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14 Jan 2015

EIGHTY YEARS OF AUWÄRTER AND NEOPLAN

In 1935 Gottlob Auwärter, master coachbuilder, decides to leave the company his father and grandfather had operated since 1854 and start his own bus body manufacturing company in Stuttgart Möhringen. One of his brothers, Ernst Auwärter, started a bus body manufacturing company in the same period, which also still exists.

The company founded by Gottlob Auwärter started manufacturing bodywork for bus and truck chassis. One of the first buses was built on a Ford V8 chassis. From the very beginning, the designs of the buses produced were considered stylish. After World War II, an all-steel body design was developed, still a rarity at that time. By 1953, the company had moved away from manufacturing buses on truck chassis, to a partial monocoque design with a steel tube skeleton, providing the structural support, enhanced by welded side panels. The engine was moved to the rear, and the running gear and body functioned as one. In 1957, air suspension built according to the McPherson principle, was offered, improving the ride of the bus for passenger.
In 1961, a new bus design, the Hamburg, was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. Developed by the founder's eldest son, Albrecht Auwärter, and another student, Swiss national Bob Lee, as part of their dissertation at Hamburg University. The design also allowed every passenger to regulate their fresh air supply through a nozzle from two air ducts, commonly seen today.
Both Albrecht Auwärter and Bob Lee joined Neoplan after graduating from the university. Albrecht took over management of the company in 1965, and Bob Lee later became head of Engineering and Design.
One of the most spectacular buses built in this period, was the Rotel, a rolling hotel which was based on a new double-decker design. A number was supplied to an American tour operator. During the nineties Neoplan developed an intergral cityus with battery-electric propulsion and a completely synthetic body.
In 2001, Neoplan was acquired by MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG and integrated in its new subsidiary Neoman Bus GmbH. Today, Neoplan is a bus and coach marque of MAN, manufactured in MAN premises.