Knaus celebrates 60th anniversary

As he began the first steps his career, little did German inventor and engineer Helmut Knaus know who much he would shape the future of the recreational industry – not just in Germany, but throughout Europe and the World. With a degree in engineering and master builder technology and several major career achievements behind him, Helmut founded Knaus KG in the German town of Marktbriet by the time he was 40 in 1960. Helmut founded the company with his two sons, Helmut and Albert, and immediately began reaping the rewards of Germany’s post-war boom, where many individuals sought to purchase leisure vehicles.

Helmut Knaus.

The company launched the Schwalbennest in 1961 – a move which also coincided with Helmut creating a corporate logo for the company (a pair of sparrows), which still adorns all Knaus caravans and motorhomes made to this day. When the first Caravan Salon trade fair was held in Essen in 1962, Helmut Knaus took it a step further. Along with the Monsun, the launch of the Südwind introduced a further iconic caravan to the market. Today, both are among the best‐selling models of Knaus caravans. Years later, the Schwalbennest experienced a rebirth: In 2011, the recreated caravan based on the original model was built in a limited edition of 150 units as a fitting celebration of 50 years of Knaus.

Südwind caravans coming off the production line in the 1960's.

The company continued to expand throughout the 1960’s, expanding its manufacturing facilities in the towns of Ochsenfurt and Jandelsbrunn. The plant in Jandelsbrunn began operations in 1970 and the company’s growth continued with a series of acquisitions including that of competitors Eifelland and Worlbart.

By the 1990’s Knuas had begun a working cooperation with fellow Germany company Tabbert, which would eventually result in the two companies’ merger to become the Knauss Tabbert Group GmbH by 2002. As a result of the global economic crisis in 2008, the company filed for bankruptcy at the end of that year. However, with strong financial backing, the company restarted its operations in 2009. This was only possible because a shrewd executive team and a prudent worker’s council set the proper course. For example, the employees terminated their employment contracts voluntarily, thus enabling Knaus Tabbert GmbH to start anew.

Knaus has brought many iconic models to the RV industry.

To help celebrate this anniversary, the Knaus team has been touring around Europe – bringing its expertise about caravanning topics, information about the KNAUS brand world as well as an entertainment programme of comedy, live music and culinary delights from the KNAUS home of Lower Bavaria – naturally, all in compliance with the required hygiene measures.