100 years of Pioniergeist.

MAHLE has been keeping people in motion for 100 years

The year is 1920. The Roaring Twenties begin. The start of an exciting decade in which Charles Lindberg flies across the Atlantic, Albert Einstein receives the Nobel Prize, Mahatma Gandhi begins his non-violent protest, Deutsche Luft Hansa AG is founded, and the Nürburgring starts operating. In Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt/Germany, two brothers lay the foundation for a global company: Back in those times, Ernst and Hermann Mahle develop products which become bestsellers and which establish the reputation of today's global corporation as an innovator.

Since then, MAHLE has become one of the 20 largest automotive suppliers worldwide with around 80,000 employees. Today, we are a pioneer for the efficient mobility of tomorrow. Our innovative solutions continue to set new standards in the field of alternative drives and in the optimization of internal combustion engines.

What is our motivation? We want people to get from A to B efficiently and comfortably. Together with industry, politics and society, we work on the major challenges of our time, always keeping an eye on them. We are the creators of sustainable individual mobility. Moreover, being a foundation-owned company, we assume social responsibility.

Today and tomorrow. For future generations. And for the next 100 years.

Our milestones at a glance

The start of a success story
Hellmuth Hirth develops two-stroke engines in Stuttgart/Germany and needs commercial support. Hermann Mahle begins work on December 1, 1920. This day is considered the birthday of today’s MAHLE Group.
The Mahle brothers work together
The company specializes in light-alloy pistons. Since it was founded, around 40,000 pistons have already been produced by its workforce, which now numbers 200 employees. But technical difficulties arise. Hermann Mahle asks his brother Ernst to join the company as an engineer.
Filters extend the life of pistons
The more demanding the engines, the more performance is required from the pistons. Only a few roads are asphalted, and dust damages the pistons. Ernst Mahle decides to develop air and oil filters.
The legendary ring carrier piston
Premature wear on light-alloy pistons continues to cause problems. The solution is the ring carrier piston developed by Ernst Mahle. This technology is still widely used today.
The company becomes MAHLE
Since 1933, the Mahle brothers have been the company’s sole shareholders, and in 1938, they convert it into a KG (limited partnership) bearing their name: MAHLE. The logotype, which has remained virtually unchanged to this day, is introduced as the company’s logo.
Dictatorship. Armament. War.
Production is directed toward “purposes that are particularly urgent under a military economy.” By 1944, the number of employees—including foreign and forced laborers—has increased to more than 6,000.
Realignment after the war
Sixty percent of MAHLE KG’s value and assets were lost after the war. Ernst Mahle moves to Brazil and establishes a new piston production facility there. In Germany, MAHLE switches to repair pistons, rack wagons, and kitchen appliances.
Donating to a good cause
The Mahle brothers incorporate their company into a foundation. Its funding priorities are health care & nursing, education & training, agriculture & nutrition, as well as the arts & culture. The largest funding project to date is the Filderklinik, located near Stuttgart/Germany.
Farewell to the Mahle brothers
Around 50 years after founding the company, the Mahle brothers step down. They can look back on an impressive life’s work: MAHLE generates sales of over DM 400 million, with more than 6,000 employees.
Comeback of the filter business
Its significant holding in Knecht Filterwerke allows MAHLE to reintroduce filter activities into its product range, having discontinued them in 1941 due to the war. As a result of the associated decision to become a systems provider, this product area is soon one of the mainstays of the group.
MAHLE becomes international
Although MAHLE cooperates with international licensees, it does not have its own plants abroad. The first plant in the USA is founded in 1975, in Brazil in 1978.
Becoming a systems partner
MAHLE evolves from a components manufacturer to a development partner for systems and modules. Following the acquisition of J. Wizemann in 1991 and Pleuco in 1994, the company also manufactures valve train systems alongside pistons, engine components, and filter systems.
First plants in Asia
In 1997, a joint venture in India marks the breakthrough in the Far East. The acquisitions in Japan of Izumi in 1999 and Tennex in 2001 represent major steps forward. MAHLE thereby becomes the world’s largest provider of filter systems. In subsequent years, the company expands its presence in Asia significantly.
Development partner for OEMs
The nineties saw significant start-ups and acquisitions in Mexico, Brazil, India, Poland, Italy, South Korea, and Japan. This continued apace in the new millennium. MAHLE becomes a globally active group that ranks among the leaders of the automotive supply industry.
The first MAHLE complete engine
The high-speed, four-stroke in-line engine with a completely novel overall structure and aluminum design demonstrates, in impressive fashion, that MAHLE now produces more engine components and modules than any other engine manufacturer.
Downsizing demonstrator sets the standard
MAHLE acquires the engine manufacturer Cosworth Technology—now MAHLE Powertrain. Two years later, in 2007, the group documents its systems competence with a downsizing concept: half the displacement, the same power output—and 30 percent lower CO2 emissions.
MAHLE + Behr = Mehr (More)
Engine cooling and air conditioning are important topics for the future—and Behr is the ideal partner. MAHLE gradually becomes the majority shareholder. The first joint project that demonstrates how much potential lies in the acquisition is an air intake module with integrated indirect charge air cooling. In 2013, MAHLE Behr—with its 17,000 employees and 38 production locations—becomes the new Thermal Management business unit.
Fresh air for the fuel cell
MAHLE becomes series supplier for a fuel cell passenger car for the first time and delivers air intake modules and ion exchangers to a major Asian manufacturer. Since then, MAHLE has consistently expanded its competence in components and systems for the fuel cell.
Production locations worldwide
More plants are opened and constructed in 2014 than in any other year. MAHLE now has over 140 production locations. Around 20 percent of the more than 66,000 employees work in Asia and around 30 percent in North and South America.
Looking to the future with a dual strategy
As well as optimizing the combustion engine, MAHLE is driving forward the development of alternative mobility concepts. The takeovers of Letrika and Kokusan Denki represent an expansion of the mechatronics activities, while the acquisition of Nagares in 2017 allowed the company to make its entry into vehicle electronics.
MEET concept vehicle impresses
At 16 major R&D centers, more than 6,000 development engineers and technicians work on innovative solutions for the mobility of the future. With the MEET study, MAHLE impressively demonstrates how urban mobility can look: highly efficient, electric, and also affordable.
Development partner and supplier for the fuel cell truck
MAHLE and Nikola become partners. Individual cooling systems are developed and produced for the fuel cell, traction motors, power electronics, and battery, and all relevant systems components come from MAHLE. The air conditioning system for the driver’s cabin is also supplied by MAHLE.
Smart charging for electric vehicles
The MAHLE corporate start-up chargeBIG develops an intelligent charge management system for users of long-stay parking, which can be integrated into the existing infrastructure at low cost and without protracted conversion work. Numerous orders are received.
New Electronics and Mechatronics business unit
By transferring the Mechatronics division to a new business unit and merging it with the compressors and pumps product areas, MAHLE is further developing its strategic focus on alternative powertrain technologies.