AWO / Simson (Suhl)
From 1952 into the 1990's, AWO also known as Simson (Suhl), was a German based motorcycle manufacturer. Simson (Suhl) also made luxury automobiles and it was not until the second world war, that the Russians took over the plant to produce weapons that the name was changed to Awto Welo or AWO for short, which simply means a car company.
AWO started off with a 250cc 4 stroke motorcycle in 1952 and continued to produce motorcycles with bird names until the fall of the Berlin wall in the 90's, which also brought around the fall of AWO.
Löb and Moses Simson, the founders of AWO and also brothers, used the factory floor to build guns and gun barrels through the war. After the war they moved on to bicycles and with the recent addition of steam engines in the area, they started production on cars.
The Simson brothers were Jewish and due to Hitler's Nazi Regime, they were forced to flee Germany, giving way to a trustee ownership called Berlin Suhler Waffen- und Fahrzeugwerk or BSW for short.
AWO was then forced to produce weapons for the Nazi Regime under the name Gustloff-Werke - Waffenwerk Suhl in 1939 and then in 1946, due to the reparation program, part of the AWO plant was moved to the USSR where it was again renamed as SAG Awtowelo.
In 1952 Russia returned the plant to the Simson brothers where it was once again renamed as VEB Fahrzeug- und Gerätewerk Simson Suhl.
From this point forward, AWO produced sporting guns, cars and motorcycle. Having produced over 300,000 shaft driven AWO 425s, AWO moved into the tricycle and moped production, in which they were, at the time producing over 200,000 a year, until after the fall of the Berlin wall.
Due to the political changes in Germany at the time, AWO attempted to upgrade their assembly lines, but were unsuccessful and had to stop production. They closed their doors in 2002.
AWO has become a cult status, similar to the Volkswagen Beatle, throughout most of Germany and Europe. Of these cults, the AWO Schwalbe and Star, have managed to be the most popular.
Original Authors: Nicholas
Edit Update Authors: RPN
Updated On: 11/06/2007