VDO was founded by Adolf Schindling and the result of a merger between DEUTA (Deutsche Tachometer-Werke GmbH, English: German Speedometer Works, Ltd.) and OTA Apparate GmbH (Offenbacher Tachometer-Werke GmbH, English: (City of) Offenbach Speedometer Works, Ltd.) in the German city of Frankfurt am Main in 1929. VDO stands for "Vereinigte DEUTA - OTA, English: United DEUTA - OTA."
In 1991, the company was acquired by Mannesmann. In 1999, Mannesmann was itself acquired by Vodafone and VDO was put up for sale. In 2000, the company was acquired by Siemens AG, Germany's biggest engineering company, and re-branded as Siemens VDO.
On 28 August 2007, VDO was acquired by Continental AG for €11.4 billion. The New York Times noted that Continental's move came at a time when the supplier industry in the United States, the biggest auto market in the world, found itself in the worst shape in recent memory.
- Lerner, Franz (1958). Frankfurt am Main und seine Wirtschaft, Wiederaufbu seit 1945. Ammelburg Verlag.
- "Siemens-Mannesmann Link Is Set". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 20 March 2000. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
- Dougherty, Carter (28 August 2007). "Continental sets about integrating Siemens VDO". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 3 January 2013.