive. On behalf of the Reich Ministry of the Interior , Daimler built a number of special vehicles of the Daimler / 21 type for the state police . The only surviving specimen is in the Munster Tank Museum . The German bank suggested a merger of Benz and Daimler, also because they could trade in shares in the new group so demands. The companies Benz & Co Rheinische Gasmotorenfabrik Mannheim (from 1899: Benz & Cie. ) And Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft , which emerged from the work of both automobile pioneers , merged on June 28, 1926 to form Daimler-Benz AG , based in Berlin . Since then, Deutsche Bank has always appointed the chairman of the supervisory board at Daimler-Benz, and from 1998 also at DaimlerChrysler . Wilhelm Friedle , operations director at the Sindelfingen plant until 1935 , brought assembly line production to Daimler-Benz.

Daimler-Benz at the time of National Socialism

Daimler-Benz in Nazi propaganda

After the seizure of power of the NSDAP , the dedicated economy in Nazi German Reich reinforced in the area armor to the upgrade of the Armed Forces to benefit. Daimler-Benz developed and produced military vehicles, tanks, marine and aircraft engines . At that time, the group owned the three plants of the former Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim , Sindelfingen and Berlin-Marienfelde , which was divided into three sub-plants, and the former Benz & Cie plants in Mannheim and Gaggenau, as well as the new plant from 1938 Koenigsberg . The Genshagen aircraft engine plant of the subsidiary Daimler-Benz Motoren GmbH was established in 1936; the Flugmotorenwerke Ostmark were taken over in 1941 by the Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke . In order to supply the aircraft engine factories with parts, subcontractors were taken over or founded in Colmar in 1940 , in Reichshof in 1941 and in Neupaka in 1942 . A development plant for aircraft engines was set up in Backnang . The new plants in Genshagen and Backnang belonged to Daimler-Benz. The group acted as a leaseholder or minority shareholder in the other plants outside Germany.

In 1932 the company was the third largest automobile manufacturer in Germany after Adam Opel AG and Auto Union . At the end of 1932 it employed only 9148 people, in 1928 it was 14,281. By 1944 the workforce had grown to 74,198 people, around 6.6% of whom were prisoners of war and 37% were recruited or forcibly displaced foreigners. In 1941 150 concentration camp prisoners worked for Daimler-Benz. In 1944 there were 5,648 concentration camp prisoners. Women were also increasingly active in the factories because the men were at the front. The group turnover grew from 65 million Reichsmarks in 1932 to 942 million Reichsmarks in 1943. Over a third of the turnover in 1943 was generated with aircraft engines. In 1941, 76% of the corporation's turnover, i.e. H. Without the affiliated companies, Wehrmacht orders, the rest of the orders were from authorities, party organizations, the war economy and for export.

At the end of the war, the branches and plants in Königsberg and Genshagen were lost in eastern Germany. The company also had to write off the Colmar, Neupaka, Reichshof and the Ostmark aircraft engine plant, which were founded in the occupied countries during the war. In the west, some of the production facilities were badly damaged. The main plant in Untertürkheim was destroyed by Allied bombers in an air raid on Stuttgart on September 5, 1944. In the Sindelfingen plant there was no roofed building apart from the press shop and one third of the Mannheim plant was destroyed.

post war period

Daimler-Benz AG headquarters in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim until 1990
From 1990 to 2006 the corporate headquarters were in Stuttgart-Möhringen .

In the post-war period, Daimler-Benz developed numerous innovations in the field of 'safety in automobiles' and brought them onto the market, for example in 1949 the security mortise lock, 1951 the security passenger cell (“rigid passenger cell ”) with crumple zones , 1959 the tapered door lock, In 1978, the electronic Bosch - anti-lock braking system (ABS) and 1981 the airbag and the belt tensioner .

After production facilities ( Buenos Aires in Argentina and São Paulo in Brazil ) set up in South America (partly financed with the help of the Argentine businessman Jorge Antonio from war profits abroad ), Daimler-Benz of North America Inc. was founded in New York in 1955 as an independent subsidiary . In the USA , mainly commercial vehicles should be produced.

In 1962, Daimler-Benz AG had 90,000 employees and an annual turnover of 4.4 billion  DM .
In 1972 Daimler-Benz employed 149,800 people and achieved annual sales of DM 13.3 billion. In
1977, Daimler-Benz bought the American dump truck manufacturer Euclid Trucks .

From the mid-1980s, the company expanded into other areas under its CEO Edzard Reuter : The group acquired Dornier GmbH , MTU Motoren- und Turbinen-Union, Fokker and AEG . Deutsche Aerospace AG (DASA) was formed from parts of these subsidiaries . The newly founded subsidiaries were Deutsche Airbus GmbH and Daimler-Benz Inter Services ( debis ), so that the group, including the automotive division, now consisted of four group divisions.

In cooperation with Carl Geringhoff GmbH , the company developed the first European self-propelled maize harvester, fitted with a Unimog with the vehicle registration number " RA -E 953".

In 1986 Daimler-Benz celebrated its 100th anniversary. The exhibition “100 Years of the Automobile” was opened in Stuttgart and then shown in several European countries. The company had this presentation cost a double-digit million amount. The efforts made by Daimler-Benz for the event also met with criticism from the public: for example, the TV show, which cost around DM 20 million at the opening performance, has its birthday - 100 years of the automobile by Klimbim director Michael Pflegehar, came across the history of the Automobiles to a fiasco. At the same time, Hans Pohl , historian and then Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the GUG, and others on behalf of Daimler-Benz published the study The Daimler-Benz AG from 1933 to 1945 - a documentation . The portrayal of Daimler-Benz's role in the Third Reich was heavily criticized by historians and the public. The historian Hans Mommsen accused her in an article in Spiegel u. a. "Apologetic and occasionally evasive argumentation". In addition, up to this date Daimler-Benz had never given an independent scientist who was not controlled by Daimler-Benz access to its archive.

In 1989 Daimler-Benz AG (with AEG) employed 368,200 people and generated annual sales of 76.392 billion DM. In 1990 sales increased to 85.5 billion DM.

In the Reuter era, a new corporate headquarters was built in Stuttgart-Möhringen . The headquarters on a 120,000 square meter property consists of 13 buildings with an eleven-story high-rise and is said to have cost around 300 million euros. Around 3000 employees moved there in 1990. Reuter loved the new headquarters, his successors despised it.

After Jürgen Schrempp took over the CEO position in 1995, Reuter's dream of an "integrated technology company" was steadily abandoned . Loss-makers such as Fokker, AEG, Adtranz and Dornier were sold (sometimes at enormous cost), although Schrempp z. B. once initiated the purchase of Fokker as DASA boss himself.

The company management merged the group's own traffic technology division, still operating under the name of AEG , with that of ABB to form ABB Daimler Benz Transportation , which was better known under its brand name Adtranz .

On November 17, 1998, Daimler-Benz and Chrysler merged to form the new DaimlerChrysler AG . The Daimler-Benz AG even exist a month on and, after December 21, 1998 to the DaimlerChrysler AG merged as the acquiring company. After nine years of merger and billions in losses, Chrysler was sold in 2007 and the company was now called Daimler AG .

Schrempp called the new company headquarters in Möhringen “Bullshit Castle”; shortly after taking office, Dieter Zetsche (2006) even ordered the management board to move out and sell the property (DaimlerChrysler had the building “not necessary for operations” as part of an examination of its property portfolio "Classified). The people of Stuttgart call the headquarters emotionlessly “Daimler City”. Since then, the board has been back at the main plant in Untertürkheim.


After the war, the group developed through the acquisition of numerous companies (e.g. 1985 MTU Motoren- und Turbinen-Union München, Dornier, AEG; 1989 Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm; 1992 Fokker) to the largest German industrial group, the following corporate divisions since 1990 comprised: Mercedes-Benz AG (founded in 1989; passenger cars and commercial vehicles), Daimler Benz Aerospace (DASA) AG (founded in 1989; aerospace, drives), AEG Daimler-Benz Industrie (electrotechnical and electronic systems), Daimler-Benz InterServices (debis) AG (founded in 1990, services) and ABB Daimler Benz Transportation (Adtranz) (founded in 1996, rail transport technology).

A takeover of BMW AG failed in 1959 due to resistance from the small shareholders and BMW's main shareholder Herbert Quandt .


As a stock corporation, Daimler-Benz AG had a board of directors and a supervisory board .

CEO of Daimler-Benz AG

Surname Term of office
Wilhelm Kissel June 1926 to July 1942
Wilhelm Haspel August 1942 to January 1952
Heinrich Wagner April 1952 to January 1953
Fritz Koenecke February 1953 to December 1960
Walter Hitzinger February 1961 to February 1966
Joachim Zahn (Spokesman for the Executive Board from October 1965) until December 1979
Gerhard Prince January 1980 to October 1983
Werner Breitschwerdt December 1983 to August 1987
Edzard Reuter September 1987 to May 1995
Jürgen Schrempp May 1995 to November 1998
(then DaimlerChrysler AG )


  • Sebastian Bamberg: "... and tomorrow the whole world": Daimler-Benz - an armaments company on the way into the 21st century. Pax Christi, Bad Vilbel 1990, ISBN 3-928082-11-6 .
  • Wilfried Feldenkirchen: The best of the good: from Daimler and Benz to DaimlerChrysler AG, Volume 1: The first 100 years (1883–1983) . Herbig, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-7766-2254-7 .
  • Jürgen Grässlin : Daimler-Benz. The concern and its republic. Droemer Knaur, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-426-80064-0 .
  • Peter Grohmann , Horst Sackstetter: Poster: 10 years work at Daimler-Benz. Rotbuch-Verlag, Hamburg 1982, ISBN 3-88022-213-4 .
  • Hamburg Foundation for Social History of the 20th Century (Ed.): The Daimler-Benz Book. An armaments company in the “Thousand Year Reich” . Franz-Greno-Verlag, Nördlingen 1987, ISBN 3-89190-950-0 . Writings of the Hamburg Foundation for Social History of the 20th Century Vol. 3.
  • Klaus Heidel: Not a good star for the blacks: Daimler-Benz's business in the land of apartheid. Christians for work and Justice Worldwide, Heidelberg 1987, ISBN 3-925910-01-8 .
  • Barbara Hopmann; Mark Spoerer; Birgit Weitz; Beate Brüninghaus: Forced Labor at Daimler Benz, Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-515-06440-0 . Company History Journal, Supplement 78.
  • Max Kruk, Gerold Lingnau : One hundred years of Daimler Benz. V. Hase and Koehler, Mainz 1986, ISBN 3-7758-1117-6 . (Official work of Daimler Benz for the 100th birthday, the Third Reich only appears on a few pages and the use of foreign workers in half a paragraph)
  • Hans Pohl, Stephanie Habeth, Beate Brüninghaus: Daimler-Benz AG from 1933 to 1945 . In: Zeitschrift für Unternehmensgeschichte , published by Hans Pohl and Wilhelm Treue, supplement 47, Franz Steiner Verlag 1987, ISBN 3-515-04733-6 .
  • Karl Heinz Roth : Daimler-Benz AG 1916–1948: Key documents in the company's history. Greno, Nördlingen 1987, ISBN 3-89190-955-1 . Writings of the Hamburg Foundation for Social History of the 20th Century Vol. 5.
  • Angelina Sörgel : Daimler-Benz - the multi in the model country. PIW, Bremen 1986, ISBN 3-925139-06-0 .
  • Gaby Weber: Daimler-Benz and the Argentina Connection: of rat lines and Nazi money. Assoc. A, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-935936-33-8 .

So far not used in the lemma, but necessary literature:

  • Neil Gregor: Star and Swastika. Daimler-Benz in the Third Reich. Propylaea, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-549-05604-4 .

Web links

Commons : Daimler-Benz AG  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Daimler.com: Annual financial statements as of December 31, 1997 ( Memento of December 8, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 7 MB)
  2. A separate magazine for employees - Germany's first company newspaper closed 90 years ago. Deutschlandfunk, calendar sheet from August 25, 2010.
  3. Barbara Hopmann et al. a .: Forced labor at Daimler Benz . Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-515-06440-0 , p. 98 f.
  4. Hans Pohl, Stephanie Habeth, Beate Brüninghaus: Daimler-Benz AG in the years 1933 to 1945 - a documentary. Stuttgart 1986, ISBN 978-3-515-04733-3 , p. 136
  5. War economy
  6. An American daughter from Untertürkheim . In: Motor-Rundschau NKZ , issue 11/1955, p. 392
  7. Auto TV Show: That Fitted Under the Carpet . In: Der Spiegel . No. 7 , 1986 ( online ).
  8. Hans Pohl, Stephanie Habeth, Beate Brüninghaus: Daimler-Benz AG in the years 1933 to 1945 - a documentary . Stuttgart 1986, ISBN 978-3-515-04733-3
  9. Hans Mommsen: Alliance between trident and swastika. Spiegel, May 11, 1987. Online here [1]
  10. Tim Schanetzky : Anniversaries and Scandals . In Norbert Frei, Tim Schanetzky Ed .: Enterprises in National Socialism - To historicize a research economy. Göttingen 2010, ISBN 978-3-8353-0755-1 , p. 75.
  11. a b Real estate deal: DaimlerChrysler sells corporate headquarters in Stuttgart . In: Spiegel Online , October 27, 2006, accessed on February 22, 2014.
  12. Tim Schanetzky: Anniversaries and Scandals . In Norbert Frei, Tim Schanetzky Ed .: Enterprises in National Socialism - To historicize a research economy. Göttingen 2010, ISBN 978-3-8353-0755-1 , p. 72.