More than 150 years of passion for our quality products
In 1864, 33-year old saddler Carl Heinrich Gläser founded a workshop in Dresden for the construction of carriages and sleighs. Only one year later, his regular customers included the royal stables thanks to the quality of the products. Heinrich Gläser was now a “Royal Coachbuilder”.
He obtained the shells for the carriages from Friedrich August Emil Heuer in Radeberg. Since Gläser had no children, he named Heuer as his successor, who took over management of the company in 1902.
In 1902, Gläser and co-owner Heuer built their first automobile chassis for the “Mercedes” company, then still in its infancy. In 1903, the company received the decree that endowed it with the title of “Royal Coachbuilder”. In 1925, it began to develop and produce automobiles with removable and retractable roofs.
World War II was followed by a difficult period of reconstruction. The company was expropriated and nationalized in 1946. The businesses in Dresden and Radeberg were renamed “VEB Karosseriewerke Dresden” in 1953.
In 1967, the last cabriolet body left the factory in Dresden. From 1956 to 1991, production focuses mainly on the “Wartburg” in a variety of models and variants.
The company was privatized by the Schnellecke Group in 1994. In 1996, the new press plant was inaugurated at Karosseriewerke Dresden GmbH in Radeberg.
At the time of the acquisition, KWD was still active at the Dresden-Klotzsche location, which lost its future prospects because of the planned airport expansion.
By 1996, the press plant and shell construction plant had been re-constructed in Radeberg and the location moved. With a newly acquired crew of around 270 experienced body makers, KWD quickly succeeded in establishing itself as a supplier of high-quality body parts and assemblies and to obtain a customer base of renowned automobile manufacturers, including VW, Porsche, Audi, and Daimler.
Yet growth also comes from international expansion. KWD grew beyond the borders of Saxony. Starting in 1998, sister companies were founded in Wolfsburg, Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, and in the Chinese city of Dalian.