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English   Henschel Kassel plant
19.08.2010 von admin

1950s: dazzling array of new models

Development continued with a dazzling array of new models in the 1950s. Orders for locomotives – still a key sector for Henschel – were received from every corner of the globe. Henschel trolleybuses joined the line-up along with other models produced in cooperation with the bodybuilders at Waggonfabrik Uerdingen. These were followed by the HS 100 truck and the HS 115 with all-wheel drive, the HS 120 and the heavy-duty HS 170 truck, plus a bus chassis with a 200-hp underfloor engine. So-called tram trucks with an engine in the cab were produced alongside cab-over-engine buses and coaches with a light-alloy shell design and the powerful three-axle all-wheel-drive HS 3-180 dump truck. Henschel developed air-sprung trucks, buses and coaches.

But it was also in this period that the company faced its first major crisis. Still under the management of the majority shareholder Oscar R. Henschel, the renowned company faced insolvency in 1957, having to seek court protection from its creditors. With help from the national and regional governments, a rescue company was set up to save Henschel.

Henschel HS 200 UN

Exit of the Henschel family

The era of Dr Fritz-Aurel Goergen dawned. He came from one of the successor companies in the broken-up Thyssen group, initially assuming the position of chair of the Supervisory Board, before becoming chairman of the company a year later. The Henschel family finally severed its ties with the company. Goergen, Herbert Coutinho and three banks took over the partners' interests. Massive cutbacks followed − including the end of steam locomotive production and the takeover of the former aero engine plant by VW − after which Henschel soon prospered again. In the anniversary year 1960, the workforce totalled 13,500 (at the end of 1958: 8000); revenue in the two years after 1958 had also doubled to 400 million marks. Right on cue for its anniversary on 15 October 1960, Henschel produced its 50,000th commercial vehicle.

In 1961, Henschel took over the locomotive department of Maschinenfabrik Esslingen; the remaining parts of Maschinenfabrik Esslingen would in turn be transferred to the ownership of the then Daimler-Benz AG in 1965. In 1961, Henschel came up with its amazing all-new line-up of cab-over-engine and cab-behind-engine models; these sensational models came from the drawing board of designer Louis Lepoix. He introduced a modular system: more than two thirds of the parts of the cab-over-engine and cab-behind-engine models were identical.

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