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English   75 years Neoplan
16.04.2010 von admin

German version

75 years Neoplan
  • From coachbuilder to omnibus manufacturer
  • With the "Hamburg" model, Neoplan revolutionises the tourist coach segment in 1961
  • Neoplan Skyliner – luxurious travel on two decks
  • Neoplan Cityliner – the classic model

The founding years

Company founder Gottlob Auwärter jr. (*1903, † 1993) was born of a family with a long tradition as cartwrights and wheelwrights. At age 14 he is apprenticed to this trade in the family works in Stuttgart-Möhringen, becoming a journeyman cartwright in 1920. These are the early days of automotive development and Gottlob Auwärter jr. eagerly applies for a job with Stuttgart's famous coachbuilders Reutter, and in 1922 he goes there to learn the coachbuilder's craft. Three years later – like so many companies Reutter is struggling with the shock of the depression – he has no choice but to return to his father's small workshop. Here he has to find his place alongside his father and a number of siblings – four of the six Auwärter brothers are working in the family business – and a measure of disagreement over the limited resources is inevitable. Gottlob Auwärter jr. qualifies as a master craftsman in coachbuilding in 1927 and in the mid-1930s he escapes the constrictions of the family firm and ventures into business by setting up a company of his own. Only a few short years after the Great Depression, at a time when no-one had yet dreamed of state subsidies or heard of start-ups, this is a decision that calls for courage and fortitude. It demonstrates confidence in one's own capabilities to be independent in the business environment of the day.
Gottlob Auwärter

With a workforce of six journeymen and one apprentice – all on loan from his father to help get the new venture off the ground – the company trading as 'Karosseriebau Gottlob Auwärter jr.' officially opens its doors for business on July 1, 1935 in the premises of a former brickworks in the Vaihinger Strasse in Stuttgart-Möhringen. Along with box bodies, cabs and load platforms for trucks, the company primarily contracts to build wooden omnibus bodies to be mated to the chassis of established manufacturers, names like Mercedes, Büssing, Henschel and Krupp. Gottlob Auwärter jr. is happy to manufacture bodies for vehicles of all kinds, but his main ambition always is to be a builder of buses.

At this time there is much similarity of design between trucks and buses. A bus is basically a body designed to accommodate paying passengers, mounted on a strong truck frame. The body is generally the work of a small coachbuilder working to a pattern specified by the customer. The practicalities of the situation, therefore, mean that in most instances buyers commission local coachbuilders to undertake work of this nature. Gottlob Auwärter jr. is one of those whose first customers are located not far from where he has chosen to set up his business.

Opel Blitz with Auwärter bodywork of 1936

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