Josef Werndl (1831 - 1889) was an Austrian gunsmith and he took over his father's business of making small arms and weapons. In 1864 he, along with his brother Franz Werndl , formed Josef Und Franz Werndl & Company to manufacture rifles and small arms for the Austrian Army. The Werndl rifle of 1867 was famous for its function and quality.
In 1894, they expanded in to manufacture of bicycles. The bicycles were sold under the "Steyr" brand name, named after the Austrian town where they were located.
In 1915 , Josef Und Franz Werndl & Co expanded in to development and manufacture of automobiles. They employed the famous automotive engineer Hans Ledwinka, who quit Nesselsdorfer (Tatra) to join them in designing a new car. The first car , Type II 12/40 HP was launched in 1920. In 1924 , the company was renamed as Steyr-Werke AG.
A 1925 Steyr Type V car -
Conflict with Steyr management on small car Vs luxury car debate made Hans Ledwinka to quit and rejoin Nesselsdorfer, now Tatra.
In 1929 , Steyr recruited Ferdinand Porsche from Daimler-Benz. However, recession made survival difficult and the company was in trouble. This made Porsche to leave and create his own company as we know today.
In 1934, Steyr merged with Austro-Daimler-Puchwerke to form Steyr-Daimler-Puch. Steyr-Daimler-Puch was one of the largest automobile groups and were present in many fields - trucks, tractors, automobiles, motorcycles and mopeds.
Some of the most famous cars were the 1936 Steyr 50 , commonly known as "Baby" Steyr and 1939 Steyr 220 -
During the war , Steyr was involved in military production and, being under Third Reich, used slaves from concentration camps as labour.
In 1967 , they introduced a versatile 4x4 vehicle named Haflinger -
Steyr was also manufacturing automobiles under license from Opel, FIAT and Mercedes Benz. A Mercedes-Benz G Wagon named Puch G -
Starting early 1990s , Steyr-Daimler-Puch started selling the individual business of Trucks, Buses, Mopeds , Tractors to various companies and was concentrating on automobile business only
In 1998 , Magna International took majority shares in Steyr-Daimler-Puch and by 2001 it was fully acquired by Magna , renamed as Magna Steyr. Magna Steyr , now deals with Vehicle Engineering and contract manufacturing.
Steyr Logo -