MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH is a manufacturer of commercial internal combustion engines founded by Wilhelm Maybach and his son Karl Maybach in 1909. Wilhelm Maybach was the technical director of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) – a predecessor company of the German multinational automotive corporation Daimler AG until he left in 1907. On 23 March 1909, he founded the new company, Luftfahrzeug-Motorenbau GmbH (literally “Aircraft Engine Building Company”), with his son Karl Maybach as director. A few years later the company was renamed to Maybach-Motorenbau GmbH (“Maybach Engine Construction Company”), which originally developed and manufactured diesel and petrol engines for Zeppelins, and then rail cars. The Maybach Mb.IVa was used in aircraft and airships of World War I.
The company first built an experimental car in 1919, with the first production model introduced two years later at the Berlin Motor Show. Between 1921 and 1940, the company produced various classic opulent vehicles. The company also continued to build heavy duty diesel engines for marine and rail purposes. During the second world war, Maybach produced the engines for Germany’s medium and heavy tanks. The company was renamed MTU Friedrichshafen in the 1960s.
MTU derives from Motoren- und Turbinen-Union meaning “Motor (Engine) and Turbine Union”.
MTU Friedrichshafen remained a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler until 2006 when it was sold off to the EQT IV private equity fund, becoming a part of the Tognum Corporation.
The company manufactures diesel engines for trains, ships, oil and gas installations, military vehicles, agriculture, mining and construction equipment, as well as diesel generators and very new Molten carbonate fuel cells.
In March 2011, it was announced that Rolls-Royce Holdings and Daimler AG were launching a takeover for Tognum. The acquisition of Tognum by the two companies was completed in September 2011.
On 9 January 2014, Tognum was renamed Rolls-Royce Power Systems. The decision was made to reflect the industrial ties to Daimler AG and Rolls-Royce Holdings for the large engines, propulsion systems and distributed energy systems.