Success in the Fast Lane

Interview with Roman Müller, Managing Director and Technical Director of BBS Motorsport GmbH

Roman Müller, Managing Director and Technical Director of BBS Motorsport GmbH
Roman Müller, Managing Director and Technical Director of BBS Motorsport GmbH

As the world leader in the production of magnesium forged wheels, Haslach-based BBS Motorsport GmbH impresses with high-quality products and a unique craftsmanship that has been the foundation for every BBS wheel for over 50 years. Managing Director and Technical Director Roman Müller sees the company today primarily as a successful supplier in the premium segment and, despite recent challenges, continues on the fast track.

Economic Forum: Mr. Müller, the history of BBS Motorsport GmbH started over 50 years ago in the idyllic Schiltach. How has your company developed since the beginning?

Roman Müller: To this day, craftsmanship is the foundation of every high-quality BBS wheel. The love for detail and the care in our in-house production make our wheels unique. BBS Motorsport wheels are used in almost all racing series around the world. We only use the highest quality materials. When BBS Motorsport established itself in Haslach in 2012, we were primarily engaged in the motorsport business and employed 26 people. Today, the ratios have reversed, with 80% OEM and 20 to 25% motorsport. However, in absolute numbers, the motorsport business has increased. We were able to double our revenue in the fiscal year 22/23 from 16.6 million EUR, and in the current fiscal year 23/24, we expect a further increase of 50 to 60%. In the same period, the number of our employees has quadrupled.

BBS Motorsport Chevrolet Corvette at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Chevrolet Corvette at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, race-ready equipped with BBS alloy wheels
BBS Motorsport IMSA in the USA
IMSA in the USA, with BBS cutting-edge technology at the start
BBS Motorsport Pit Stop Tire Change
Tire change at the pit stop: BBS as a partner of motorsport and manufacturer of wheels for the highest demands

Economic Forum: These are impressive figures given the current challenges. How have you managed to grow in this demanding environment?

Roman Müller: In the years 2022 and 2023, we were particularly hit by the rising material prices. We are the world market leader in the production of magnesium forged wheels, and the development of magnesium prices, which is mainly due to Chinese trade policy, poses significant problems for us. The price of magnesium is still almost 100% higher than the long-term average. As an automotive supplier, we are fighting with our customers over the participation in the increased costs. Nevertheless, we can continue to grow in the premium segment and invest in optimizing our products and processes. We have invested 27 million EUR in the last two years, mainly in buildings and new processes for magnesium coating.

Economic Forum: How do you see your role as Managing Director and Technical Director?

Roman Müller: At 64, I see my task in creating a transition and leaving a cleanly organized company for the future. Our new buildings also represent progress in terms of sustainability. Our new facilities use wood chips as a climate-neutral heat source and have a photovoltaic system. My goal is to lead the company more and more towards CO2 neutrality. By the way, I am of the opinion that companies should receive more support in this respect. Investments in sustainability are necessary, and politics should promote this.

BBS Motorsport Rear Wheel Rim
Technology from motorsport, the current BBS Formula 1 rear wheel 2022-2025: Already in the 1970s, the company from the Black Forest became a recognized size as a wheel supplier

Economic Forum: Another critical issue is the shortage of skilled workers. How does your company deal with it?

Roman Müller: We have the advantage of a very good brand image, especially in motorsports and the supply of Formula 1 and high premium vehicles. This attracts young people, and we receive many unsolicited applications. The combination of working at BBS with pride and a certain exclusivity makes us attractive.

Economic Forum: What reasons do you see for the success of your company?

Roman Müller: Our products are in the high premium segment, in which customers are willing to invest despite crises. Our wheels are used in high-priced vehicles. This guarantees our sales, and we do not have to worry. Our corporate identity, especially the unique styling of our wheels, creates a high recognition value and desirability. We do not follow fashion trends and preserve our identity.

BBS Motorsport Warehouse
Craftsmanship and utmost care are the basis for every BBS wheel: wheels before and after the painting process
BBS Motorsport Production
Magnesium forged wheels undergo a special coating process
BBS Motorsport Painted Magnesium Forged Wheel Porsche GT3RS
Each wheel a unique piece: Painted Magnesium Forged Wheel Porsche GT3RS

Economic Forum: How do you see the future of BBS Motorsport?

Roman Müller: I am convinced that we can continue to grow. We plan a growth of 60% by 2025, thereafter 10 to 20% per year until 2029/30. The combustion engine ban in Europe by 2035 is even expected to increase demand in the high-premium segment, for many also as an investment. In general, it is expected that the demand for our high-quality products in the rather elitist customer circle will remain. Our commitment to quality, innovation, and sustainability confirms us as the world leader in magnesium forged wheels. We look optimistically to the future and are committed to further consolidating our unique identity and the success of BBS Motorsport.