German manufacturer Wiesmann closes its doors

7 May, 2014 5:53pm Oliver Kew

Mounting financial problems for BMW-powered German sports car manufacturer Wiesmann forces it to close down

Reports indicate that Wiesmann, the outlandish sport car maker based in north-west Germany, has collapsed. The company went into administration in August 2013 after being unable to pay its suppliers, and despite efforts to salvage the brand and save the jobs of 125 employees, a buyer could not be found to take responsibility for Wiesmann’s mounting operating costs and dwindling market share.

Wiesmann’s financial problems began in 2009, when an unfortunately timed expansion of its factory and car production coincided with the global economic slowdown and resulting impact on high-performance car sales. Despite Wiesmann’s close partnership with BMW’s M Division, which supplies the powertrains for the current Wiesmann range, the company filed for bankruptcy with mounting debts last year.

The apparent closure of Wiesmann brings to a close the 21-year history of bespoke car production by Wiesmann, which was founded originally as an aftermarket modifying house in 1985 producing hard-top roofs for open cars. Wiesmann latterly focused on building neatly appointed rear-drive two-seater sports cars with curvaceous retro styling, powered by engines from the contemporary BMW M3 and M5.

Wiesmann’s current portfolio ranges from the 401bhp MF4 roadster to the 547bhp GT MF5, which shares its twin-turbo V8 engine with the outgoing BMW X5 M and X6 M super-SUV twins. It’s the fastest Wiesmann offering, hitting 62mph in a claimed 3.9sec and 193mph flat out. At around £190,000, and taking more than 350 hours to hand-build, the fibreglass-bodied coupe has, like its stablemates, struggled to attract enough well-heeled interest to keep Wiesmann’s head above water.

It’s expected that German BMW dealers will offer limited servicing options for existing Wiesmann owners, thanks to the cars’ shared components.