MAN A.G. (Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg A.G.) was officially founded in 1908, due to Maschinenfabrik Augsburg merging with Eisengießerei und Maschinenfabrik Klett & Comp. The former started developing a revolutionary new engine technology named after its inventor, Rudolf Diesel, while the latter was facing rather difficult times financially. Soon enough, an agreement was reached between Augsburg's director Heinrich Buz and Nürnberg's commissioner Anton Rieppel to create one of the most important industrial companies in Southern Germany.
For the following decade, MAN continued to develop public transportation projects and Diesel engines for ships and locomotives. It was only in 1915 that Von Rieppel decided to enter the truck and commercial vehicle market, launching the first MAN truck. It would later prove an inspired choice for the Lindau and Nürnberg-based MAN-Sauer plants, since it matched the German Army's needs during the upcoming War.
MAN Nürnberg took full advantage of the Diesel technology developed by Rupert Diesel in the late 1890s and manufactured world's very first direct injection Diesel truck. Presented at the Berlin Automobile Exhibition in December 1924, the new truck had taken MAN engineers quite a lot to figure out how to implement a massive stationary-purposed engine into a street vehicle. Due to the massive and robust construction of the cylinders (as it had to resist to very high air pressure) the engine could only produce 1 hp for every 250 kg. The solution came soon after the end of WWI, in 1923, when MAN developed the fuel injection pump. This gave the engineers the opportunity to create a much more simple and light Diesel engine which would fit any truck or heavy-duty vehicle.
MAN underwent some major organizing changes in the mid-'20s, once Otto Meyer became board member of the company. After optimizing the production chain at the Nürnberg plant, Meyer launched into production the new Type E Series. What happened next was one of the most impressive survival lessons in the history of German automobile industry. The company managed to keep itself distant from the Nazi regime and refused to profit from free work provided by concentration camp prisoners. Nevertheless, the production process went smoothly throughout the Second World War, with more than 30,000 workers on the payroll. Both Meyer and Paul Reusch – president of Gutehoffnungshütte company – had a lot of headaches while resisting the Anti-Semitism wave, the latter being forced to resign from all supervisory positions in 1942.
As it turned out, their resistance to the Nazi regime didn't help them a lot in the after-war era. Soon after the military operations has stopped, MAN's plant in Nürnberg was practically destroyed and GHH was closed by the Allies. Meyer was arrested for a short period of time as he was believed to have supplied the German army with armament in WWI through his Nürnberg plant. The steel&coal production was basically ceased and GHH/MAN returned to automotive engineering.
Nevertheless, MAN had a strong desire to make a forceful comeback on Germany's industrial market and the only one capable of delivering a quick response was former leader Otto Meyer. As he was cleared of all charges by the US military government, Meyer started the reconstruction of GHH/MAN from scratches. MAN became the first German manufacturer to export trucks or any commercial-related vehicles after WWII, thanks to Meyer's ability to negotiate with the US government. Managing to avoid such restrictions, the company sold 1.8 million $ worth of trucks in the United States (only in 1946). In less than 7 years after this new profitable path was created, MAN was leading the commercial vehicle sector with sales exceeding 1,450 units and profits around 70 million deutschmarks (German currency).
From that point on, the sky was the limit for MAN company. A new plant was created near Munich (1955), as the one in Nürnberg was unable to cover the public's request. Only 5 years later, the Munich factory was producing its 30,000th truck.
Once it became a fierce leader of the commercial vehicle market in both Germany and worldwide, MAN was now starting to figure out how it could extend its area of automobile production. The next step was creating partnerships and making strategic takeovers within the bus sector. MAN therefore purchased Salzgitter-based Büssing-Automobilwerke in 1971 and started developing its new line of production the very following year. Starting the 8th decade, the MAN logo was to be seen on both trucks and buses all over Europe.
Unlike any other truck manufacturer out there, MAN well-extended its production area in the late '70s. As aeronautic transportation became more and more of a necessity in terms of satellite takeoffs, the German company got involved in producing the necessary launch components, like boosters, fuel & high-pressure tanks and turbopumps. MAN was actually one of the most important manufacturers to support the Ariane program in 1979, with developing the Ariane 1 rocket. Their involvement within the aeronautic industry continued until the present days.
In the mid-'80s, the GHH board of directors decided to sell of their shares and left MAN looking for financial replacers. The next major step in MAN's history was the merger with Gutehoffnungshütte Aktienverein (operating in coal and steel sector), forming the newly Munich-based MAN AG. It was then that all the MAN branches were reorganized as individual stock corporations and started to take responsibility for their own results. The MAN AG logo was also new, with a blue arch covering the MAN brand name.
Dr. Klaus Götte and Rudolf Rupprecht continued establishing MAN AG as one of the main players on the international commercial vehicles market, thanks to precise decision-making process and profitable takeovers. One of the most important developments throughout the '90s – but completed in 2000 – was launching the Trucknology Generation.
The new line of trucks included the TGA, TGL and TGM Series. What was so special about those long-distance vehicles was the innovative use of electronic control systems, modern headlight technology and fuel efficiency. There were also significant changes in terms of cab construction, with safer structures and wider spacing.
Starting 2001, MAN AG started developing hybrid technologies for city buses. Reduction of fuel consumption and lowering CO2 emissions were the main advantages for building such engines, with the Nürnberg transportation system being the first to benefit from it in the early 2000s. Some new features for this first generation of buses included an automatic stop-start function of the engine and the recovery the energy gained from braking.
The second generation of Diesel hybrid city buses was launched in 2005, after a fruitful collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Economics. Finally, the 3rd generation of hybrid city buses was presented in May 2007.
MAN AG innovated once again with the introduction of the D20 Common Rail engine, which won the 'Intelligence in Traffic and Logistics' award in 2005 (by the Center for Transportation & Logistics Neuer Adler).
A new line of trucks was launched in October 2007, with the TGX and TGS series completing the Trucknology production (the most impressive of which is the TGX V8, with a power range around 680 hp). The two series benefited from the D20 Common Rail technology. Also, the latest generation of the TGA Series won the 'Truck of the Year' award in 2008.