Germany’s popularity for automotive engineering is unparalleled. The country is synonymous with quality, efficiency and innovation in world-leading automotive brands, and with good purpose. The nation’s heritage goes again over 100 years and has nested inside the German culture. Precision engineering is valued above all else which opens the door to bold new ideas.

On average ten new auto patents are registered every day. A third of Germany’s expenditure goes on analysis and improvement. Over 89,000 individuals are employed in R&D roles throughout the business. It’s not just German manufacturers that benefit from this any extra – different corporations internationally are looking for to take advantage of Germany’s innovation clusters by opening their very own growth services in the country.

Take Geely for example, China’s main privately-owned automotive firm who last year opened their first research and improvement facility exterior their house country – in Raunheim, near Frankfurt. With space for 300 engineers, Geely hope to mix Germany’s automotive engineering with China’s growing market and enhance their presence in electrification and new energy autos.

And they’re far from the only ones in search of to use the excessive standards and technical capabilities of German engineering for their very own brands. As the business moves in path of the next section of automotive engineering, it’s necessary for brands to understand what came before to allow them to push that sense of culture and heritage towards new applied sciences, new trends and new necessities within the automotive market.

So with that in thoughts, let’s take a look again at how Germany constructed their popularity for quality automotive engineering over the years. the delivery of the petrol-powered automotive
Automobiles had been envisioned and designed in some kind or another for centuries – with steam powered variations present as early because the 17th century. But when we think of a car we usually envision one powered by an inner combustion engine, which brings us to 1864 when the first petrol-powered propulsive automobile was invented by German inventor Siegfried Marcus.

Born within the town of Malchin in what was then the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, but is today a part of Germany, Marcus worked as a technician and engineer in Vienna making mechanical and electrical tools. His first automobile followed the design of a easy handcart, with wheels powered by an inner combustion engine using petrol as the gasoline.

The wheels needed to be lifted off the ground to start them. Marcus went on to develop a number of extra petrol-powered vehicles, each an enchancment on the last. An 1888 model designed by Marcus and constructed by Märky, Bromovsky & Schulz was far closer to the kind of early vehicles that would quickly fill the world’s streets, complete with a driver’s seat, steering wheel, clutch and brake.

The car was named a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and may nonetheless be seen today in Vienna’s Technical Museum. Benz goes into manufacturing
Despite Marcus’ being the first to propel a automobile with a petrol-powered internal combustion engine, his early designs were not very sensible. The first successful automobile to enter full manufacturing was the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, designed in Mannheim in 1885 by Karl Benz.

Benz had previously labored on the development of a four-stroke inner combustion engine within the late 1870s, in the end finding a approach to match it to a three-wheel coach within the Eighteen Eighties. Daimler units up a rival to Benz
At an identical time to Benz’s authentic engine design, another inventor, Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler was additionally working independently on a four-stroke internal combustion engine. Gottlieb would equally build a automobile and set up his own motor company: Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft in 1887. Benz proves the value of a car with the first long-distance drive
Benz patented his invention in 1886 however struggled to seek out buyers to begin manufacturing. That is till one morning in August 1888 when his wife, Bertha Benz, took his Motorwagen on what could be the world’s first lengthy distance trip – driving 104km (65 miles) from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back to go to her mom.

The idea was proved: the horseless carriage was able to long-distance journey. Benz started production of his automotive.

In 2008 the “Bertha Benz Memorial Route” was officially approved as a route of the industrial heritage of mankind. Sales development births the automotive market
Demand for the automotive and for the static engines grew and Benz & Cie. had to increase their manufacturing unit. By 1899 they were the most important automobile within the country, with 430 staff. That year they produced 572 items. Global market development
By 1900 the automobile had caught on and mass production had begun in France and the United States. Automotive firms have been developing in Belgium (which was house to Vincke – a company who copied their design from Benz), Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Australia. Back in Germany, the business was producing 900 automobiles per year.

Early Twenties – Global challenges
Despite the successful designs of the Germany firms, they could not mass-produce quickly sufficient to fulfill demand – opening the worldwide market as much as American manufacturers together with Henry Ford, whose revolutionary “assembly line” factories might mass produce automobiles much sooner.

American firms noticed the potential in German designs, with Ford opening a successful German subsidiary Ford-Werke in 1925 and General Motors taking on German firm Opel in 1929.

There could be further problems for the trade, with struggle having a devastating effect on the German financial system. In 1920 it’s thought that Germany had round 86 auto corporations. By the end of the Great Depression solely 12 survived. Mercedes-Benz
Daimler and Benz came via the financial downfall together by first agreeing to standardise their design and production and, in 1926, finally merging to be the Daimler-Benz firm. Following the name of Daimler’s most successful model, all automobiles the company produced from then on could be generally recognized as Mercedes-Benz. BMW enter the automotive trade
The rivalry of Benz and Daimler would proceed, with one other main player soon to join when a former airline engine producer would swap to making automobiles in 1928. The company was Bayerische Motoren Werke: BMW. Porsche release their first sports automotive
The Porsche firm had been started in the Nineteen Thirties by Ferdinand Porsche, initially as a motorized vehicle development and consulting firm before shifting into constructing their very own automobiles. But it was Porsche’s son Ferry who would put the company on a path it’s best recognized for, launching the 365, Porsche’s first sportscar. A motorsports fan, Ferry Porsche could not discover a automotive that he wished to purchase, so he decided to design one that may fulfil all his standards.

The 365 used parts from the Volkswagen Beetle, including the engine case, transmission and suspension, but was made with a sleek physique, air-cooled engine configuration and just two seats – making it lighter. It received its class in its first race at Innsbruck in 1948 and was later re-engineered and refined with a concentrate on bettering efficiency further.

Being primarily based on the Beetle meant that the engine was in the back of the car – a development that Porsche are nonetheless known for today. The rise of the Beetle
Compared with other international locations such as France, the USA and the UK, Germany’s automotive trade would remain comparatively small by way of the early twentieth century, with most autos sold solely domestically. A main success, nevertheless, would come up with the Volkswagen Beetle.

Though it had been initially launched in the Forties (having been designed by Ferdinand Porsche as a “car for the people” – the literal translation of “Volkswagen”), the VW Beetle would become properly successful in the 1950s as an emblem of West German regeneration.

In 1949 they were launched to the United States, however offered solely two units the whole first yr. Volkswagen of America can be launched in April 1955 to standardise gross sales and service, and shortly manufacturing would ramp up. By 1955 a million VW Beetles had been produced.

German manufacturing of the Beetle would continue until 1978, and would keep it up in Mexico and Brazil till 2003. A hippie icon
Another success for VW came in the type of the Type 2 T1 camper van, launched in 1950. Demand for the van was so nice that a dedicated plant was opened in Hannover simply six years later. Along with the Beetle, the VW camper van would turn into an iconic image of the 1960s. The 911
The third era of the Porsche family would prove instrumental in another automotive icon when Ferry Porsche’s eldest son, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, led a team to create a successor to the the Porsche 911.

Planned as one other air-cooled, rear-engined sports activities automotive but this time with a six-cylinder boxer engine, the 911 was meant to continue Porsche’s motor-racing success. Originally the car was imagined to be the 901, following the sequential numbering laid out by the design office, but Peugeot had already trademarked the “x0x” naming for his or her automobiles, so 911 was selected.

Despite the design section creating a number of internal problems on the company, the 911 could be the corporate’s biggest success, spawning several generations of revision.

Seventies – VW reinvents itself (and Audi)
By the 1970s appetite for the Beetle was sporting out, and VW was dealing with difficulties. But that would flip around when the company merged its newly acquired NSU Moterenwerke AG with Auto Union (purchased off Daimler Benz in 1964) and resurrected the historic Audi model which had originally existed because the late 1800s.

Audi engineers had the technical expertise to upgrade VW’s choices to include the then-popular front-wheel drive hatchback format and water-cooled engines that allowed VW to launch the Passat in 1973, the Gold in ‘74 and the Polo in ‘75 would turn that around. This turned a pivotal point for VW.

Overseas sales of each Volkswagen and Audi would grow all through the ‘70s, for the latter seeing particular success with the Audi 100 and the Audi 80. The Quattro
Further success would observe for Audi as it entered the ‘80s with a transfer towards the sports automobile market, launching the front-wheel drive Coupe and the four-wheel drive, high-performance version, the Quattro.

A realisation from Audi’s chassis engineer Jörg Bensinger that VW’s army automobiles may outperform smaller cars in powerful circumstances led to the idea for a high-performance four-wheel drive car. He proposed the thought in 1977 and it might quickly become the Audi Quattro, which made headlines with consecutive rally competitors wins. Ford relies on German engineering for its flagship model
Throughout the Nineteen Seventies and ‘80s Ford significantly altered the designs of its vehicles to suit the buyer preference for front-wheel drive hatchbacks and household saloons. By 1985 it was time to exchange the company’s European flagship – the Granada – with a new mannequin, the Ford Scorpio.

Having been relying closely on its German vegetation for its European line, Ford opted to solely produce the Scorpio at its manufacturing unit in Cologne. Originally solely available as a hatchback, the Scorpio would prove to be massively in style throughout Europe, resulting in an expanded vary including a saloon and estate fashions within the Nineteen Nineties.

1990s – Acquisitions and growth throughout the globe
The ‘80s and ‘90s had been a interval of exceptional progress for the German automotive industry, resulting in a collection of major acquisitions and worldwide enlargement the world over. German producers purchased plants across Europe, Asia and the Americas, increasing their market share and bringing German manufacturers to the likes of Mexico, Brazil, Turkey and China.

In 1990 VW established FAW-Volkswagen to supply vehicles for each the VW and Audi manufacturers in China. They adopted this with the purchase of SEAT and Skoda – growing the mannequin ranges for each manufacturers.

By the tip of the Nineteen Nineties Volkswagen had additionally acquired Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini – bringing luxury names in to their family of historic German engineering.

BMW would additionally make a excessive profile acquisition by taking on the British Rover Group in they might later sell the group in 2000, preserving only one name – the Mini.

Meanwhile Daimler-Benz would enter a “merger of equals” with the American Chrysler Corporation in 1998. A smart search for the new millennium
In the spirit of their pioneering automotive heritage, Daimler Benz launched a revolutionary design in 1998 with the Smart automobile. Following a design concept that went back to the early-’70s, the Smart automobile was designed to be a small, fashionable automobile for city-life. The outcome was the Smart Fortwo, a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive 2- passenger hatchback with a size of just 2.5 metres.

The Smart model was supposed to have a futuristic aspiration as the industry thought of how it would change in the twenty first century. Future fashions would come with an all-electric model. In 2019 Chinese automotive giants Geely would buy a 50% stake within the brand.

2000s – twenty first Century acquisitions
The dawn of the 21st century would see a continuation of the development of high profile acquisitions, beginning with BMW’s purchase of the Rolls-Royce name in 2003.

In 2012 Volkswagen would take full ownership of Porsche.

Present day
By the late 2010s Germany produced nearly six million autos each year, whereas German manufacturers delivered 5.5 million automobiles abroad. Germany stands with the US, China and Japan as one of many four greatest automotive producers in the world, with seven of the biggest, best identified manufacturers: Volkswagen (with Audi and Porsche as subsidiaries), BMW AG, Daimler AG, Adam Open AG and Ford-Werke GmbH.

Building on over a century of heritage, relationship again to the primary ever automotive car, German engineers are persevering with to ship trendy kinds, revolutionary expertise and impressive efficiency capabilities for the future of the automotive business. With brands like Tesla and Geely opening new plants in Germany, it’s clear that the status for high-quality, formidable machines is globally recognised and anticipated to proceed lengthy into the lengthy run.

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A Temporary Historical Past Of German Automotive Engineering
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