The rise from exporter to manufacturer
Since its foundation by Wulf Gaertner in 1958 quite a few things have changed. Starting out as a small exporting and trading firm for original equipment spare parts it has grown to become a leading engineering and manufacturing company of brand-name products. From a limited liability company it became a listed public company. And the former 2-man business today provides a livelihood for 430 people at its Hamburg headquarters.
The company history highlights the milestones in the development of Wulf Gaertner Autoparts AG from its foundation in the 1950s to the present day.
In the 1950s, the trained export merchant and enthusiastic amateur racer Wulf Gaertner spent a number of years in South America. The immense demand for German motor vehicle spare parts in these markets nourished a business idea which he turned into practice upon his return to Germany: on July 11th 1958 he founded the export company Wulf Gaertner specialising in the export of genuine spare parts for German vehicle makes to Latin American markets.
Foundation of the US partner company
Thanks to Wulf Gaertner’s excellent relations with the German automotive supply industry, his company quickly evolved into a globally operating exporting and trading company for automotive spare parts. Starting from Central and South America Wulf Gaertner soon gained a foothold on the North American market with the foundation of the Interamerican Motor Corporation (IMC) in 1962.
Foundation of Wulf Gaertner Asia
The sales network of Wulf Gaertner GmbH expanded steadily to over more than 100 countries. Offices were established in Singapore (1977), Malaysia (1993) and Thailand (2000). These also operate as representations of reputable European manufacturers.
Takeover of the MEYLE brand
As more and more companies of the automotive industry chose to manage the export of their products on their own, Wulf Gaertner GmbH decided to forge new paths and in 1995 took over the MEYLE spare parts brand. In so doing Wulf Gaertner has become an engineering and manufacturing company of brand-name products. Also in 1995, the company founder’s nephew Dr. Karl J. Gaertner was appointed CEO.
New head offices at Merkurring
In 1997 Wulf Gaertner GmbH moved to its new head offices in Hamburg-Rahlstadt. The new headquarters for the first time united warehouse and offices in a single building complex. Over the coming years the building is to be enlarged four times with the latest expansion in 2013 increasing floor space to 29,000 sqm.
Company renamed Wulf Gaertner Autoparts AG
Wulf Gaertner GmbH became a private unlisted company and changed its name to Wulf Gaertner Autoparts AG. Dr. Karl J. Gaertner was appointed CEO of the family business and became the successor to the company founder.
Kick-off of the MEYLE HD range
The MEYLE brand debuts with the first optimised vehicle spare parts under the name MEYLE HD parts. The parts which are clearly superior to original equipment components thanks to technical improvements raise the global profile of Wulf Gaertner Autoparts AG and are the flagship products of the MEYLE brand.
Death of the founder Wulf Gaertner
In October, company founder Wulf Gaertner died at the age of 76. As Chairman of the Board he always took an active interest and part in the development of the company.
Foundation of a partner company in Spain
In 2005, Wulf Gaertner Autoparts AG and a Spanish partner company founded a company to exclusively represent the MEYLE brand on the Spanish market.
Jubilee: Wulf Gaertner Autoparts celebrates 50 years in the business
2008 marked the company's 50th anniversary. We celebrated half a century of success and steady growth in the company’s business dealings. Because who, except perhaps the founder, would have anticipated 50 years ago the thriving development of the company.
Foundation of the UK partner company
In 2009 another local representation is founded – this time with a British partner company in the UK. Thanks to the local sales team and warehouse the UK market can now be targeted and supplied even better.
Foundation of the France partner company
Wulf Gaertner Autoparts AG consistently pursues its strategy of being close to the market. Beginning of 2010 the subsidiary MEYLE France was established in Toulouse following MEYCAR Spain in 2005 and MEYLE UK in 2009. The new office provides the company with valuable support in setting up a local sales network and promoting the MEYLE brand name in France. For the second time St. Gallen University has awarded Wulf Gaertner Autoparts AG the Top Job quality seal, thereby recognizing the company as one of Germany’s best 100 SME employers.
Marita Schwartze appointed to the Board
The appointment formalises Marita Schwartze's role alongside Dr. Karl J. Gaertner. As a member of the corporate management and Head of HR it is much to her credit that Wulf Gaertner Autoparts AG has become one of the most successful aftermarket enterprises. Marita Schwartze has been working for the company for more than 30 years.
Foundation of a partner company in China
At the beginning of 2012, Wulf Gaertner Autoparts AG's Shanghai (China) office has started commercial operations. On approximately 3,800 square metres the subsidiary, located in the western part of Shanghai, provides ample space for over 2,000 pallet slots and an in-house quality laboratory similar to that at the company's Hamburg headquarters.
This year also sees the "Top Job" quality seal awarded again to Wulf Gaertner Autoparts, recognising the company as one of Germany's most sought-after SME employers for the third subsequent year.
New warehouse put into operation
To be able to further grow its product range and meet the demands of new international markets Wulf Gaertner Autoparts has been expanding its central warehouse by over 12,000 sqm to now cover 29,000 sqm. Completion of the construction project at the end of 2013 increased the company's overall storage capacity to 56,000 pallet slots.
Besides new storage facilities the extension accommodates new offices, a modern staff restaurant and a state-of-the-art training centre. In total, the family-run company will be investing around 40 million euros at its Hamburg base in 2013 and subsequent years.
Wulf Gaertner Autoparts AG and its MEYLE brand is an owner-operated, medium-sized, unlisted business on the independent aftermarket. The range of 23,000 top-grade automotive spare parts featuring optimised MEYLE HD parts is available in 120 countries across all continents. At our Hamburg head offices 430 employees are committed to promoting the success of the company. Together with our offices and partner companies around the world we employ 1,000 people.