Formula One and Indycar supplier BBS GmbH filed for bankruptcy protection in Germany today for the third time in 13 years, on the eve of its 50th anniversary.
Its contract to supply wheels for next year’s entire Nascar Cup Series field is not believed to be at risk, with BBS purchasing them off its key Formula One supplier, Japan’s Washibeam.
BBS, which made the poster wheels for every race- and sports-car fan in the 1990s, has taken some of the world’s most famous drivers to victory everywhere from Le Mans and Indianapolis to Formula One.
They were the aftermarket wheel of choice for generations of performance-car owners and made of the poster wheels for every race- and sports-car fan in the 1990s.
Famous for their invention of three-piece racing wheels and criss-cross spoke patterns, BBS GmbH announced its bankruptcy on its website today, describing it as a “necessary step to prevent an imminent insolvency”.
Blaming its troubles on the Coronavirus pandemic, BBS stated it found itself in financial trouble due to the “sudden omission of confirmed payments.”
This is not new territory for BBS, which declared bankruptcy in 2007 as well, before being rescued by Belgium’s Punch International, and then declared bankruptcy again in 2011 before being taken over by South Korea’s Nice Corp.
BBS wheels are found on road cars from Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota, Volvo, Lexus, Jaguar, Infiniti, Rolls-Royce and Subaru.
It once dominated high-end performance car wheels, including the Ferrari F40, the Lexus IS-F and an untold numbers of Porsches.
The market slowdown that came with the Covid-19 pandemic forced BBS to shutter both of its production plants, leading to the bankruptcy filing in the court in Rottweil (yes, like the dog).
“Being traceable to the currently tough market environment in the automotive branch, BBS’ situation deteriorated further due to the Corona(sic)-Lockdown which led to a temporary shutdown of the production at both BBS plants,” the company’s statement read.
“However, the key message we want to deliver to you is that the BBS production keeps on running – the supply of all our OE and AM customers with BBS wheels is secured!
“Prior to the insolvency BBS already initiated an extensive turnaround strategy for the whole company. This new strategy based on BBS AM wheels as focal point will be continued under the guidance of the insolvency administrator.”
One of its two administrators, Thomas Oberle, has been here before with BBS, having been appointed as an administrator of BBS International GmbH in 2011, before BBS became BBS GmbH.