SAURER Buses Arbon Switserland 1903-1982


Adolph Saurer AG
Former type Public company
Industry Automotive,
Fate Merged with Franz Brozincevic & Cie into Nutzfahrzeuggesellschaft Arbon & Wetzikon (NAW)
Successors Saurer AG
Founded 1903
Defunct 1982
Headquarters Arbon, Switzerland
Key people Franz Saurer
Products Motor vehicles

Adolph Saurer AG based in Arbon, Switzerland was a manufacturer of trucks and buses under the Saurer and Berna (beginning in 1929) brand names, active between 1903 and 1982.

Saurer was very well known all around Europe in the years between World War I and World War II (1918–1939).

Especially, in World War 2 a modified version of Saurer trucks was sponsored by the Nazi and used to gas people in Chełmno


 1930 Saurer Car-Alpin

A Saurer Car-Alpin in 1930

In 1853 Franz Saurer (1806–1882) from Veringenstadt in Germany established an iron foundry for household goods near the Swiss town of Sankt Gallen. In 1863 he started a production of Jacquard sewing machines in Arbon, from 1869 together with his sons as company associates of F. Saurer & Söhne. In 1896 his eldest surviving son Adolph Saurer (1841–1920) took over the company, he and his son Hippolyt (1878–1936) developed the enterprise as a joint-stock company.

From 1896 Saurer also manufactured petrol engines and the next year Hippolyt Saurer initiated the production of a phaeton body automobile run by a one-cylinder opposed-piston engine. In 1902 a first four-cylinder T-head engine model with touring car and sedan chassis was built.

From 1903 onwards Saurer concentrated on the production of commercial vehicles which soon gained a good reputation. The company ran subsidiary companies in Austria (1906–1959, in the end taken over by Steyr-Daimler-Puch), France (1910–1956, taken over by Unic), the United Kingdom (1927–1931, taken over by Armstrong Whitworth), and in Germany (1915–1918, taken over by MAN). In Italy, the Officine Meccaniche (OM) manufacturer was for many years licensee of Saurer engines and other mechanical units, which they used in their own ranges of truck and buses. In Poland the state-owned Państwowe Zakłady Inżynieryjne produced license-built Saurer engines (powering, among others, the 7TP and 9TP tanks) and coach chassis used in the Zawrat bus.

In the United States, the Saurer Motor Truck Company, headed by C.P. Coleman, had the rights to manufacture and sell heavy trucks under the Saurer brand name at its plant in Plainfield, New Jersey (which commenced operations in November 1911). On September 23, 1911, the Saurer Motor Truck Company merged with the Mack Brothers Motor Car Company of Allentown, Pennsylvania, headed by J. M. Mack, to form the International Motor Truck Company (IMTC). IMTC would continue to make and sell trucks using the Saurer name until 1918. In 1922 IMTC would become Mack Trucks, Inc.

In 1929 Saurer acquired its Swiss rival, Motorwagenfabrik Berna AG of Olten, but the Berna name was allowed to continue, badging the very same Saurer models.

From 1932 on, trolleybuses were a very significant segment of Saurer production. Typically Saurer, or Berna, trolleybuses featured Brown, Boveri & Cie or Société Anonyme des Ateliers de Sécheron (SAAS) electric equipment and Carrosserie Hess bodies. Saurer trolleybuses operated in most of Central Europe countries, and still do it in several of them.

In World War 2 a restructured type BT 4500 and 5 BHw of Saurer trucks were used to gas people in the Nazi extermination camp of Chelmno.[3]

In 1951 Saurer and its Italian licensee, OM, reached an agreement by which Saurer would market in Switzerland OM’s light and medium-weight trucks and buses, using Saurer-OM and Berna-OM badges. This was successful and lasted until Saurer closure.


Declining sales in the early 1980s saw the two leading Swiss truck makers, Saurer and FBW (Franz Brozincevic & Cie of Wetzikon, Switzerland), forming a joint organization calledNutzfahrzeuggesellschaft Arbon & Wetzikon, proceeding with motorbus and trolleybus production under the NAW brand, while the last Saurer-badged truck sold in the open market was delivered in 1983. Four years later, in 1987, a model 10DM supplied to the Swiss Army meant the very last Saurer truck produced in history.

In 1982 Daimler-Benz had acquired a major shareholding in NAW and soon took full control; and in a short time dropped Saurer, Berna and FBW brands, while using NAW premises to assemble heavy haulage versions of Mercedes-Benz trucks.

Eventually NAW went into liquidation in early 2003.

The textile and automotive spin-offs

In 1995, Ernst Thomke, reputed Swiss Manager, took over the leadership of Saurer AG in Arbon as Chairman of the Board. To restructure this conglomerate, he had previously abandoned his position with its then major shareholder: BB Industrie Holding AG (22%). The previous major shareholder, Tito Tettamanti, of the conglomerate, founded in 1853, specialized in textile machinery and “propulsion technology”, had acquired the main competitor in each field, Schlafhorst, with a large manufacturing capacity excess and Ghidela.

Thomke led actively Saurer AG until 1996, when he retired to the direction of the Board until 1999. In his years he promulgated transparency at all levels, flexible working hours, optimized the production and refined accounting systems. In 1996, the group Saurer AG went back into financial results showing profits. More than half of the revenues originating from Schlafhorst, upon its positive restructuring.

Doflug D-3802A

A Doflug D-3802A powered by aSaurer YS-2 aero-engine.


Saurer also produced the YS-2 and YS-3 aero-engines, closely related to the Hispano-Suiza 12Y series of engines designed and built in France, to power the Doflug D-3802 and Doflug D-3803 fighters.

Oerlikon Textile

Since 2007, the conglomerate Saurer AG, which meanwhile had reached a worldwide leading status in textile machinery, has been integrated into the Oerlikon Corporation (see: Oerlikon Textile )

Oerlikon-Saurer Textile is a manufacturer of systems for spinning, texturizing, twisting and embroidery.

Oerlikon-Saurer “Graziano Trasmissioni

Also since 2007, the remaining Saurer AG automative part, “Graziano Trasmissioni”, a manufacturer of gear, gear groups and complete transmission systems for agricultural, earth moving and special vehicles as well as for four wheel drive passenger cars and luxury sport cars has also been integrated into the Oerlikon Corporation. (see: [2] Oerlikon Drive Systems)

Gallery of Saurer, Berna and NAW vehicles

1853 SAURER(CH) (1) saurer-reisewagen saurer-n4c-komet-01 Saurer-Hess-Secheron 91GTS 536 saurer-busse-oldtimer-02b-100032 saurer-busse-oldtimer-02b-100031 saurerbus-salzburg-094jpg_29689 saurer-bus-ex-svb-nr91-55870 saurer-bus-06 saurer-bus-(suisse)--12461 Saurer-Bus Salzburg Seitenansicht saurer-airport-coach-01 saurer_logo_200x200 Saurer_logo Saurer_im-Schnee-1 Saurer Saurer zurck-zur-oldtimer-auswahl_23acb Saurer VH Saurer V2C44 met Krapf opbouw Saurer Tüscher 3DUK-50 index Saurer Tannkosh-2008n Saurer Saurer Saurer RH525-23 Saurer RH525 Postbus Saurer Omnibus L 4 C Saurer N2C-H met Geser carrosserie saurer k550-23 Saurer de la C.G.T.E. Série Saurer Cover Suisser Saurer bussen in Nederland. de RET 329

© R.J.M.v.d. Zant

saurer bus Saurer Bus Photo SAURER Boekje (CH) (1-a) Saurer Bern Extrawagen SAURER A926t67 SAURER a Saurer 3359779998_28c431674c SAURER 26838547 SAURER 3055 SAURER 29 Mini Campingnachbere us em Emmental mit eme bsundrige Saurer Wohnmobil SAURER 24 CT 3D belle-clot Saurer 5GF-U (M 3781) Saurer 4IILM in Gdynia Saurer 4IILM historic trolleybus in Gdynia Saurer 3DUX Saurer 2 SAURER (CH) (5) SAURER (CH) (4) SAURER (CH) (3) SAURER (CH) (2) Sauer N2C-H mit Geser carr Sauer 3 CT 3D 1954 Grindler carr. Belle-Clot 1984 sats saurer coach mln261w seapoint 1982 saurer-bus-bogota 1982 SAURER RH 300 1981 SAURER K5 rer 1968 saurer3dux68 1964-SAURER_904 1964 Saurer P 23219 6 1962 Saurer 4CT1D Saurer carr Den Oudsten GTW 360 1962 Saurer 4CT1D Saurer carr Den Oudsten GTW 355 1962 Saurer 4CT1D Saurer carr Den oudsten GTW 352 1960 Saurer-5-GF-U-Hauber-Ueberlbus-Radevormwalder 1957 Saurer P 19992 1955 Saurer-Arbon Gesellschaftswagen CT 2 D 1954 Saurer-Hainje foto van Jan Voerman RET 1954 Saurer Vienna 1954 1953 Saurer-Hainje Jan Voerman RET Breeweg 1953 Saurer, L4CT 2D R&J 1953 Saurer 5GFO 1952 Saurer 1952 Saurer N4C-H-CT2D carr. Hainje  NB-69-68

© R.J.M.v.d. Zant

1951 Saurer 3 C-H with Ramseier & Jenzer 1951 SAURER 3 C H R&J 310 1950 Saurer, L4CT 2D Ramseier & Jenzer 1950 SAURER L4C-CT2d 860 1949 Saurer 4CT1D carr Verheul GTW 380 de Steeg 1949 Saurer 4CT1D carr Verheul GTW 377 1949 Saurer 4CT1D carr Verheul GTW 372 1949 1949 Saurer 4CT1D carr Verheul GTW 370  1949 1949 Saurer 4CT1D carr Verheul GTW 368 Dieren 1949 Saurer 4CT1D  carr Verheul GTW 378 1949 Saurer 4CT1D  carr Verheul GTW 373 1949 Saurer 3C DI ROSA Frankreich SAUER CT 1 D 6cyl 7970cc 1948 Saurer, 4CT1D-H Seitz 1948 Saurer RET 1948 Saurer 4C RET 223 1948 Saurer 4C - Seitz  RET 223 1947 Saurer 4CT 1D carr Verheul GTW 185 1947 Saurer 4CT 1D carr Verheul GTW 184 1947 Saurer 4CT 1D carr Verheul GTW 183 1947 Saurer 4CT 1D carr Verheul GTW 182 1947 Saurer 4CT 1D carr Verheul GTW 181 1947 Saurer 4C-H CT 1D Verheul RET 208 1947 Saurer 4 CT 1D carr Seitz GTW 200 1947 Saurer 4 CT 1D carr Seitz GTW 197 1947 Saurer 4 CT 1D carr Seitz GTW 196 1947 Saurer 4 CT 1D carr Seitz GTW 194 1947 Saurer 4 CT 1D carr Seitz GTW 192 1947 Saurer 4 CT 1D carr Seitz GTW 191 1947 1947 Saurer 3ct1d orlandi gd Belle Clot 1939 Saurer P 1601 hummeli 1939 Saurer Lith 1937 Saurer Deiters 1933 SAURER kh 1932 SAURER TL.22 527 1932 Saurer BLD n° 22 Lausanne 1932 ATO Saurer 1931 Saurer-Verheul  008aa 1931 Saurer Verheul 1931 Saurer - Werkspoor, Zuilen A'dam 1930s Saurer bus, Zurich, Switzerland 1930 saurer-4-bl-po-01 1930 saurer 5su6.3039 1923 Saurer Alsa 1922 Saurer 1921 Saurer P 20 1915 Saurer mit Baader-Anhaenger 1914 Saurer bus

That’s it