The CMW Group is a large, multinational manufacturing conglomerate headquartered jointly in Koblenz, Germany and Hamilton, Canada. Caan Motoren Werke, named after the tiny village of Caan, was founded in 1921 by Klaus Mauer, Ulrich Wirth and Wilhelm Eberhart, three aeronautical engineers who found themselves out of work following the Treaty of Versailles. CMW found success early on designing and building aircraft engines, but they found themselves struggling to make ends meet in the heavily restricted aviation industry and crippled economy of interwar Germany. It was decided, in 1926, that Mauer and Wirth would move to Canada to establish a foothold in the booming aviation industry in North America.
Back in Germany, CMW continued on with engine and airframe design, but also began to branch out into cars and motorcycles, finding success almost immediately with the 1927 Eberhart-CMW S50, A small, four-seat family car that proved to be functional, practical and relatively fun to drive all at the same time. In Canada, CMW had made a name for themselves virtually overnight, winning the Bendix Cup air race in 1931, and successfully defended their title five of the next six years. A string of high-performance transport and fighter aircraft followed, pushing aircraft performance ever further with each subsequent design.
In 1933, Eberhart, a staunch progressive, found himself on the wrong side of the new regime, and spent the next eighteen months surreptitiously winding up the company’s operations in Germany. Sending key personnel and equipment to Canada, CMW’s operations would continue solely in Canada until 1946, when they were requested by the British and French governments to return to Germany. In a rather cagey move, CMW began hiring large numbers of engineers in Germany, now out of work following the war, and put them to use developing new cars and aircraft, with limited automotive production resuming in 1949 in Germany. This decision to return to Germany set the precedent for the advanced technologies that put CMW on the map, and set the tone for the company’s culture going forward.
Today, the CMW Group continues to be at the forefront of the automotive and aviation industries, with wide-ranging holdings that cover virtually the entire transportation sector:
- CMW Auto: German-based full-range automobile manufacturer
- Scagliati Motori SpA: Italian-based manufacturer of luxury and supercars, acquired by CMW Group in 1986
- FABEL: Belgian-based manufacturer of mass-market automobiles; minority stake acquired in 1966, full ownership in 1975
The CMW Group’s other business units include:
- CMW-HiTrans: Manufacturer of commercial, military and off-highway vehicles
- CMW Schwerindustrie: Shipbuilder and marine vessel drive manufacturer
- CMW Ferrovia: Manufacturer of electric and diesel rail locomotives, rolling stock
- CMW Aero: Manufacturer of aircraft piston and gas turbine engines, rocket engines
- AAI: Diversified civil and military aircraft manufacturer