30 years of KW – from a one-man business to a global entrepreneurial group

If you are a long-time reader of MotoIQ, you know we partner with KW Suspension in many of our internal projects and much of the Motorsports stuff that we are involved with as well.  Now join us in celebrating KW’s 30th anniversary and get to know some of KW’s interesting history as well!

In May 1992, Klaus Wohlfarth created the foundation for an impressive success story by starting his retail business KW Tuning in a converted house. Today three decades later, the retailer of sporty car tuning and accessories has become a world-renowned manufacturer in the segment for coilovers, motorsport dampers, and alloy wheels. The heart of the KW automotive group is the Fichtenberg-based suspension manufacturer KW automotive, which Klaus Wohlfarth, together with his brother Jürgen Wohlfarth and many dedicated employees, has turned into the global market leader for individual suspension. The owner-managed KW automotive Group employs 1,200 people worldwide, of which 360 are active in the home base at Fichtenberg. In addition to the alloy wheel manufacturer BBS, the KW automotive Group also includes the offroad and rally suspension manufacturer Reiger Suspension, the shock absorber division of the technology group AL-KO, and other company-owned suspension and SimRacing brands. More atwww.kwsuspensions.net

Inspired by seeing a problem more as a challenge and mastering this challenge successfully is what drives entrepreneur Klaus Wohlfarth and founder of KW automotive every day. In May 2022, it’s the 30th anniversary of the founding of the retail store “KW Tuning” in his early 20s in his hometown of Murrhardt. Three decades later, the retailer has become a global company with 13 sites and 1,200 employees, whose innovative products are appreciated by car manufacturers, motorsport teams, and car enthusiasts worldwide. “At the time, the products that customers wanted didn’t exist, so we started developing our own coilover suspension,” Klaus Wohlfarth recalls of his early days as an entrepreneur. The introduced KW Coilover kit was a milestone at the Essen Motor Show in 1995.

Globally positioned, regionally anchored

With his own roots in motorsports and always focusing on individual customer benefits, Klaus Wohlfarth and his companions continued to optimize and improve the coilover suspension product. Over the past 30 years, the suspension manufacturer, which changed its name to KW automotive GmbH in 1998, has developed numerous innovations. Well known KW developments include rear axle spring perches that can be adjusted in height, valve technologies that can be separately adjusted in damper characteristics, the production of stainless steel struts, hydraulic lift systems, the use of composite materials for spring perches, smartphone apps for chassis control and many more ensured that the coilover manufacturer led by the two brothers Klaus and Jürgen Wohlfarth became the market leader for individual suspension systems. But throughout the many years, it’s not just car enthusiasts that become customers.

For instance, Mercedes-Benz was the first car manufacturer to commission KW automotive to equip selected production models such as the Mercedes SLK 55 AMG Black Series with a coilover suspension with separately adjustable compression and rebound damping. “But it didn’t stop with AMG,” Klaus Wohlfarth continues. Today, KW automotive supplies both on-road and racing cars and often even both for Audi, BMW, Ford, Mercedes, Porsche and other car manufacturers. KW automotive not only manufactures suspensions but also supports the automotive industry, including smaller manufacturers and tuners, in the design and development of suspensions. “We deliver to business customers who have since become friends and whose cars I used to have posters of in my room. Our industrial customers also include new manufacturers such as Rimac Automobili, whose 1900-hp Nevera electric hypercar we equip from the factory with our adaptive suspension technology. In today’s motorsport, there is hardly a championship where our brands are not involved.”

1 comment

  1. That was a great summary of KW’s achievements, and a nice little video tribute congratulating KW on 30 years of innovative business, and thanking them for their support.

    In two weeks time, there are going to be quite a few race cars running KW dampers competing in a little event near the town of Nurburg 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *