Mahle GmbH

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Industry Automotive
Founded 1920
Headquarters Stuttgart, Germany
Products Automotive parts
Number of employees
75,000 (2015) [1]

MAHLE GmbH is an automotive parts manufacturer based in Stuttgart, Germany. It is one of the largest automotive suppliers worldwide.[2] As a manufacturer of components and systems for the combustion engine and its periphery, the company is one of the three largest systems suppliers worldwide for engine systems, filtration, electrics, mechatronics, and thermal management.[3] In 2014, Mahle GmBH sales amounted to nearly € 10 billion. [4]

MAHLE in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt

As of 2015, its 75,000 employees work in 170+ production plants and thirteen research and development centers in Germany, Great Britain, USA, Brazil, Japan, China, and India. Worldwide, 5000 development engineers and technicians work as partners for MAHLE's customers on new products and systems. [5] [6]



In 1920 the engineer and pilot Hellmuth Hirth established together with others a small workshop in Cannstatt, where he developed and constructed a two-stroke engine.

26-year-old Hermann Mahle started working for Hellmuth Hirth on December 1, 1920, as the company’s seventh employee. The workshop was then called "Versuchsbau Hellmuth Hirth". December 1, 1920 is acknowledged as the birthday of today’s MAHLE Group. It soon became clear that the workshop would not survive by only conducting engine tests. So the need arose to build a profitable line of production in order to finance ongoing engine tests. At that time, in the automobile production, pistons were generally made of cast iron. Versuchsbau Hellmuth Hirth decided to attempt to build light-alloy pistons for combustion engines.

On November 1, 1922 Hermann Mahle's brother, Ernst Mahle, joined the factory as Head of Engineering. In 1924 the company was renamed Elektrometall GmbH.

In 1927, the company developed the first controlled-expansion piston in Germany and in 1931, the world’s first aluminum ring carrier piston for Diesel engines. Following this, piston technology was steadily improved.

In 1938 the conversion into MAHLE KG took place and the new company logo was introduced. The company expanded. New products were developed and produced (e.g., aluminium cylinders with Cromal (chrome plating) surface coatings in 1951).

In 1964, the company founders Hermann and Ernst Mahle decided to waive private ownership in their companies and make the companies part of a foundation for public benefit. They renounced the largest part of their personal property and transferred the company shares to the MAHLE Foundation.

Aluminium engines[edit]

In 1976 MAHLE placed the first European aluminum engine blocks made in low-pressure die casting ready for series production. In 1988 the composite camshaft is enhanced to production standard, and in 2001 MAHLE presented a cooling concept for pistons in high-speed passenger car Diesel engines. The first all-plastic oil filter in the world followed in 2003. MAHLE developed and constructed its first complete engine in the same year, which was applied in the Formula Student.

Today, MAHLE is a predominant system supplier for components of piston systems, cylinder components, valve train systems, air management systems, and liquid management systems, for all well-known automobile manufacturers. In 2010, the MAHLE Group generated sales in excess of €5.2 billion.[citation needed] In 2011, the MAHLE Group generated sales in excess of €6.0 billion.[citation needed]

Product lines and profit center[edit]

MAHLE GmbH is split into Business Units and Profit Centers as follows:

  • Business Units [7]
    • Engine Systems and Components: This business unit supplies the global automotive industry with piston and valve train components and cylinder components.
    • Filtration and Engine Peripherals: Develops and produces components and systems for automotive air and liquid management.
    • Thermal Management: Components, modules, and systems for vehicle air conditioning and engine cooling.
    • Aftermarket: Our extensive spare parts range for vehicle maintenance and engine repair represents uncompromising OEM quality.
  • Profit Centers [8]
    • Engineering Services, Motorsports, and Special Applications: Development services; engine components for motorsport and high-performance road vehicles; cylinder head assembly; small-lot engine building.
    • Large Engine Components: Pistons, piston rings and pins, as well as cylinder liners for large engines, which are used in the fields of power generation, marine applications, and railroad transportation.
    • Small Engine Components: Engine components for industrial applications and recreational vehicles.
    • Industrial Filtration: Filters and filtration systems for air, liquids, and pastes in industrial installations.
    • Actuators: Mechatronic components, such as electric wastegate actuators, which are used to control the boost pressure in turbocharged engines or heating elements for fuel filters.
    • Electric Drives and Applications 1: Innovative electric motors, alternators, and electric and mechatronic drive systems.
    • Electric Drives and Applications 2: Electric DC motors for ABS and ESC units, BLDC motors for steering assistance and electric motors for industrial applications; ignition components, alternators and fuel injection systems for small engines.
    • Industrial Thermal Management: Products for the engine cooling and air conditioning of agricultural machinery, buses, and special vehicles; cooling systems for railroad vehicles and large engines.
    • Control Units: Operator controls, software, and power electronics for air conditioning systems.

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