Daimler-Benz AG is a worldwide business now serving more than 200 countries. Since its beginning in 1886, this automobile company has been making its impact felt in the industry.
Automobiles have been one of the most revolutionary inventions in history, and the pioneers of the automobile manufacturing industry were Gottlieb Daimler (1834-1900) and Carl Benz (1844 1929).
They began their work separately in the late 19th century, each working for his own German company. Though the men never met in person during the early days, they
simultaneously developed the world's first automobiles in Mannheim (Benz) and Stuttgart (Daimler) in the year 1886.
Of course it would take some time before the automobile would become a viable (marketable) product ready for worldwide consumption.
They each created a lightweight engine suitable for a two-wheeled vehicle known as a riding car. Once they managed to do that in 1885, Benz began working on a three-wheeled vehicle; at this time, no steering mechanism had been designed for a four-wheeled vehicle. The result, the three-wheeled "Velocipede," can technically be called the first automobile.
A mere 100 kilometers away, Daimler created a four-wheeled light coach which is now considered the first four-wheeled automobile. Because he understood the far-reaching implications for his "grandfather clock" engine, Daimler was already considering adding motors to boats, aircraft and rail vehicles.
Both men tried to market their products internationally, but only Daimler had any success. Daimler began to have some success in the U.S. and Canada; Benz later had some success marketing his products in Britain, South Africa, and the U.S.
Both men continued working on improving their engine designs, and gas engines consistently proved to be superior to steam engines. Daimler’s engines, in particular, began to earn a quality reputation. Meanwhile Benz created the double-pivot steering mechanism for four-wheeled vehicles.
The Benz Velo [was] put on the market in 1894 [and] became a big commercial success. It was followed by an engine-powered bus and a truck.
One way vehicles gained popularity is through competitive performance, something Daimler soon capitalized on this fact by creating a race car for Emil Jellinek, named after Jellinek’s daughter: Mercedes. The Mercedes 35 hp garnered international attention, and from this point on Daimler and his company (Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft) consistently built race cars and other high-performance vehicles.
Both companies, DMG and Benz & Cie, had similar mottos: "the best of the good" and "the best or nothing.” By 1908 they were producing more commercial vehicles and doing a thriving business. During World War I, their production shifted to meet the needs of the war and both companies became the leading German manufacturers of aero engines.
Both companies also made trucks, and the demand for these increased dramatically during the war, as they were used for transport. During this time of high demand, other companies began manufacturing trucks, cutting into the market for these two leaders of the industry.
The two companies merged on June 28, 1926, creating a super-company named Daimler-Benz AG. The official name for all products produced by this company is Mercedes-Benz. More than 70 years later, in 1998, Daimler-Benz AG and the Chrysler Corporation merged in the largest international merge in history. The deal was settled at $36 billion, and the new company name is DaimlerChrysler AG.