The Dethleffs company originated from a business making whips and ski poles based in Germany. In 1931 Arist Dethleffs designed and built his first recreational vehicle in order to take his family with him on business trips. Arist Dethleffs named his creation “Wohnauto”. He is quoted as saying “Not without my family” and family fun and comfort remain an important feature of the Dethleffs’ philosophy today. In the years that followed the building of the Wohnauto more caravans were built to order in a humble wooden shed.
By 1956 Dethleffs Wohnauto had begun the serial production of caravans and had won many international industry awards. In 1961 they established the first production line for manufacturing caravans. At this point Dethleffs concentrated on just one model; the Camper. By the 1970s the range of models had increased to five different types. The Camper model was still a very successful product and now it was joined by the Tourist, the Comfort and the Globetrotter. To deal with the increased demand for their products Dethleffs built a new factory on the outskirts of Isny in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, with a manufacturing area of 12.000 sqm and a modern offices. They now employed a workforce of 235 people.
Dethleffs built their first motorhome in 1983. They were the first manufacturer of leisure vehicles in Germany to use the Fiat Ducato chassis for their coachbuilt motorhomes. Dethleffs continually looked for innovation in their products. The Dethleffs CD motorhome pioneered the use of low profile plastic sandwich construction. The A Class range was introduced in 1989. The company continued to expand in the 1990s and in the first decade of the 21st century, with excellent product turnover and record sales. Dethleffs recreational vehicles continue to win many industry awards and they are an acknowledged market leader in Europe.