the beginning...


In 1901, Wilhelm Karmann took over the business of the Osnabrucker Wagenfabrik Christian Klages. This was a company with 15 employees specialized in buiding and repairing bikes, coaches and specialized products for horse riding and hunting. Direct from the beginning Wilhelm Karmann began to change the company policy. From 1902 the production of the first bodywork for cars were being produced in the factory of the Karmann Company.


the growth


The factory grows fast from the beginning and in 1911 it moved to an larger complex. From the 1920s the collaboration with major car manufacturers. Manufacturers like Buick, Citroen, Chrysler and Mercedes used the service of the Karmann Company to produce the bodywork for their cars.


mass production


Wilhelm Karmann was impressed with the mass production in the American automotive industry. Using this knowledge the factory gradually left the traditional method of producing body work and in the middle of the 30-s the first presses for molding steel were introduced.

In the beginning, the Karmann Company only produced car bodywork from various designers. Soon own experts developed better and better cabriotops.

In 1932 the Karmann Company had 150 employees, in 1939 the number of employees reached 800 people.


During the war, the factory of the Karmann Company was mainly destroyed. After the war, Wilhelm Karmann rebuilds his factory and in 1949 the cooperation with Volkswagen started with the development and production of the Beetle convertible. This would let to a great success.

In 1952, Wilhelm Karmann deceased and his son Wilhelm Karmann took over the Company.


The Karmann Company developed and produced not only special models for different car manufacturers, it also introduced new ideas for automotive concepts. A great example is the Karmann Ghia, introduced in 1957.

To give an impression of the car models produced by the Karmann Company here's a short list:

  • Porsche 356B
  • BMW 2000 C/CS
  • Opel Diplomat Coupé
  • Porsche 912
  • VW Scirocco I
  • VW Golf Cabriolet
  • Jaguar XK8 Cabriolet
This list is just the top of the iceberg.


current status


Recent models witch are produced by the Karmann Company are cars like the Mercedes SLK (convertible), Audi B3 and the Renault Mégane convertible.

But the design department not only works for other manufacturers, like in the fifties and sixties, the Karmann Company introduces new design models on the Car Shows.


more infrmation


More information about the Karmann Company can be found at the following links:


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