Die Geschichte von VDL

Im Jahr 1953 wurde mit der Gründung der Firma „Metaalindustrie en Constructiewerkplaats P. van der Leegte“ der Grundstein für die heutige VDL Groep (Van Der Leegte Groep) gelegt. 
Das Familienunternehmen, dessen Wurzeln im niederländischen Eindhoven liegen, wurde von Pieter van der Leegte sen. gegründet. Die ersten Kunden waren Philips, der frühere Arbeitgeber von Pieter van der Leegte, und DAF Trucks. Die Arbeit der ersten fünf Mitarbeiter bestand aus Drehen, Fräsen und Bohren, aber auch aus Stanzen, Schweißen und Löten, in Serienproduktion. 

From the early 1960s, Pieter van der Leegte started developing his own household products such as washing machines and oil heaters. In 1962 it was decided to move to Hapert following a large order for Honda chain guards. However, the order turned out not to be as large as initially thought. New end products were then launched on the market: stainless steel household items, such as bed jars, egg cups, butter dishes, etc.

The rise of production from the Far East made the production of stainless steel household items in the Netherlands increasingly difficult. That is why the company started to concentrate on supplies again from 1976 onwards.

In 1966, Wim van der Leegte became involved in his father's company as a 19-year-old HTS student. Wim started his practical year and practiced his technical skills on the lathe and deep drawing presses. In the meantime, he kept his eyes open and after six weeks he had a good view of things within the company. Due to various factors, his father Pieter van der Leegte senior became overworked in the summer. As a result, Wim was in charge of the company within three months. Ultimately, Wim took over all of his father's shares in 1972.

Wim van der Leegte als 19-jarige HTS-student
Wim van der Leegte als 19-jarige HTS-student

In 1977, Wim van der Leegte introduced an open consultation structure. The reason for this is to involve its employees in all facets of business operations. By listening carefully and communicating with employees from different departments, they gained insight into business developments. This organizational change ensured that the company was running positively again.

Due to the introduction of the open consultation structure, the company performed so well that Wim van der Leegte looked for a new challenge: taking over poorly performing companies.

In 1979, the first step towards dynamic growth was taken with the first takeover of TIM Hapert, the company of his brother Piet. The name of the company, founded in 1953 by Pieter van der Leegte senior, was changed to VD Leegte Metaal.

Oorspronkelijk was Wim van der Leegte de enige directeur van VDL Groep. Het plotselinge overlijden van zijn broer Piet, had hem overtuigd van de kwetsbaarheid van een onderneming met een éénhoofdige leiding. In het jaar 1984 werd begonnen met de vormen van een directieteam van vier directeuren met Wim van der Leegte als voorzitter. De overige directeuren die de basis van het team vormden waren Lau Pas, Wim Maathuis en Rini Vermeulen.

Naast het formeren van de directie werd er ook een Raad van Commissarissen benoemd met als voorzitter Pieter van der Leegte senior. Helaas overlijdt de grondlegger van VDL Groep op 22 januari 1991. 

In 1993, VDL Groep entered the bus world with the takeover of DAF Bus International. The group continues to grow and two major acquisitions in the bus sector follow. The Berkhof Jonckheere Group was taken over in 1998 and BOVA in 2003.

With the acquisition of Steelweld in 1995, a major step was taken in production automation systems. VDL Steelweld now has branches in six countries worldwide.

In 2006, Philips Enabling Technologies Group was acquired, the largest acquisition in the history of VDL Groep at the time. The circle is complete again; Pieter van der Leegte senior started as a toolmaker at the former Philips Machinefabrieken.

With the takeover of NedCar at the end of 2012, VDL is the only major car manufacturer in the Netherlands. As an independent car manufacturer, VDL Nedcar assembles passenger cars on behalf of third parties.

In January 2016, Wim van der Leegte's children, namely Pieter, Jennifer and Willem, joined the board of directors of VDL Groep as the third generation.

On November 1, 2016, Wim van der Leegte celebrated his 50th anniversary and that was a great moment to hand over the gavel to his youngest son Willem van der Leegte. Wim will remain associated with VDL Groep as a supervisory director.