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Iconic Wheel Maker BBS Has Filed For Bankruptcy

From a statement posted today iconic wheel maker BBS GmbH has filed for bankruptcy. Makers of the legendary gold honeycomb wheels and supplied to many a carmaker enters bankruptcy protection for the second time. Yes, this isn’t it’s first go-round with BK. BBS went through restructuring once before in 2007.

The site says this was a “necessary step to prevent an imminent insolvency within the coming months due to the sudden omission of confirmed payments.” Of course, this stems mostly from the “tough market environment” as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Both of the BBS manufacturing plants were temporarily shut down for three months earlier this year.

BBS was in the middle of “an extensive turnaround strategy”

BBS was in the middle of “an extensive turnaround strategy for the whole company” which it plans on continuing to follow. We don’t know whether this refers to the restructuring that occurred after the 2011 bankruptcy or was a more recent development. In any event, it has been assigned two insolvency administrators to help it weather the current crisis.

BBS was started in 1970 in Schiltach, Germany, by amateur racers Heinrich Baumgartner and Klaus Brand; hence the name Baumgartner, Brand, Schiltach. In 1972 it debuted its iconic gold honeycomb three-piece racing wheels. Their unique design meant reduced weight which all racers look for. That design and variants continue to be seen today both in racing and on the highway.

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In 2015 BBS was taken over by Korean investment group NICE Holdings

Soon after, it made aftermarket versions which sold millions and allowed the company to go public by 1980. After insolvency in 2007, an investor shuffle resulted in the company becoming BBS GmbH in 2012. In 2015 BBS was taken over by the Korean investment group NICE Holdings. 

Today it manufactures wheels for both OEMs and the aftermarket, but also continues to supply major motorsports series. It supplies wheels to many racin groups including Formula 1. It is scheduled to supply the new 18-inch center-locking wheels set to debut in NASCAR Next Gen race cars in the near future. That was to already have happened but the coronavirus crisis has pushed implementation off. 

In 1994 alone BBS was on world championship winners of IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula 1, and DTM

BBS has been a worldwide OEM partner to the likes of Porsche, Ferrari, BMW, and Audi. In 1994 alone it was found on the world championship winners of IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula 1, and DTM. In 2004 it featured Air Inside Technology with a hollow chamber inside of the centers of the wheels reducing unsprung weight even more than previous BBS wheels. By 2006 BBS wheels were on the winners of 26 racing titles worldwide. The company has also won many innovations and best product awards for decades.  

BBS says it will continue to produce wheels for its many OEM customers through this latest insolvency. In its statement, BBS says, “Times of change lies ahead but together we will release the energy and strength which will be needed to preserve the legendary BBS brand and secure its future.”