About MZ - MZ Zschopau

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MZ was a German motorcycle manufacturer located in Zschopau, Saxony, Germany. 

The acronym MZ stood since 2009 for Motorenwerke Zschopau GmbH (German for Zschopau engine factory). From 1999 to 2009 Motorradwerk Zschopau (German for Zschopau motorcycle factory). And from 1992 to 1999 the company was called MuZ, an acronym for Motorrad und Zweiradwerk (German for motorcycle and two-wheeler factory).
  • 1906 Jørgen Skafte Rasmussen (Denmark) buys an empty cloth factory in Zschopau
  • 1917 Rasmussen invents the steam-powered car (Dampf-Kraft-Wagen), also known by its trademark DKW
  • 1920 Release of the motor-assisted bicycle.
  • 1923 Company is renamed DKW
  • 1927 Company starts racing activities
  • 1928 DKW takes over the Audi factory at Zwickau
  • 1929 60,000 motorcycles leave the Zschopau factory, and DKW is the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world
  • 1931 Introduction of DKW small cars
  • 1932 The Auto Union is formed from Audi, Horch, Wanderer and DKW.
  • 1939 RT 125 is developed
  • 1948 Now owned by the East German state, company is renamed Industrieverband Fahrzeugbau (IFA), a Communist-controlled umbrella foundation
  • 1950 The Zschopau works begin production of the RT 125 model, developed before the war, under the trademark IFA (Industrieverband Fahrzeugbau). This model had become patent-free after World War II as part of war reparations and was further developed in Britain (BSA Bantam), USA (Harley-Davidson Hummer), Russia (M-1A Moskva), Japan, Italy and West Germany.
  • 1952 The BK350 appears, the first two-stroke shaft drive.
  • 1956 The works is now called VEB Motorradwerk Zschopau, or MZ for short.
  • 1962 Manufacture of the ES 125/ES 150 begins. This was the first motorcycle with an asymmetric low beam headlight pattern.
  • 1970 The millionth motorcycle rolls off the conveyor belt, an MZ ETS 250 Trophy Sport
  • 1972 MZ takes over manufacture of sidecars from Stoye.
  • 1983 The two millionth motorcycle rolls off the conveyor belt, this time an MZ ETZ 250. With disk brakes and 12-volt electrics the MZ had reached the modern standard in motorcycle design.
  • 1989 MZ ceases manufacture of sidecars.
  • 1990 MZ is privatised on 18 December.
  • 1993 MZ enters receivership, and the ETZ patent is sold to the Turkish firm Kanuni, which continued producing models 251 and 301. The MuZ company is formed from the remnant.
  • 1996 MuZ is bought by the Malaysian corporation Hong Leong Group
  • 1999 The u is dropped from the name MuZ.
  • 2008 – On 9 June, Motor Cycle News reports that MZ is to cease operations at the end of 2008 because the company's Malaysian backers had withdrawn their financial support after years of continuing losses.
  • 2008 – On 12 December, the MZ factory in Zschopau closes, halting motorcycle production that had lasted 88 years in the same town. The old 'East German' factory had become a night club, called MZWerk in 1992. the production had moved to Hohndorf since 1995.
  • 2009 – Former Grand Prix stars Ralf Waldmann and Martin Wimmer together with his wife Dr. Martina Haeger buy the MZ motorcycle brand and found Motorenwerke Zschopau GmbH. The asset deal goes through on 23 March 2009 for a reported four million euros. The cash is put up Dr. Martina Häger 90% and Ralf Waldmann 10%. The new board consists of Martin Wimmer, Dr Martina Haeger, Ralph Waldmann, Helmut Lichtenberg and Otto Elbers. Wimmer takes the role of MZ Managing Director. As the companies financing for starting a production is not yet secured, the State of Saxony through the Minister of Finance, Prof. Dr. Georg Unland, committs to a local state bank guarantee in August 2009. The business plan consisted of building bicycles, 125 cc motorcycles as well as developing block heating cogeneration stations of different sizes. There where plans that the firm is going to produce a 600 cc road bike based on the Moto2 GP project bike.
  • 2011 – It took two years until the local state bank guarantee was handed out in connection with the financing bank, Merkur Bank of Munich, Geemany. Also investor Peter Ertel, a company shareholder since 2010, pays out Dr. Martina Haeger and Ralf Waldmann in July 2011. He becomes the main shareholder of Motorenwerke Zschopau GmbH.
  • 2012 – In February 2012, the company gets into financial troubles as two customers don't pay their bills totalling 530,000 euros. In addition, the company Clean Mobile AG, Munich, a supplier for the electric drive units of the E-bike production has to declare insolvency. One of the customers of MZ also does not pay his bills with them. The complete production of E-bike comes to a stop. In August 2012, MZ CEO Wimmer gets a loan offer from Merkur Bank based on the companies cash deposit at the bank. He had found a new investor to overcome the companies difficulties and needed to bridge the time until the investment could be closed. Unforeseeable, beginning of September 2012, Merkur Bank withdrew their loan offer. According to German law, Wimmer was forced to file for insolvency proceedings according to German law on September 7, 2012. This despite the fact, that the company had enough assets to continue business. At a meeting held on September 21, 2014 including all creditors and employees, Wimmer gets their consent and extension agreements to continue to run the company, only Merkur Bank want to have an internal meeting on September 24, 2012 before their decision. In the afternoon of September 24, 2012 they withdrew their support. On September 28, 2012 insolvency lawyer Junker gets appointed and thus Wimmer gets detracted to run the company. Nevertheless he convinces Junker to have Motorenwerke Zschopau GmbH present all their products on the worlds biggest motorcycle show, Intermot in Cologne starting on October 2. Everything had been prepared including the launch of the worlds first motorcycle with a variable valvelift and valve timing cylinder head, the MZ RT 125. Motorcycle News reports about the revolutionary engine. After the show, starting October 6, 2012, Wimmer tries to save the company by finding investors to get rid of Junker. In a letter to the Merkur Bank dated October 12 the funds deposited are requested to be paid out. Merkur Bank withheld the funds and refused to pay them out. On November 5, 2012, the insolvency proceedings became irrevocable by a court decision. On November 19, 2012 Merkur Bank now do pay out the funds requested before, but meanwhile they own all assets of Motorenwerke Zschopau GmbH as they had been given as guarantee for their bank credits.
  • 2013 In January Investor Peter Ertel sues Merkur Bank. In April Merkur Bank countersues Ertel and includes Wimmer. In June Wimmer countersues Merkur Bank for the loss of his shares in Motorenwerke Zschopau GmbH. The case is still ongoing under the file reference 3O 565/13 before the Landgericht Munich I, the local court in Munich, Germany. The insolvency lawyer Junker does not find any successors for Wimmer and Ertel and declares that he is unable to continue to run Motorenwerke Zschopau GmbH on April 30, 2013. On May 17, MZ is declared insolvent and unable to be continued.

The Zschopau works was one of the oldest motorcycle factories in the world, producing motorcycles since 1922. They were the first company to develop the two-stroke engine for vehicles and were the leader in two-stroke development world wide. Rasmussen had begun the motorcycle production under the brand name DKW. Later he also started the car company DKW cars. In the world economic crises of 1929, four local car manufacturers under the leadership of Rasmussen's DKW founded Auto Union, nowadays known as Audi AG car manufacturer. The best known models from Zschopau later were the two-stroke 125/150 and 250 series, with the variants ES, ETS, TS and ETZ. In the 1950s, MZ was the world leader in two-stroke engines. Especially through the work of their racing engineer and department leader Walter Kaaden their engines became nearly unbeatable and in 1961 they nearly won the world championships in the 125 cc class against Soichiro Honda's four-stroke engines. The championship was lost through one of the biggest spy scandals in motorcycle history. The factory rider Ernst Degner fled from East Germany and brought all their knowledge to Suzuki. Walter Kaaden's secret was stolen. He had developed the two-stroke exhaust pipe, known as expansion chamber. In 1962, with his stolen knowledge that he brought to Suzuki he won the first world title for the Japanese manufacturer. The British author Mat Oxley wrote a book about this scandal: Steeling Speed. Later MZ was one of the few producers that made motorcycles with sidecars, though prior to 1972 sidecars were manufactured by Stoye. A later version named the MuZ Voyager was an Austrian 500 cc, four-valve, rotax-equipped, retro-styled standard, custom-painted to match the model #562 sidecar made by Velorex of Czechoslovakia. However, a cease and desist order was issued in the early 1990s by Kawasaki, who owned the rights to that name, and MuZ subsequently renamed the motorcycle the Silverstar, and the sidecar-equipped version the Silverstar Gespann. Only after Hong Leong Group took over the lead of MZ Motorrad und Zweiradwerke GmbH the funding was secured to invest in the development of new engines and motorcycles. They developed with the German MZ engineers the models MZ 1000s and MZ RT 125 (with a four-stroke engine) and as a successor model to one of the most famous and copied motorcycle models in the world, the MZ RT125.

Model Overview
  • Model RT 125, 1950–1965
    • 1950–1954 IFA RT 125
    • 1954–1956 IFA RT 125/1
    • 1956–1959 RT 125/2
    • 1959–1962 125/3
    • 1964–1965 125/4
  • Model BK 350, 1952–1959
    • 1952–1956 IFA BK 350
    • 1956–1959 BK 350
  • Model ES, 1956–1978
    • 1956–1957 ES250 Doppelport
    • 1957–1962 ES 250
    • 1957–1962 ES 175
    • 1962–1967 ES 250/1
    • 1962–1967 ES 175/1
    • 1962–1965 ES 300
    • 1967–1969 ES 250/2
    • 1969–1973 ES 250/2 Trophy
    • 1967–1969 ES 175/2
    • 1969–1972 ES 175/2 Trophy
    • 1962–1969 ES 125
    • 1962–1969 ES 150
    • 1969–1977 ES 125/1
    • 1969–1977 ES 150/1
  • Model ETS, 1969–1973
    • 1969–1973 ETS 250
    • 1970–1973 ETS 125/150
  • Model TS, 1973–1985
    • 1973–1976 TS 250
    • 1976–1981 TS 250/1
    • 1973–1985 TS 125/150
  • Model ETZ, 1981–1991
    • 1981–1989 ETZ 250
    • 1985–1990 ETZ 125/150
    • 1988–1991 ETZ 251/301
  • 1991–1998 Saxon Tour/Fun/Country
  • 1993–1998 Silver Star
  • 1993–1998 Saxon Sportstar/Roadstar
  • 1994–2004 Skorpion
  • 1997–2008 Baghira Enduro/Streetmoto
  • 1997–2005 Mastiff
  • 2000–2008 RT 125
  • 2001–2008 SX/SM 125
  • 2003–2008 1000 S/ST/SF
  • 1994/2009–2012 Charly (scooter)
  • 2010–2012 Charly EVO (scooter)
  • 2010–2012 Emmely (scooter)
  • 2010–2012 Anthony (scooter)
  • 2010–2013 MZ Bike Bicycle

Source: Wikipedia

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