Karmann USA Announces Launch of Karmann Classics

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PLYMOUTH TOWNSHIP, Mich., April 01, 2009 – Karmann USA is launching a new aftermarket group to rebuild and restore convertible tops for vintage cars in the United States.

Headquartered in Plymouth Township, Karmann Classics will offer a variety of services including: standard roof repair for vehicles in daily service; original or “authentic” restoration for show models, and a wide range of other customization options to suit specific customer needs.

“Karmann’s new aftermarket division initially will focus on restoring VW Karmann Ghias and VW Beetle convertibles,” said Erik Roeren, president and CEO of Karmann USA. “As the original manufacturer of the VW Karmann Ghia and VW Beetle convertible, Karmann is uniquely positioned to rebuild convertible roof systems for these vehicles.”

The VW Beetle convertible was launched in 1949, followed by the VW Karmann Ghia in 1957. Since their introduction, more than an estimated 200,000 VW Beetle convertibles and an estimated 50,000 Karmann Ghia convertibles were sold in the United States.

To ensure authenticity and the highest level of quality on the vintage models, Karmann Classics technicians are specially trained by vintage experts from Wilhelm Karmann GmbH’s Service Group in Germany.

“With more than 100 years of experience working with convertible top systems, Karmann is able to provide the highest level of craftsmanship needed to restore our clients’ vintage vehicles,” Roeren said. “There is a great passion for vintage cars and ‘open top driving.’ We believe there will be considerable demand for Karmann Classics’ services.”

Karmann Classics initially aims to serve customers in a four-state region of the Midwest, including Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, as well as convertible owners in Ontario, Canada. During its launch phase, Karmann Classics will have the capacity to work on three to four vehicles at a time. The company plans to expand nationwide and eventually will provide restoration services for all convertibles, in addition to Karmann Ghias and Beetle convertibles. Karmann Classics is partnering with local VW dealerships, which also will handle vehicle restoration.

Steffen Leopoldsberger will head the new aftermarket group division. Leopoldsberger previously was the business manager for Karmann Manufacturing’s General Motors group based in Plymouth Township, Michigan. In his new role, he will be responsible for the future development of Karmann Classics and will manage all aspects of the business.

“The launch of Karmann Classics is just one example of the company’s deeply-rooted commitment to its products and its customers,” said John Deikis, president of the Michigan Vintage Volkswagen Club. “We appreciate Karmann’s willingness to invest in a region where so many people value classic cars such as vintage Volkswagens.”

Officials from Plymouth Township also were on hand for the official launch of Karmann Classics, which was held at the aftermarket group’s headquarters.

“The new Karmann Classics business unit displays the customer-driven company we have grown to know here in Plymouth Township,” said Richard Reaume, Supervisor of Plymouth Township. “We applaud them for being innovative and creating new jobs in our community.”
Further details about Karmann USA’s restoration program are available by emailing toprestoration@karmann.com or calling Karmann Classics at +1.734.582.5949. General information about Karmann USA also can be found at www.karmann.com.

About Karmann USA
Based in Plymouth Township, Karmann USA is a subsidiary of the Karmann Group. The world’s leading Tier-1 supplier of convertible tops, Karmann has also been the contract manufacturer of several complete vehicles, including the VW Karmann Ghia and the VW Beetle convertible and most recently the Mercedes-Benz CLK convertible. Founded in 1996, Karmann USA supplies many of the world’s major automakers, including Chrysler, Ford and General Motors. With a 2008 sales volume of $1.8 billion (€1.3 billion), the Karmann Group operates in facilities in Germany, Poland, Portugal, the U.K., Mexico, Japan and the USA.

At its Plymouth Township campus, Karmann USA employs more than 300 people. As a full-service provider to the automotive industry, Karmann USA offers a portfolio which includes roof systems, as well as world-class engineering solutions.

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