Concept

Steyr-Daimler-Puch

Summary
Steyr-Daimler-Puch (ˈʃtaɪɐ ˈdaɪmlɐ ˈpʊx) was a large manufacturing conglomerate based in Steyr, Austria, which was broken up in stages between 1987 and 2001. The component parts and operations continued to exist under separate ownership and new names. The company, initially known as Josef und Franz Werndl and Company was founded in 1864 as a rifle manufacturer. It grew rapidly during the First World War, by the end of which it employed 14,000 people. The company began producing bicycles in 1894. Steyr automobiles were made after 1918. In September 1917 Steyr recruited Hans Ledwinka, now remembered as one of the great automobile engineers of the twentieth century, but then relatively unknown, to the position of "Chefkonstrukteur", to lead the creation of their automobile manufacturing business The first Steyr car, the six cylinder Type II "12/40" appeared in 1920. It was heavy and well-built, if a little cumbersome. It spawned sports versions with an impressive list of international achievements. The small but luxurious 1.5 L six Type XII of the late twenties won international motor press acclaim. The company changed its name to Steyr-Werke AG in 1926. In 1934, Steyr merged with Austro-Daimler-Puch to form Steyr-Daimler-Puch. The range produced in these years mainly consisted of very modern designs, sporting partially or complete unit construction bodies in streamlined livery, from the one-litre Steyr 50 to the 2.3 L Steyr 220 "six". During World War II, when Austria was part of the Third Reich, Steyr-Daimler-Puch's Generaldirektor Georg Meindl became one of the first German industrialists to suggest the use of slave labour from concentration camps to boost manpower at Steyr. The request was approved and prisoners were brought by guarded train from the Mauthausen-Gusen camp complex at Gusen 30 km distant. Later, on 5 January 1942, Meindl wrote a letter to SS Gruppenführer Ernst Kaltenbrunner recommending a new 'satellite' prison camp be constructed to house prisoners nearer the Steyr factory complex, explaining how this would reduce the time and loss of prisoners in transit to and from work while also reducing security and transport overhead costs.
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