1885 Wanderer logo. (source: Audi)
The name "Wanderer" dates back to 1896, when its fame was associated with the bicycles built by Winklhofer & Jaenicke, a company founded in 1885 in Chemnitz. Production of motorcycles commenced in 1902, and the first trial production of motor cars took place in 1904.
A small car under the name of "Puppchen" went into series production in 1913, and proved very popular. No higher-performance successor appeared until 1926, when the Wanderer Type W 10 with 1.5 litre engine and developing 30 hp made its debut. This car incorporated all the latest developments in the world of automotive engineering, such as left-hand drive and a central gear lever, a multiple dry-plate clutch, a unitary engine block and gearbox, and a four-wheel brake system. This car met with an excellent market reception.
To cope with the overwhelming demand, a new production plant was built in the Chemnitz suburb of Siegmar. Parts continued to be produced at the existing factory, and were then transferred to the other plant by rail. Individual parts and assemblies were unloaded directly from the rail wagons onto the assembly line: just-in-time methods at the end of the 1920s!
The buffer store in Siegmar had capacity for parts for only 25 cars — as many as could be built in a single day.
Wanderer's marque image was characterized by its extremely reliable cars and by their outstanding manufactured quality. Such excellence had its price, however, and at the end of the 1920s Wanderer attempted to stem the looming crisis with more modern body designs and higher-performance engines. Despite these innovations, production figures slumped. Wanderer's car production operations fell into the red. The entire motorcycles division had already been sold off to NSU and the Czech company Janecek. This prompted Dresdner Bank, Wanderer's largest shareholder, to promote plans to sell off the automotive division and to expand the profitable machine tools and office machinery operations.
Dates in the history of Wanderer.
On February 26, establishment of "Chemnitzer-Velociped-Depot Winklhofer & Jaenicke"
On January 4, adoption of the WANDERER name for the company's bicycles
Change of company name to WANDERER Fahrradwerke AG, formerly Winklhofer & Jaenicke, Schönau/Chemnitz, on May 5
Start of machine tool production
Start of motorcycle production
Start of typewriter production ("Continental" brand)
First experiments in automobile design
From January 15 on: WANDERER Werke, formerly Winklhofer & Jaenicke AG; capital: 1.6 million Marks, increased in 1915 to 5.25 million Marks
Start of WANDERER automobile production
By this year, well over 10,000 motorcycles and over 2,000 automobiles had been built.
The price of the 1.5 hp motorcycle was some 750 Marks; the WANDERER Puppchen automobile cost 4,000 Marks
The Wanderer W 10 with a 30 hp, four-cylinder engine appeared on the market. This model was available in various versions until 1932
Wanderer's car production operations were moved from the main plant in Chemnitz-Schönau to a newly erected plant in the Chemnitz suburb of Siegmar
The new Wanderer six-cylinder Type W 11 extended the model range upwards
Wanderer motorcycle production wound down. The production facilities were sold off to NSU and the Czech company Janacek. Establishment of the JAWA company (Janacek/Wanderer) in Prague
Ferdinand Porsche developed a modern generation of six-cylinder engines for Wanderer Werke AG
Wanderer Werke AG sold off its car division to Auto Union AG. The machine tool, office machinery and bicycle production divisions remained within Wanderer Werke AG
(source: Audi AG).
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