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eMercedesBenz Feature:  Daimler-Benz Launches The Unimog At The German Agricultural Show In Frankfurt
Posted July 2, 2008 At 10:30 AM CST by T. Philips

One of the first Unimogs from large-scale production, 1949.

Of the many automakers in existence, none have a heritage as illustrious as the one held by Mercedes-Benz. Over the course of the past 120 years, the company has introduced both vehicles and technologies that have forever changed the future of the automotive industry.  To help showcase this legendary past and the many pioneering achievements noted along the way, we've decided to introduce a new segment we're calling the "eMercedesBenz Feature."  In it, we'll highlight a wide variety of subjects ranging from the Mercedes' earliest triumphs to their modern-day innovations, all of which you'll hopefully find both fascinating and informative.

To kick off the segment, we'll begin by taking a look back at Daimler-Benz' introduction of the Unimog at the German Agricultural Show.  The year was 1948, and it's purpose was straightforward:  it had been devised as an implement that was to be superior to conventional tractors and simplify the farmer's work to the greatest possible extent. That's what the former head of aeroengine design at Daimler-Benz, Albert Friedrich, had had in mind – being out of a job after the war but burning for action. At the time, the project gained special significance through the announcement of the Morgenthau plan according to which the former German Reich was to be turned into an agrarian nation.

Name and concept rolled into one

The history of the name alone indicates that the result was a vehicle in a very special format. The Unimog achieved what market strategists can only dream of: in next to no time, the individual product name was used for the entire category of vehicles. Originally devised as a catchy acronym for a mouthful, "Universalmotorgerät" ('universally applicable motorized implement'), the name "Unimog" is today a concept in its own right, whose origin occasionally has to be called back to mind to be understood. Small wonder, therefore, that the visitors to the German Agricultural Show in the fall of 1948 were enthusiastic about the newly introduced vehicle and seized the occasion: the Unimog stand team brought back 150 spontaneously placed Unimog orders.

The ingenious feat of the Unimog's fathers in the fall of 1948 is also revealed by the fact that a large number of the archetype Unimog's typical features have been retained to this day: four equal-sized wheels, all-wheel drive with differential locks, portal axles for offroad operation, power take-offs front and rear and a small platform for carrying loads and implements.

A vehicle for all seasons

In the course of the years, the application spectrum of the vehicle, originally designed for agriculture, expanded continuously. The 25 hp post-war newcomer was bursting with talents which just waited to be discovered: whether forestry or municipal authorities, fire brigades or armed forces, energy industry or mineral oil exploration teams in the desert – the more specific the job on hand, the fewer are the alternatives to the Unimog.

Always up to date

Today, the extensive Unimog family is structured into six model series which can be allocated to two different application spectrums. The U 3000, U 4000 and U 5000 series introduced in 2002 stand out for their exemplary offroad mobility and are first and foremost designed for fire brigades (especially for fighting forest fires), for disaster aid and as basic chassis for expedition vehicles as well as for servicing and maintenance in the most difficult terrain.

These models ideally complement the U 300, U 400 and U 500 series introduced in the spring of 2000. These, in turn, were designed as implement carriers, first and foremost for public service facilities, municipal subcontractors, the construction and energy industries as well as works transport.


Unimog design with clean line and shapes, 1949.
Unimog design with clean line and shapes, 1949.

Unimog Chassis with engine, 1949.
Unimog Chassis with engine, 1949.

Demonstration of the Unimog before expert spectators, 1948.
Demonstration of the Unimog before expert spectators, 1948.

Universally applicable Unimog, 1950.
Universally applicable Unimog, 1950.

Unimog with front-mounted Mower, 1948.
Unimog with front-mounted Mower, 1948.

Mercedes-Benz Unimog 300 - 500
Mercedes-Benz Unimog 300 - 500

Mercedes-Benz Unimog 300 - 500
Mercedes-Benz Unimog 300 - 500

Mercedes-Benz Unimog 3000 - 5000
Mercedes-Benz Unimog 3000 - 5000

Mercedes-Benz Unimog 3000 - 5000
Mercedes-Benz Unimog 3000 - 5000


Mercedes-Benz Unimog 3000 - 5000



Copyright © 2008, Daimler AG

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