The merger of Kässbohrer and Mercedes-Benz AG on February 23, 1995, opened a new chapter in the success story of EvoBus GmbH, which is now the leading bus manufacturer in Europe. This gives EvoBus good reason to celebrate: We can look back on two decades full of lows and highs while remembering highlights, stories and achievements.
"A region is fighting together" – This is the slogan under which the people of Ulm demonstrated for the struggling Kässbohrer family company in 1994 in order to secure the survival of the Setra brand. They were very successful: The 1995 merger of the Setra and Mercedes-Benz brands under the EvoBus name was the result.
Jobs saved in Ulm and Neu-Ulm
In 1995, the merger saved the most at-risk jobs in Ulm and Neu-Ulm, and the traditional Setra brand could continue. Thanks to this cooperation in the Group and in the EvoBus network, the Mercedes-Benz bus finally gained the status it had always deserved due to its great tradition in vehicle construction. Of special note: Exactly 100 years earlier, on March 18, 1895 – before EvoBus GmbH was formed – Carl Benz launched the world's first motorized bus, the "Benz Patent Motor Vehicle Bus," with eight seats for urban transportation.
EvoBus started out with just over 9,000 employees, but things got rolling quickly: Just a year after it was founded, EvoBus was on the road to growth with the creation of its first seven subsidiaries.
EvoBus was an offshoot of the product unit of Mercedes-Benz Buses (of the former Mercedes-Benz AG in Stuttgart) and the bus division of the former Karl Kässbohrer Fahrzeugwerke GmbH in Ulm (Setra brand name). This has been the most successful corporate merger in the European bus industry to date.
Since April 1997, EvoBus GmbH has been part of the global business unit of Daimler Buses.
Commenting on this achievement, Hartmut Schick, Head of Daimler Buses, noted: "We wrote industrial history with the merger of Mercedes-Benz Buses and the Kässbohrer Setra brand. Both companies have remained true to their history and values and have become Europe's biggest bus maker."
Mercedes-Benz and Setra buses
The Mercedes-Benz Citaro was unveiled for the first time in 1997. Just three years later, the 1,000th vehicle was produced, and the Citaro topped the 20,000 mark after just ten years. It is thus not surprising that in 2014, EvoBus celebrated the production of the 40,000th Citaro, which has long been known as the most successful city bus of all time.
Setra has always been a pioneer in quality, comfort and design. Setra set new industry standards in the premium class segment no later than 2001 – at the time of its world premiere of the Setra TopClass 400. Like Mercedes-Benz, Setra is also miles ahead technologically: Setra touring coaches have been on the road with Euro VI engines since 2012, even though legislators did not require compliance with Euro VI until 2014.
Employees take a look back
EvoBus, with its 15 subsidiaries, now has 10,363 employees throughout all of Europe. Many of them have been on board since Day One.
For instance, Indra Marjanovic can remember the year the company was founded: "I came to EvoBus in Neu-Ulm in 1995. My time here began with a training course as business administrator for office communications. Today, I can look back on 20 years of highs and lows at EvoBus and am proud to have been on board at the Bus at all times!"
Helga Grünsteudel also remembers the merger of Kässbohrer and Mercedes-Benz. "20 years ago, I was secretary to the CEO of Kässbohrer. For all of us it was a very moving and emotionally difficult time, because prior to the formation of EvoBus GmbH, the future was uncertain for our traditional company with its outstanding product – the SETRA bus. Now I can say that this company merger was THE best decision for everyone. I'm still very glad to be a part of this terrific BUS team."
Martin Sauer also remembers that first year. "In 1995, I started my apprenticeship here as a construction mechanic. Today, I am still at EvoBus in Mannheim, but am now working in quality assurance. Then as now, I am glad to be a part of the company and can look back on 20 exciting years."
20 years of EvoBus – reason for all employees to be proud! We want to say THANK YOU and congratulations!