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10/11/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/11/2021 02:49

Stronger Together

On April 3, 1898, Anton von Rieppel sat down at his desk to write a letter. He wrote it himself - the matter at hand was too important to dictate it to his secretary. In fact, the letter was so important that he even wrote it on a Sunday, the sacred day of rest in deeply religious Bavaria. And, of course, at Maschinenbau-Actiengesellschaft Nürnberg, of which Anton von Rieppel was the director. "It is this thought that brings me to inquire in this private, unsanctioned manner," von Rieppel wrote, "whether you may be inclined to give further consideration (...) to a merger between the two companies."

The finely worded lines were addressed to Heinrich von Buz, director of Maschinenfabrik Augsburg AG, 150 kilometers away from Nuremberg. The direct, polite letter was a success: that very year, the two companies merged into one, which soon became known as Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg AG all over the world. Not long after that, commercial vehicles produced by M.A.N. - the company's distinctive abbreviation was coined in 1908 - were transporting goods and people around the globe. Still, the ever-growing automotive specialist had the merger negotiations between the responsible directors, Anton von Rieppel and Heinrich von Buz, to thank for its international breakthrough. "From the outset, the two company directors communicated as equal partners, trusting each other and keeping their promises," write historians Henning Stibbe and Matthias Georgi, authors of "MAN. One century" (Quotation translated from German). That was the basis of the successful merger between the companies.

Back then, not only did the two directors orchestrate one of the first mergers in the German automotive industry that saw the number of employees rise from 400 to over 12,000 in the next ten or so years. They also laid the foundation for the company's philosophy, which is successful to this day: if it makes business sense, look for a partner. Focus on mergers and cooperation initiatives to strengthen growth, innovativeness, and customer proximity. 1915, for example, saw the M.A.N. Group, which up until then had largely focused on the rail sector, produce its first truck thanks to a cooperation initiative with Adolph Saurer, a Swiss commercial vehicle manufacturer. Those negotiations were also led by Anton von Rieppel, by then M.A.N.'s director general.