100 years of MAN trucks and buses - how it all began

Roads without a silver lion on the radiator grille? Hard to imagine today. But in 1914, trucks and buses did not yet play a part in the MAN range. A state of affairs that General Director Anton von Rieppel wanted to change. "M.A.N. must be put on wheels," was his strategy. No sooner said than done. In the summer of 2015, MAN Truck & Bus will be celebrating 100 years of commercial vehicle engineering.

Assembly shop at the LWW plant in Lindau

The name MAN Truck & Bus AG did not however exist at the time the company was founded. "Lastwagen Werke M.A.N.-Saurer GmbH" (M.A.N.-Saurer Truck Works) – LWW for short – was the entry made in the City of Nuremberg companies register on 21 June 1915. At that time, the company Saurer was the leading truck manufacturer in Switzerland – and new partner to the Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg (M.A.N.). At the time M.A.N. General Director von Rieppel was planning to set up the company´s own truck and bus production plant in 1914, the First World War had just broken out. So there was no time for M.A.N. to develop its own vehicles and instead, it found a partner with the necessary know-how in the form of Saurer.

4 t truck with chain drive
One of the first 4 t chain-drive trucks in front of the Lindau assembly shop in 1915

Close cooperation with its Swiss partner

It was Anton von Rieppel himself who approached Adolph Saurer in a letter written in December 1914. This gave rise to negotiations between the two companies. Mr. von Rieppel had originally planned to acquire a license from Saurer to build his own trucks. But Adolph Saurer wanted to enter into a cooperation that would guarantee his participation in the company. After several months of negotiations, the industrialists finally reached agreement – and this joint venture laid the foundation for truck and bus production at MAN.

From then on, things moved very quickly. By July 1915, LWW was already producing its first trucks at a plant in Lindau. This plant took over the joint venture from Saurer. Only four months later, production activities were relocated step by step to Nuremberg. Not only was the entire plant and all the machinery moved, but Lastwagen Werke also took over all the forty Lindau employees.

Country bus used by the 'Reichspost'
M.A.N.-Saurer omnibuses transported passengers, parcels and letters across the whole of Germany

Omnibuses for transporting parcels

As well as trucks, LWW also produced omnibuses, mainly for the "Reichspost" and city transport companies. Especially the country buses built by LWW were a common sight on the roads at that time. The "Reichspost" used them to transport not only passengers, but also letters and parcels. Just like the trucks, these first buses were also 2 to 3.5 ton cardan vehicles – all fitted with a four-cylinder spark ignition engine, engine brakes, carbide lighting, petrol lamps, bulb horns, wooden wheels and a set of solid rubber tyres.

M.A.N. und Saurer worked closely together until 1918, then Saurer and his company pulled out of the joint venture. And from 14 November 1918 onwards, this was also reflected in its name - the company then became officially known as "M.A.N. Lastwagen Werke" (M.A.N. Truck Works). From then on, the Nuremberg site paved its own way in the development and production of trucks. Successfully. Until today.

With the TGX D38, the latest flagship of the truck fleet, MAN sets new standards in efficiency and performance. The MAN engineers also have a keen eye on the future of mobility. They are working hard to make the vehicles even more customer-friendly and economically. And customers appreciate this: Numerous fleet operators, breweries and local authorities have been relying on commercial vehicles made by MAN for decades.

From beer transporter to fire engines - historical commercial vehicles made by MAN:

LWW´s first brochures

Working together

In July 1915, the cooperation between M.A.N. and Saurer was launched – which included mutual promotion activities.

Beer transporter built by LWW

The first models

The first jointly-produced M.A.N.-Saurer vehicles were 2 to 3 ton cardan trucks and 4 to 5 ton trucks with chain drives. From 1916 military trucks were also built.

Mill truck built by LWW

Focus on civilian vehicles

In its early days, LWW concentrated entirely on the production of civilian vehicles.

Log transporter built by LWW

Industry expertise from the start

LWW trucks were used mainly by fire services, by mills, breweries and local authorities, as well as for transporting logs. From 1916 military trucks were also manufactured.

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