Industriewerke Ludwigsfelde is an automotive factory in Ludwigsfelde in Brandenburg, just south of Berlin in Germany. The factory is part of Daimler-Benz AG and since 1991 it has made Mercedes-Benz vans.
From 1947 IFA concentrated production of large trucks at the former Horch factory in Zwickau in Saxony. In 1958 VEB Waggonfabrik Werdau at Werdau in Saxony (the former Waggonfabrik Schumann) took over as the main IFA truck factory, leaving the VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau to expand production of the new Trabant small car. In 1966 truck production was moved again, from Werdau to IWL at Ludwigsfelde.
In 1962 Werdau was developing a new cab over five-tonne truck, the IFA W 50, expecting to put it into production in the last quarter of 1964. W stands for "Werdau" and 50 represents "five tonnes". However, on 21 December 1962 the Ministerrat der DDR decided that the VEB Industriewerke Ludwigsfelde would build the W 50 instead. One of the reasons for this decision was the cancellation of Dresden 152 airliner production in February 1961, which had caused the end of Pirna 014 jet engine production at Ludwigsfelde (see above).
Construction of a new truck factory at Ludwigsfelde began in April 1963.
IWL completed the first W 50 truck on 17 July 1965.
IWL was working on the development of future truck models, but in August 1969 it had to stop such work to devote the entire capacity of its development and construction offices to tackle them.IWL's efforts to develop new trucks were divided again in 1971, when the most urgent needs were to improve the W 50 with a new cab, new 180 bhp engine and better chassis.
A high proportion of IWL trucks was exported.
The DDR needed export orders from countries outside the Comecon bloc, and for this IWL continued to develop variants of the W 50.
As a result of the 1980–88 Iran–Iraq War, both Iran and Iraq sought a simple, robust, inexpensive truck for their armies. The DDR was interested in supplying both sides in the war, so in March 1982 IWL began development of two derivative models, the IFA W 51 and W 52. The W 51 was meant to enter production in 1983, followed by the W 52 two years later. Part of the W 51 project was realised, but the W 52 was overtaken by an SED Politburo decision in June 1983 to instruct IWL to concentrate on W 50 assembly and gradually displace it with its intended next-generation successor, the L 60.
From 1967 IWL was planning a range of new trucks with sizes of three, five, six and 10 tonnes. Two prototypes were built: a three-tonne truck code-numbered 1013 followed by an 11-tonne one code-numbered 1118.
In the first quarter of 1970 development work resumed with two new prototypes, one each of the 1013 and 1118. Considerable capacity at IWL continued to be taken up with looking after the W 50, but development of the 1118 slowly continued.
The 1118 became the IFA L 60, and development intensified from 1974. In 1978 the DDR made an agreement with Volvo Trucks to use a Volvo cab on an L 60 prototype. Within two years this resulted in a contract to make Volvo cabs under licet at Ludwigsfelde. The contract would include IWL supplying cab shells to the Volvo truck plant at Ghent in Belgium and also allowed IWL to supply cabs to VEB Robur -Werke Zittau in Saxony, which made smaller trucks ranging from about 1.5 to 3.5 tonnes.
When the preparatory work for the new assembly hall at Ludwigsfelde was well advanced, Volvo tripled the price. In 1980 the Ministerrat der DDR cancelled the agreement and ordered that series production of the L 60 was to go ahead without the Volvo cab. IWL accordingly started development of a new cab, the 6400, both for the W 60 and to supply to Robur.
In 1984 IWL again reached agreement to give the L 60 a foreign cab, this time from Steyr in Austria. However, three years later the DDR could not meet Steyr's asking price for the design and the necessary production tools. Instead the L 60 was given a cab based on that of the W 50, but able to be tilted forward for access to the engine.
After the W 51 and W 52 projects were discontinued in June 1983, the L 60 programme was adapted to the needs of Iran and Iraq. The payload was increased to at least six tonnes and power output was increased to a range from 125 to 180 bhp.
The L 60 was finally unveiled to the public at the Autumn Leipzig Trade Fair in September 1986 and its series production began at Ludwigsfelde in June 1987. L 60 development had started by 1967 so the model arguably reached the market about 15 years late, and its cab derived from that of the W 50 made it look even more out of date. L 60 sales did grow each year, and in 1989 they peaked at 8,081 vehicles for that year.
Potential customers within the DDR were deterred not by its appearance but by its price, which was almost double that of the W 50. As a result, IWL kept the W 50 in production alongside the L 60 until 1990.