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Hanomag 1932

Since 1925

DEKRA History

DEKRA test center

The history of DEKRA starts with the automobile: The Deutsche Kraftfahrzeug-Überwachungs-Verein e.V. (German Motor Vehicle Monitoring Association) was founded in 1925 in Berlin. DEKRA has been ensuring safety ever since. At first, attention was focused on technical safety – primarily in the automotive sector. Now, as the largest unlisted expert organization, DEKRA has expanded its activities into many diverse aspects of daily life “on the road, at work, and at home”. In addition to analog functional safety, DEKRA is also fully committed to digital security in a networked world – on five continents. This is because there is no limit to safety. Learn more about the history of DEKRA and the most important milestones of the past years in the interactive timeline.


In 1924, the industrialist Hugo Stinnes develops the idea of a voluntary technical monitoring service for motor vehicles. The idea is realized on June 30, 1925 with the founding of the Deutsche Kraftfahrzeug-Überwachungs-Verein (German Motor Vehicle Monitoring Association) in Berlin. The objective of the association is to support its members, such as freight forwarders, with all the information they need concerning automobiles. Stinnes is not able to see his idea implemented any further – he died in April 1924. DEKRA’s first services include technical tests and advice for members. First appraisals for courts and insurance companies are also drawn up at this early stage.

In 1930, DEKRA is already operating 79 inspection centers and 52 valuation centers to determine the estimated value of vehicles. After the National Socialists come to power in 1933, DEKRA follows a consciously neutral course with regard to the National Socialist state and the Nazi Party under the management of Dr. Kurt Möhring.

From 1937, DEKRA can no longer maintain its neutral course with regard to the National Socialist regime and is forced to organize itself within the state-controlled trade association “Reichsverkehrsgruppe Kraftfahrgewerbe” (Reich Transport Group for the Motor Vehicle Industry). In 1938, Section 29 is introduced in the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations: Registration offices can summon vehicles for testing – especially with regard to their suitability for war.

In World War II, the majority of DEKRA engineers are drafted into the Wehrmacht (German Armed Forces). Starting in 1942, the focal point of orders shifts from vehicle inspection to damage and time estimates.

After World War II, former DEKRA engineers resume the company's work in 1946. Stuttgart becomes the new location of the head office. After the introduction of the main vehicle inspection in 1951, DEKRA seeks recognition as an “other body” (an institution that itself is not an authority in the administrative sense, but is legally authorized to play a part in the implementation of laws and in the provision of public services). This recognition is granted in 1953. Four years later, DEKRA achieves “expanded recognition”, exempting DEKRA members from the obligation to submit to an inspection by an officially recognized expert. With the recognition of DEKRA as a monitoring organization, DEKRA experts have also been officially recognized experts since 1961.

In 1954, DEKRA initiates the “work circle for large fleet owners” to provide more fleet safety and efficiency. In the same year, the DEKRA accident appraisal department starts its work. Experts are able to build upon the expertise from long-standing work in the field of appraisals and valuations of vehicles. In 1956, the DEKRA head office in Stuttgart receives its own administrative building in Heinrich-Baumann-Straße 1-3. A year later and with 60 employees, DEKRA’s sales exceed the one-million mark.

In 1960, a revised version of Section 29 of the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations comes into force: The official inspection sticker to be placed on the license plate is introduced. DEKRA members receive the sticker directly from DEKRA. With the recognition of DEKRA as a monitoring organization, DEKRA experts have also been working as officially recognized experts since 1961, and main vehicle inspections at DEKRA are open to everyone. In 1964, the first IT system, an IBM 421, goes into service at DEKRA.

The press and publicity department is established in 1965 and a year later, publishes the first issue of the employee magazine “oho”. DEKRA driver support has been offering further training for professional drivers since 1967. In 1968, accident appraisals are prepared using IT for the first time. In the same year, DEKRA sales reach 12 million with 355 employees.

As from 1973, the magazine “ATV. Auto, Technik, Verkehr” (car, technology, traffic) provides information to DEKRA members. In the same year, a job description is created for professional drivers and DEKRA begins training drivers. In 1974, the DEKRA Akademie is created in Wart as a training center for the increasing number and range of training and professional development activities. The DEKRA head office in Stuttgart also continues to grow steadily: In 1975, construction work begins on a new main administrative building in Schulze-Delitzsch-Straße in Stuttgart-Vaihingen.

In 1978, the accident research department is established. The work of the experts builds on the accident appraisals and includes a database for evaluating traffic accidents and carrying out crash tests. In 1978, an agreement with BMW allows DEKRA engineers to perform vehicle inspections directly in the automobile manufacturer's contracted workshops. The company's own network of inspection centers is also further expanded: In 1979, DEKRA has 51 inspection centers throughout the Federal Republic of Germany.

In 1980, DEKRA becomes an accredited “inspection center for device safety”. In addition to vehicle inspections, the most important area of work is appraisals. In 1981, DEKRA membership reaches a record high of over 59,000 members. In 1984, DEKRA offers inspection and appraisal services in 10,000 partner workshops. Since 1985, DEKRA experts have also been inspecting the safety of children's playgrounds.

With DEKRA France SAS, DEKRA offers vehicle inspections in a neighboring European country for the first time, starting in 1988. In 1989, DEKRA becomes involved in the German Touring Car Championship and, from the very beginning, DEKRA technical inspectors ensure vehicle safety. In the same year, as a future study, the Eurotruck demonstrates technical possibilities such as distance sensors and travels through Europe as an ambassador for DEKRA. In 1989, with 3,000 employees and 62 branches, DEKRA has annual sales of 441 million Deutschmarks and has grown into a large service company. While still working under the government of East Germany, DEKRA is commissioned to perform the services of the Kraftfahrzeugtechnische Amt (Motor Transport Authority – KTA), including vehicle inspections and driver's license tests.

In 1990, the newly established DEKRA AG takes over the operative business of DEKRA e.V. 27 new DEKRA branches are established in the new German states. A year later, DEKRA ETS expands DEKRA’s portfolio to include quality management, technical safety, material testing, and construction. The crash center in Neumünster offers new opportunities for DEKRA research in the field of road safety. In 1993, DEKRA sponsors Michael Schumacher and the DEKRA logo appears across all media. In the same year, DEKRA Umwelt launches various environmental protection services, such as the measuring of air emissions or advice on occupational safety, and is involved in the privatization of vehicle monitoring in the Czech Republic. A year later, this involvement is supplemented by additional DEKRA investments across Europe in Poland and Russia. In 1994, Group sales are more than one billion Deutschmarks. The main sales drivers are vehicle inspections, appraisals, and training services.

Since 1996, DEKRA services have included the certification of products and quality management systems. Since 1997, DEKRA has been present in Italy and Hungary. In 1998, claims settlement companies that had so far operated independently throughout Europe are combined as part of the DEKRA claims settlement network. By the end of the 1990s, DEKRA companies are present in most EU countries – with vehicle inspections, as well as appraisals, claims settlement, and quality assurance. DEKRA is also active in the future market of the Internet with the FairCar automobile marketplace.

Since 2000, DEKRA Arbeit has been helping companies and employees find each other. DEKRA Industrial is established one year later. On 2003, DEKRA opens its Technology Center at the EuroSpeedway in Lausitz with a state-of-the-art measuring and testing laboratory. In the same year, DEKRA and the German Football Association (DFB) sign an agreement to sponsor referees in the Bundesliga. DEKRA has been sponsoring the Formula 1 racing driver Nico Hülkenberg since 2004.

With the acquisition of NORISKO in 2005, DEKRA expands its industrial inspection services significantly. The magazine for DEKRA members “ATV. Auto, Technik, Verkehr” becomes “trans aktuell”. Since 2007, a new DEKRA seal combines all the existing DEKRA quality marks and has represented a distinctive quality mark since then that is used to distinguish companies and products that verifiably meet defined standards in terms of safety, quality, and sustainability, for example. In 2009, the Brazilian appraisals specialist Volchi is acquired by DEKRA. DEKRA also acquires KEMA Quality with its headquarters in the Netherlands, a global player in product testing and certifications.

In 2010, DEKRA AG takes on the legal form of “Societas Europaea” (SE), which is given to European public companies. One year later, DEKRA opens its Asian headquarters in Shanghai. In 2013, DEKRA expands its vehicle inspection business internationally and acquires shares in the New Zealand market leader Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ). In South Africa, DEKRA boosts its industrial business offering by buying Raysonics, the market leader for non-destructive material testing. In 2014, DEKRA extends its services for the rail sector with the purchase of the Netherlands-based Plurel B.V.

In 2015, DEKRA celebrates its 90th anniversary with a vision for the next ten years to become the global partner for a safe world in the three aspects of life “on the road, at work, and at home”. With the takeover of the QuieTek Corporation in Taipei (Taiwan), DEKRA expands its portfolio in 2015 and strengthens its position as a provider of testing services for electronic products and components. With the takeover, DEKRA completes its range of testing services for wireless communication and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Both are key competencies for the future trends of Industry 4.0 and Automotive 4.0.

In the greater Lisbon area, DEKRA opens the first vehicle inspection station in Portugal in 2016. A year later, a new laboratory for the testing of automotive parts and components is put into operation in Hsinchu (Taiwan). DEKRA signs the purchase contract for the Lausitzring in 2017. Together with the DEKRA Technology Center in Klettwitz, an innovation center for testing the mobility of the future is created there.

In 2018, DEKRA Digital GmbH is established with the goal of developing data-driven business models that will enhance safety through the use of digital technologies in everyday life. In Shanghai, DEKRA opens a laboratory to monitor hazards arising from chemical reactions and the DEKRA test laboratory in Málaga is authorized to provide certification services in the areas of smart home and building automation. At the beginning of 2019, the expert organization DEKRA reorganizes its business: The global range of services is grouped into eight Service Divisions and eight regions. In 2019, DEKRA enters the vehicle inspection market in China and Chile. In the same year, DEKRA is accredited as a calibration laboratory for measuring devices in the automotive engineering sector. By cooperating with Argus Cyber Security, DEKRA strengthens its position in this safety-critical sector. At the same time, DEKRA boosts its commitment to ensuring utmost safety for two-wheeled e-mobility by opening a new testing laboratory at the main Stuttgart site for testing electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). It features testing equipment for e-bike batteries.

At the onset of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, DEKRA expands its leading position in the testing and certification of personal protective equipment. The DEKRA Testing & Certification laboratory in Essen tests surgical masks on the basis of a recognized rapid test. In the same year, DEKRA expands its cybersecurity portfolio to include Internet of Things (IoT) testing equipment in accordance with ioXt Alliance standards. With the completion of its services in noise measurement, DEKRA becomes a Notified Body for the acoustic testing of machinery and equipment at the end of 2020. In 2021, DEKRA audit experts monitor the safety, health and operation of COVID test stations in Baden-Württemberg. In August 2021, DEKRA is recognized as a Technical Service for Cybersecurity and Software Updates in the automotive sector.

In 2022, DEKRA is awarded a platinum medal for the second time in a row by EcoVadis, the most important international sustainability standard in global value chains. Starting in April 2022, DEKRA checks video surveillance for its compliance with the legal requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the German Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG). In July 2022, DEKRA opens the first vehicle inspection station in Spain. Starting in September 2022, DEKRA manages the nationwide vehicle inspection program in Costa Rica. In cooperation with Microsoft, DEKRA advances digital safety in the transport sector and the work environment based on Microsoft Azure Cloud. By the end of 2022, DEKRA offers its corporate customers throughout Germany an internationally patented procedure for checking the battery condition of used electric vehicles.

DEKRA Head Office 2020

The company founded in Berlin as the “Deutsche Kraftfahrzeug-Überwachungs-Verein” (German Motor Vehicle Monitoring Association) on June 30, 1925 is soon referred to simply as “DEKRA” in everyday life, and the first logo with this abbreviation follows quickly. The logo evolves from lettering in a triangle, to a trailblazing road, through to today's trademark with claim. Even though the shape and color varied at the beginning, the logo has been an important distinguishing mark on the path from automotive inspection service provider to becoming one of the world's leading expert organizations. Due to increasing internationalization, a uniform one-brand strategy is being used across the globe; together with the logo, this contributes to a strong brand.

While still working under the government of East Germany, DEKRA is commissioned to perform the services of the Kraftfahrzeugtechnische Amt (Motor Transport Authority) KTA. The KTA employees are taken over by DEKRA and each of the new branches is supported by a West German branch.

After reunification, vehicle monitoring must be ensured nationwide within one year and the East German license plates of all motor vehicles must be replaced within another year. DEKRA is able to accomplish this task thanks to mobile inspection lanes, amongst other things. As early as October 1991, the one millionth inspection sticker in the new German states is issued by DEKRA in Dresden.

In 2003, DEKRA opens the Technology Center in Klettwitz (foreground). The state-of-the-art measuring and testing laboratory combined with the Lausitzring purchased by DEKRA in 2017 creates an innovation center to test the mobility of the future.

Since January 2000, DEKRA Arbeit GmbH has been supporting employees as well as employers with a wide range of modern job and HR solutions. The original basic concept for DEKRA Arbeit was developed at the end of the 20th century: The DEKRA Group was looking for a suitable way to support employees entering or returning to the job market. The intention was also to offer participants of training and professional development activities provided by the Group subsidiary DEKRA Akademie GmbH an effective career stepping stone in this manner.

In January 2000, this idea was put into operation at three recently established sites in Germany. By 2004, the establishment of DEKRA Personaldienste GmbH was followed by an expansion of the portfolio to include HR consulting, and when the first international site was opened in Croatia, DEKRA Arbeit also became an international group. DEKRA Event & Logistic Services GmbH has been expanding its portfolio since 2007. In 2016, the service portfolio was reorganized into the four divisions of Personal Management, Solution Management, Event & Logistic Management, and HR Management, each with numerous subordinate services.