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English   Henschel Kassel plant
19.08.2010 von admin

Henschel went its own way: a collaborative venture – initially agreed for 25 years – with the French brand Saviem ended after just two years. Similarly, cooperation with the UK brand Commer involving light-duty trucks and large vans brought limited success; even before then the light-duty Henschel HS 90 and HS 95 trucks had failed to live up to expectations.

Henschel-Commer HC HC 10 TL

Just how dynamically and resourcefully Goergen managed the business became clear in 1963: Henschel was the first German vehicle manufacturer to offer its customers leasing-based finance. However, company boss Goergen, now the firm's majority shareholder with a 54-percent stake, became embroiled in a corruption scandal surrounding an armaments deal in 1964. The Henschel shares ended up with Rheinstahl in Essen, trading under the name of Rheinstahl Henschel. Henschel then merged with the Rheinstahl subsidiary Hanomag. As a result of the takeover, Henschel ceased bus and coach production in 1965.

Daimler-Benz AG stake

Rheinstahl would, however, soon be devastated by the steel crisis, with the company once again looking to get out of vehicle production. Rheinstahl negotiated with the likes of Leyland to secure the sale of Henschel. Shortly afterwards in 1968/69, the then Daimler-Benz AG initially took over 51 percent of the shares of Hanomag-Henschel Fahrzeugwerke that had been set up together with Rheinstahl, before raising its stake to 100 percent shortly afterwards.

A brisk exchange of components and vehicles among the brands ensued. The trucks from Hanomag-Henschel received engines and axles from Daimler-Benz; Mercedes-Benz in turn integrated Henschel's heavy-duty dump trucks under its own trademark and with its own components into its line-up. The absence of all-wheel-drive cab-over-engine models provided the ideal opportunity for Henschel vehicles fitted with Mercedes V-engines and Mercedes hub reduction axles to step into the breach.

End of the road for Henschel trucks

In 1974, the last trucks under the old Henschel trademark rolled out of the workshops; they were chassis for concrete mixers. Precisely 111,555 Henschel trucks had been built over 50 years. Cab-behind-engine models for Mercedes-Benz rolled off the production line in North Hesse until 22 March 1980, before Kassel finally became the component plant for commercial vehicles within the group.

The takeover of Hanomag-Henschel was crucial for Daimler-Benz: after the Wörth truck plant was built in 1965 and following the acquisition of Krupp in 1967, it provided at the time the final piece of the jigsaw in becoming the world's number one commercial vehicle manufacturer. This approach ultimately enabled light-duty vans to be included in the line-up, alongside the Henschel vehicles and their sales network.

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