Automobiles and airplanes are more closely related than it would appear at first. As early as 1888, Gottlieb Daimler had supplied the engine for an airship owned by Leipzig-based bookseller Friedrich Hermann Wölfert. Both Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) and Benz & Cie. started developing engines specifically for aircraft even before World War I. During the course of the war, it became apparent that the engines did not supply sufficient power at high altitude due to the low air density. DMG solved this problem by developing the supercharger, which compressed the intake air, thus compensating for power loss.
The company of course reasoned that whatever is good for the aircraft must be good for the automobile as well and after World War I, DMG also developed supercharged engines to boost the performance of automobiles. However, DMG and Benz & Cie., which merged to form Daimler-Benz AG in 1926, did not just want to provide vehicle owners with greater performance. They also knew that fuel efficiency was important and Daimler-Benz thus became a pioneer in the field of diesel technology.