After working as a scientific assistant at the Stuttgart Technical University, Werner Breitschwerdt joined Daimler-Benz AG in April 1953. In 1973, he was appointed Director Passenger Car Bodies, and in early 1977, member of the Board of Management.
He took over the Research and Development division, and in the years following decisively shaped the further development of vehicle safety and occupant protection. In 1983, Breitschwerdt became Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler-Benz AG. During his term of office, the worldwide sales of the Group increased by more than 60 percent, while consolidated net income rose by almost 80 percent to around DM 1.7 billion. At the same time, some 16,000 new jobs were created at Daimler-Benz AG. The name of Werner Breitschwerdt is closely linked with several Mercedes-Benz model series. However, Breitschwerdt’s greatest achievement was the 190 (W 201), which in 1982 transferred Mercedes-Benz values such as safety, comfort and longevity to the compact car category. The first outing into this market segment was a complete success, and at the same time the first step towards the systematic strategic model initiative of the 1990s. On 1 September 1987, Breitschwerdt stepped down from his office as Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler-Benz AG and in 1988 became a member of the Supervisory Board. Breitschwerdt is holder of the Grand Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, and was inducted into the European Automotive Hall of Fame in Geneva in 2009.