German automotive history timeline: 1704 In Germany, French physicist Denis Papin invented a basic steam engine.
buy 20 mg accutane online 1862 The Adam Opel Company is formed in Rüsselsheim, Hesse manufacturing sewing machines. They moved on from this to make penny-farthing bicycles. 1873 Neckarsulmer Strickmaschinenfabrik (Neckarsulm Knitting Machine Factory) [who was to become NSU Motorenwerke AG] is founded in Riedlingen on the Danube by two mechanics, Christian Schmidt and Heinrich Stoll, to manufacture knitting machines.
1880 Neckarsulmer Strickmaschinenfabrik [NSU] moves from Riedlingen to Neckarsulm.
1883 Karl Benz establishes Benz & Cie (Benz and Company) to produce industrial engines in Mannheim, Germany.
1885 In Schorndorf Wittenburg (Germany) Gottlieb Daimler attaches a four-stroke engine, designed by his partner Wilhelm Maybach, to a bicycle creating the world’s first motorcycle.
1886 Karl Benz is granted patent no. 37435 for his Patent Motor Wagon. The Benz Patent-Motorwagen, is widely regarded as the first petrol-powered automobile.
1886 NSU, whose original name was Neckarsulmer Strickmaschinenfabrik, diversifies into bicycles. and five years later the first motor car is built. Motor car production is abandoned in 1929, to allow the company to concentrate on building two-wheelers.
1887 Gottlieb Daimler from Stuttgart builds a car and founds the motor company Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft.
1888 Benz’s Patent Motor Wagon is advertised and sold thus becoming the world’s first commercially available car.
1890 Daimler and Maybach form a public company, Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) to build and sell petrol engines.
1893 Karl Benz creates the Victoria, a two-passenger automobile with a 2.2 kW (3.0 hp) engine, capable of reaching a top speed of 18 km/h (11 mph) with a pivotal front axle operated by a roller-chained tiller for steering. The model was successful with 85 units sold in 1893.
1890 Borgward is established as an automobile manufacturer in Bremen (northwest Germany) by Carl Borgward.
1896 Winklhofer & Jaenicke establishes a business in Chemnitz (Saxony) to manufacture bicycles, motorcycles, cars and vans over the next decade. The company will go on to market cars under the Wanderer brand name from 1911
1896 Heinrich Ehrhardt establishes the Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach in Eisenach on 3 December 1896. He produces bicycles and guns, but after two years he starts to produce a motor car which he calls the Wartburg, a licensed model of the French Decauville. The Automobilwerk Eisenach is an automobile manufacturer based in Eisenach, Germany.
1899 August Horch (pronounced Hork-uh) leaves Benz to found August Horch & Cie in Cologne. August Horch will go on to be the founder of Audi in 1910.
1899 The first Opel automobile is manufactured called the Opel Patent Motor Car, System Lutzmann.
1901 Horch & Cie goes into production with a 5hp car and manufactures 10 examples.
1901 Mercedes-Benz began with Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft’s 1901 Mercedes, and Karl Benz’s 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen, which is widely regarded as the first petrol-powered automobile.
1901 Motorcycle production commences at NSU. From now on, two-wheeled vehicles have a decisive influence on the company’s fortunes.
1902 Darracq chassis are outfitted with Opel bodies in Rüsselsheim. The vehicles are marketed under the brand name Opel Darracq.The first model built entirely by Opel, with a newly developed 10/12 hp, two-cylinder engine, is also completed.
1903 At Benz & Cie. sales begin to drop because the passenger cars by Benz were not able to match the more modern technology of Daimler. Having been the leader in automobile engineering just a few years previously, Benz was now relegated to being the largest automobile manufacturer in the state of Baden. The shareholders want to regain the brand’s position with new technical features, however Carl Benz resists these internal demands for more powerful vehicles, having already rejected any involvement in motor sports in 1901. He wants to build practical, day-to-day cars, and he believes these do not need to be fast. Benz leaves the company, but returns as a member of the supervisory board in 1904.
1904 Dixi was the brand name of cars made by Automobilwerk Eisenach.
1909 At Horch & Cie, the company’s board of directors forces Horch out due to financial difficulties.
1910 August Horch forms Audi Automobilwerke GmbH – Audi. Unable to use the Horch name for legal reasons, Horch choses “Audi” as the Latin translation of his surname.
1911 The Wanderer car manufacturer is formed by Winklhofer & Jaenicke in Chemnitz (Saxony) and starts out producing 1145cc and 1,220cc models.
1919 The Opel Racetrack, located south of Rüsselsheim, is inaugurated. The oval course with banked curves, paved in concrete, is the first permanent track for racing and testing in Germany – years ahead of other well-known racetracks, such as the Berlin AVUS and the Nürburgring.
1916 BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke) [Bavarian Motor Works] is founded in Munich building aircraft engines. The company doesn’t start automobile production until 1928.
1916 Danish engineer Jørgen Skafte Rasmussen establishes a factory in Zschopau (Saxony) to build parts for steam engines. In 1919 Rasmussen manages to make a two-stroke engine for motorcycles which he calls Das Kleine Wunder (the little wonder) the initials from this becoming the DKW brand. By the late 1920s, DKW was the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer.
1926 Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) and Benz & Cie. merge and the new company is called Daimler AG with its new trademark – the three pointed star inside a laurel wreath. It joins the Mercedes star of Daimler with the laurel wreath of Benz. This creates the foundation for the Daimler corporation.
1926 The plant in Mannheim-Waldhof is incorporated into Daimler-Benz AG. It still remains a major production location within Daimler AG, mainly producing commercial vehicles, engines and cast engine components.
1926 Gutbrod is established to build motorcycles.
1927 The first Mercedes-Benz taxi is launched based on an 8/38 hp landaulet model (the rear section of the roof can be folded back).
1928 With a market share of 37.5 percent, Opel is by far the largest German carmaker. In preparation for an alliance with General Motors, the company is converted into a listed stock corporation.
1928 – 1939 August Horch & Cie., now part of Auto Union, produce around 11 different models, including the 350, 375, 930V, 850, 851, 853 and 855.
1928 DKW acquires Audi-Werke AG, giving DKW increased manufacturing capacity and an established car manufacturing base.
1928 In November 1928, BMW acquires the Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach A.G. and the Eisenach factory becomes the birthplace of car manufacturing for BMW. The Dixi continues briefly as the BMW Dixi (the very first BMW car) but the renamed BMW-Factory Eisenach soon starts making an updated version of the car called the BMW 3/15PS, dropping the Dixi name.
1929 General Motors acquires 80 percent of shares in the company Adam Opel AG for just under 26 million dollars, becoming majority stockholder.
1932 Audi, Horch, Wanderer and DKW merge to form Auto Union AG. The current Audi four-ring logo is the Auto Union logo designed to represent the merger of these four car marques. Initially, only Auto Union used the four rings for its racing cars while the other member companies used their own brands.
1933 Gutbrod builds the Standard Superior cars.
1945 The first VW Beetle comes off the production line in Wolfsburg. The Beetle is manufactured continuously until production halts in 2002.
1949 The first Volkswagen Type 2 T1 bus (camper van) rolls off the production line in Wolfsburg. Eight will be manufactured this year and full production gets going next year.
1949 IFA – Industrieverband Fahrzeugbau [Industrial Association for Vehicle Construction], is established as a conglomerate of different companies for vehicle construction in the Democratic Republic of Germany (the former East Germany). IFA produces bicycles, motorcycles, light commercial vehicles, automobiles, vans and heavy trucks. The various marques involved include: Trabant, Wartburg, Barkas, Robur and IFA.
1950 Elektromaschinenbau Fulda GmbH is established as a manufacturer of small cars us the brand name Fuldamobil.
1950 Kleinschnittger is established to produce microcars.
1954 Hans Glas GmbH of Dingolfing (Bavaria) exhibits the Goggomobile T250 microcar at the 1954 IFMA International Bicycle and Motorcycle Show.
1954 Gutbrod car manufacturing ceases when the factory is closed down.
1955 – 1958 Heinkel manufactures automobiles, most notably their bubble car.
1955 Messerschmitt produces a three-wheeled bubble car (microcar).
1956 The IFA car brand, used in the former East Germany, ceases to be used (see the year 1949 for more information).
1957 The state-owned car plant in Zwickau in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), formerly the Audi factory, produces its first Trabant. This compact car has an outer shell made of plastic, earning it the nickname of the ‘cardboard racer’.
1957 Kleinschnittger ceases to trade.
1958 Daimler-Benz buys 87.8% of Auto Union.
1958 NSU car production recommences in Neckarsulm.
1961 Amphicar is launched in the US as an amphibious automobile. Production ends in 1965.
1961 Borgward ceases production of automobiles.
1963 Daimler-Benz acquires control of Auto Union.
1963 The Porsche 911 goes into production and becomes one of Germany’s best known sports cars and renowned across the globe.
1964 Messerschmitt ceases production of the three-wheeled bubble car (microcar).
1965 – 1966 Daimler-Benz sells its stake in Auto Union to Volkswagen.
1966 BMW acquires Hans Glas GmbH (makers of the Goggomobile microcar) and briefly badges their existing cars as BMW while the company was fully integrated into the BMW company.
1966 The last DKW car is produced, the F102 (Auto Union/Audi).
1969 Volkswagenwerk AG (Volkswagen) agree the merger of Auto Union GmbH and NSU Motorenwerke AG (NSU). The new company is known as Audi NSU Auto Union AG and locates its registered offices in Neckarsulm.
1969 Up until now, Audi had slowly been becoming Auto Union’s primary brand rather than just a model name. This was firmly established with the introduction of the Audi 100 with a 100bhp engine – as the name suggests.
1969 BMW up for sale, shareholder revolt saves the company.
1969 Elektromaschinenbau Fulda GmbH (Fuldamobil) ceases trading.
1972 BMW launches the 5-Series of four-door motor cars.
1990 The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) becomes part of the Federal Republic of Germany to form the reunited nation of Germany, and Berlin is reunited into a single city. Berlin is, once again, declared as the capital of a united Germany.
1980 – 1991 The Audi Quattro is launched and manufactured with over 11,00 being made.
1990 The former VEB Sachsenring manufacturing site (located in East Germany) is acquired by Volkswagen and is redeveloped as an engine and transmission manufacturing facility.
1991 Following German reunification, the last Trabant (Trabi) rolls off the production line.
2008 The Borgward car brand is re-launched by Carl Borgward’s grandson. The first new car is launched in 2015.
2009 The global economic crisis affects GM and Opel. However, in Germany sales are recovering thanks in part to a scrappage campaign as well as the new top-of-the-line Insignia model. After months of negotiations between GM and Magna, Opel remains in the GM Group. 110 years after the first Opel car was built, the brand faces existential danger from the international economic crisis. In June, GM files for bankruptcy. Opel receives help from The German government.
2015 In the USA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finds that many VW cars being sold in America have had special software added in diesel engines that can detect when a car is being tested, changing the performance accordingly to improve results. The German car giant has since admitted cheating emissions tests in the US.
2017 Groupe PSA agree to buy Opel, its English sister brand Vauxhall and their European auto lending business from General Motors.

Cinema and TV Car Classics:
1997 Tomorrow Never Dies – BMW 750iL (1997, silver), James Bond (Pierce Brosnan).
1998 Ronin – Audi S8 D2 Typ 4D (1998); Mercedes Benz 450 SEL 69 W116 (1976); BMW 3 E30 (1983)
2008 Iron Man – Audi R8 (2008) – Iron Man (Robert Downey Junior).