The repair facility at the war-torn Untertürkheim plant in 1947


1945 - 1949.

The assessment of the war damage in 1945 was disillusioning for the company – under the Potsdam Agreement all German assets abroad were confiscated and used for the payment of reparations. Daimler-Benz lost all foreign subsidiaries, affiliates and branches as well as all assets in the Soviet-occupied areas.

The international network which had previously been in place was destroyed as a result and the company had to begin rebuilding it. In addition, Daimler-Benz had to relinquish unsettled claims against the state.

And so in 1945 the company was reduced to its four original southern German plants Untertürkheim, Sindelfingen, Mannheim and Gaggenau as well as Berlin-Marienfelde and the company-owned West German outlets.

Daimler-Benz thus found itself back in the position it had been in before the National Socialists came to power. At the beginning the Untertürkheim plant operated mainly as a repair facility for US military vehicles. The denazification of the top management led to fundamental changes in the make-up of the Board of Management. Even before the German capitulation, Otto Hoppe, who had to leave the Board on the insistence of the Nazis in 1942 because of his Jewish wife, had been reappointed to the Board on 1 May 1945.

A repair facility for American military vehicles is set up at the Untertürkheim plant, 1945
A repair facility for American military vehicles is set up at the Untertürkheim plant, 1945

After extensive efforts, the company received a new production permit from the American occupation authorities on 3 January 1946. Despite difficult conditions, it was possible for the plant to be restored substantially by the time currency reform took place in 1948, with reconstruction being completed in 1951.

Production had resumed at all plants in 1947. The Mannheim and Gaggenau plants were able to pick up the thread of war-time truck production. In Sindelfingen and Untertürkheim the evacuated facilities had to be brought together again and production rebuilt. Of seminal importance was the decision to transfer final assembly of the vehicles to Sindelfingen.

Mercedes-Benz L 4500 4.5 t truck, 1945
Mercedes-Benz L 4500 4.5 t truck, 1945

Despite the chaotic financial situation existing up until currency reform on 20 June 1948, the company balance sheet for the year 1948/1949 already showed a profit.


1933 - 1945.

Daimler-Benz in the Nazi Era.

300 SL

1949 - 1960.

Economic miracle and return to the world market.

40 PS Mercedes-Simplex, 1903.

Back to overview.

From the first automobile to electric cars: The company's history.