Future meets the past—the MAHLE story from the beginning

Dr. Ernst Mahle

The idea on which MAHLE was founded was new and different, and it went one step further.

The success story begins in 1920 when pistons made of heavy gray cast iron were being used in internal combustion engines for automobiles. The Mahle brothers countered this trend by producing light-alloy pistons at their small, newly established company—but the technology is still finicky and problems come up frequently. To keep dirt and dust out of the engine, they eventually developed air and oil filters as well. Their perseverance paid off: the light-alloy pistons began to take over the market.

Nowadays, half of all automobiles produced worldwide contain MAHLE components. MAHLE has developed from a small test workshop to a technologically leading, globally active Group.



Renewal. Development. Breakthrough

From a small test workshop to a leader in technology and an industrial enterprise: the central issue at the time is whether the light-alloy piston favored by Ernst Mahle can replace the gray cast iron piston. New alloys and the invention of the ring carrier piston by Ernst Mahle finally provide the breakthrough.
  • Hermann Mahle joins Versuchsbau Hellmuth Hirth
  • First series production of light-alloy pistons in Europe
  • Ernst Mahle joins the company
  • Company renamed Elektronmetall GmbH, Stuttgart-Cannstatt (EC)
  • New lightweight pistons for motorsport activities
  • Hermann Mahle appointed Commercial Director
  • Ernst Mahle appointed Technical Director
  • Series production of air, oil, and fuel filters
  • First cylinder liners made of nitrided steel
  • Ring carrier piston registered for patent



War. Armament. Destruction

The darkest chapter in German history—national socialism and World War II—also leaves a deep mark on the development of EC as a company: with aircraft, cars, and commercial vehicles being built primarily for military purposes, EC—known as MAHLE KG from 1938—becomes a supplier to the armament industry because of its product range.
  • Ernst and Hermann Mahle become sole shareholders
  • “Turbometal”—a dense metal mesh for air filters—is registered for patent
  • Foundation of MAHLE pension club
  • First profiled pistons
  • Foundation of MAHLE Siedlung GmbH
  • Series production of oil bath air filters
  • EC converted into MAHLE KG; introduction of MAHLE logo
  • First blank cylinders using centrifugal casting process




Sixty percent of the corporate substance and assets of MAHLE KG were lost in World War II. Following the first hard years after the war, the company has to survive by manufacturing other products, but then rapidly benefits from the general economic boom.
  • First AUTOTHERMIK® pistons
  • First series-produced CROMAL® aluminium cylinders
  • Valve tappets in chilled cast iron
  • Filter systems for noise reduction
  • Spin-on filters
  • Series production of AUTOTHERMATIK® pistons
  • First use of paper filter elements in engine peripherals in Europe
  • Series production of camshaft blanks in chilled cast iron
  • Foundation of today’s MAHLE Pistons France SARL
  • Establishment of MAHLE-STIFTUNG GmbH (MAHLE Foundation) and MABEG
  • Rough-cast cylinder liners produced using centrifugal casting
  • First sodium-filled hollow valves
  • First hollow-cast camshafts
  • Use of NIKASIL® for engine components
  • Acquisition of Süddeutsche Kolbenbolzenfabrik; today: MAHLE Motorkomponenten GmbH
  • Acquisition of holding in König KG, Austria; today: MAHLE König Kommanditgesellschaft GmbH & Co. KG




The seventies and eighties are a time of international growth at MAHLE. The company also reactivates its Filter unit. In the nineties, MAHLE confronts the globalization and concentration in the automotive industry by taking the great step from components manufacturer to development partner and supplier of systems and modules.
  • Companies grouped together to form MAHLE GmbH.
  • Hermann and Ernst Mahle step down from the Management Board.
  • Acquisition of shares in Knecht Filterwerke GmbH
  • Acquisition of holding in FISA Fundiciones Industriales S.A., Spain; today: MAHLE S.A.
  • Use of star-pleated filter elements in dedusting technology
  • Aluminum engine blocks made by low-pressure die casting in series
  • First pistons made of ductile iron (GGG ) for truck diesel engines
  • Foundation of today’s MAHLE Engine Components USA, Inc.
  • Development of formturned piston pins
  • Acquisition of CIMA , Brazil; today: MAHLE Indústria e Comércio Ltda.
  • Cold extrusion of piston pin blanks
  • Foundation of Metalúrgica Mogi Guaçu Ltda. in Brazil (now MAHLE Metal Leve S.A.)
  • Freely programmable CNC profiling lathes in piston machining
  • Production use of laser welding on valve tappets in the automotive industry
  • HYDROTHERMIK® and HYDROTHERMATIK® pistons in series
  • Introduction of ecological filter elements
  • Production of assembled camshafts
  • Acquisition of Técafiltres S.A. and Soparis S.A., France; today: MAHLE Filtersysteme France SAS
  • Acquisition of Mondial Piston S.p.A., Italy; today: MAHLE Componenti Motori Italia S.p.A.
  • Introduction of FERROTHERM® pistons
  • Composite pistons for large diesel engines with bore cooling
  • Ceramic fiber-reinforced LIQUOSTATIK® aluminium pistons in series



Systems partner. Technology leader.

At the beginning of the 1990s, the situation in the automotive industry comes to a head: international competition is becoming tougher, price pressure is rising. Requirements relating to quality and supply availability are increasing. Design and development tasks traditionally entrusted to the vehicle industry are being assigned more and more to the suppliers.
  • Merger of the iron and steel activities of MAHLE GmbH with J.Wizemann GmbH & Co. to form the MAHLE Wizemann Group
  • Series production of pistons with GRAFAL® skirt coating
  • Acquisition of remaining shares in Knecht Filterwerke GmbH; today: MAHLE Filtersysteme GmbH
  • Oil filter module with filter inserts and plastic cover
  • Foundation of today’s MAHLE Componentes de Motor de México, S. de R.L. de C.V.
  • Merger of MAHLE Wizemann Group with Pleuco GmbH; today: MAHLE Ventiltrieb GmbH
  • MICRO-STAR® vehicle cabin air filters
  • Piston alloys M 142 and M 145 in series
  • Funnel-type cooling channel pistons in series
  • Acquisition of majority holding in Metal Leve S.A., Brazil; today: MAHLE Metal Leve S.A.
  • Joint venture MWP Migma Ltd., India; today: MAHLE Engine Components India Privat Limited
  • Start of robot-aided medium-pressure die casting
  • The ecological oil filter concept is awarded first prize by the Federation of German Industries (Bund der deutschen Industrie - BDI)
  • Takeover of the piston ring activities of Cofap S.A. with locations in Brazil (today: MAHLE Metal Leve S.A.) and Portugal (today: MAHLE Componentes de Motores S.A.)
  • Joint venture Kirloskar Knecht Filters Private Ltd.; today: MAHLE Filter Systems (India) Limited
  • Joint venture Knecht Duroplast Sistemas de Filtración S.A. de C.V., Mexico; today: MAHLE Sistemas de Filtración de México, S.A. de C.V.
  • Series production of air intake modules
  • Foundation of MAHLE Spolka z o.o. in Poland (now MAHLE Polska Spolka z o.o.)
  • M 174 piston alloy for high performance aluminium diesel engines goes in series
  • Name change of companies with majority holding by “MAHLE” in company name
  • Establishment of MAHLE Filtersysteme GmbH (previously: Knecht Filterwerke GmbH) and MAHLE Ventiltrieb GmbH (previously: MAHLE J.Wizemann-Pleuco GmbH)
  • Joint venture MAHLE Izumi (Liaoning) Piston Co., Ltd., China; today: MAHLE Engine Components (Yingkou) Co., Ltd.
  • Foundation of today’s MAHLE Engine Components (Nanjing) Co., Ltd.
  • Acquisition of majority holding in WSM Krotoszyn S.A., Poland; today: MAHLE Polska Spolka z o.o.
  • Joint venture Donghyun MAHLE Filter Systems Co., Ltd., South Korea; today: MAHLE Donghyun Filter Systems Co., Ltd.
  • Pistons for passenger cars with FERROPRINT® skirt coating in series



Expansion. Rapid growth.

MAHLE grows into a leading global development partner in the automotive and engine industry—despite the global economic crisis that destabilized markets in 2008. In 1999, the group employs about 25,000 people. Over half of the sales are generated outside of Europe.
  • Series production of steelforged MONOTHERM® pistons
    Pistons with cooled ring carriers for passenger car diesel engines in series
  • Acquisition of holding in Brockhaus Soehne GmbH, Germany; today: MAHLE Motorkomponenten GmbH
  • Acquisition of the Tennex Group; today: MAHLE Filter Systems Japan Corporation
  • FERROCOMP® large-bore pistons in series
    Intake module for gasoline engine with variable length
  • First plastic oil filter for passenger car diesel engines
  • First ECOFORM® pistons for passenger car gasoline engines
    Series production of plastic cylinder head covers
  • Establishment of ZNF Maschinenfabrik Spandau as a majority joint venture with BMW for camshaft production; today: MAHLE Ventiltrieb Brandenburg GmbH
  • First MAHLE engine (3-cylinder racing engine for Formula SAE)
  • Sound generator for intake systems of turbocharged engines
  • Acquisition of Schmiedewerk Roßwein GmbH in Saxony; today: MAHLE Motorkomponenten GmbH
  • Acquisition of the filter division of Shanghai Filter Factory; today: MAHLE Shanghai Filter Systems Co., Ltd.
  • Acquisition of Cosworth Technology Ltd.; today: MAHLE Powertrain Ltd.
  • First all-plastic complete oil filter module
  • Establishment of the filter plant MAHLE Componente de Motor SLR in Timisoara/Romania
  • Series production of a new three-stage resonance intake module
  • Acquisition of shares in Anand Automotive Systems Group Purolator India Ltd.; today: MAHLE Filter Systems (India) Limited.
  • Complete takeover of Brockhaus Soehne GmbH, Germany; today: MAHLE Motorkomponenten GmbH
  • Expansion of the research and development center in Farmington Hills, Detroit/USA
  • Acquisition of the activated carbon canister activities of Behr in the USA
  • CamInCam® camshaft
  • Acquisition of Norddeutsche Filter Vertriebs GmbH and AKO Filter GmbH; today: MAHLE Industriefiltration GmbH
  • World’s first electric cone stack separator
  • New Aftermarket logistics center opened in Krotoszyn/Poland
  • New research and development center opened in Shanghai
  • Plastic cylinder head covers with integrated oil mist separation and pressure regulation
  • Foundation of MAHLE Trading (Shanghai) C o., Ltd. and MAHLE Trading Japan Co., Ltd.
  • Start of development activities for exhaust gas turbochargers for gasoline and diesel engines
  • Majority joint venture MAHLE Tri-Ring Valve Train (Hubei) Co., Ltd. in Macheng/China
  • Acquisition of Edival S.A. in Argentina; today: MAHLE Argentina S.A.
    DLC-coated piston pins
  • Acquisition of the engine parts business of the Dana Corporation, USA; today: MAHLE Engine Components USA, Inc.
  • Purchase of Promotora de Industrias Mecánicas, S.A. de C.V. (Promec) in Mexico; today: MAHLE Componentes de Motor de México, S. de R.L. de C.V
  • MonoXcomp® and EVOTEC® pistons
  • Two-stage diesel fuel filter with integrated water separation
  • Acquisition of the intake modules and air filtration business segment of Siemens VDO Automotive; today: MAHLE Filter Systems Canada, ULC
  • Joint venture MAHLE IPL Limited founded
  • Downsizing engine as technology demonstrator
  • Valves for exhaust gas recirculation
  • Research and development center opened in Jundiaí near São Paulo/Brazil
  • Majority acquisition of Turkish engine components manufacturer Mopisan; today: MAHLE Izmir and MAHLE Konya A.S.
  • Foundation of Bosch Mahle Turbo Systems GmbH & Co. KG as a 50/50 joint venture for the development and production of exhaust gas turbochargers
  • Majority joint venture MAHLE Hirschvogel Forjas S.A./Brazil
  • MAHLE acquires Clemex de México, S.A. de C.V.; today: MAHLE Componentes de Motor de México, S. de R.L. de C.V.
    EGR valves in series
  • Opening of the corporate exhibition MAHLE INSIDE
  • Electrical wastegate actuator in series
  • Prototype of Low Friction Camshaft (LFC)
  • Prototype of fast switching EGR valve
  • Acquisition of automotive activities of KTM-Kühler GmbH in Mattighofen /Austria; today: MAHLE Filtersysteme Austria GmbH



Shaping the future

MAHLE uses the time to further improve its strategic position and to prepare for the future. With the aquisitionof Behr in 2013 around 17,000 new employees at 38 production locations and three major research and development centers worldwide join the MAHLE family.
  • Majority acquisition of the industrial business of Behr Group; today: MAHLE Industrial Thermal Systems GmbH Co.KG
  • MAHLE and Behr sign share agreement
  • First use of modular all-plastic oil filter housing in the commercial vehicle, industry, and generator areas
  • All-plastic oil filter with integrated thermal management in series
  • First TopWeld® steel pistons for passenger car applications
  • MAHLE increases share in Behr Group from 19.9 to 36.85 percent
  • Acquisition of remaining shares in the Turkish engine components manufacturer MAHLE Mopisan; today: MAHLE Izmir A.S. and MAHLE Konya A.S.
  • Ballast water treatment system is certified; first high-volume order
  • New filter plant in Chennai/India; today: MAHLE Filter Systems (India) Limited
  • Development of indirect charge air cooling integrated in the air intake module (i2CAC)
  • MAHLE acquires InnoWa Membrane GmbH; today: MAHLE InnoWa GmbH
  • New headquarters opened in Tokyo/Japan
  • First order for counterflow staggered blade charge air coolers
  • New filter plant in Kyushu/Japan
  • Expansion R&D center in Shanghai/China is opened
  • RTI Technologies, Inc., headquartered in York, Pennsylvania/USA is taken over; today: MAHLE Aftermarket Inc., Service Solutions
  • MAHLE acquires a share of approximately 30 percent in the Japanese company
    KokusanDenki Co., Ltd.
  • Opening of the North America headquarters in Farmington Hills, near Detroit/USA
  • Prototype order for a new cooling concept
  • EvoTherm® and TopTherm® valves are developed
  • Foundation for a new filter plant in Wuhan/China
  • New EVOTEC®SC piston is developed
  • MAHLE increases its share in the Behr Group to 51 percent; MAHLE Behr forms the new Thermal Management business unit
  • Aftermarket logistics center in Schorndorf/Germany is expanded
  • A competence center for pumps is opened in Brattendorf, Thüringen/Germany
  • The piston joint venture MAHLE India Pistons Limited (MAHLE IPL) in Chennai/India is completely acquired
  • Opening of a major logistics center in Limeira/Brazil
  • New sales and logistics center in Obninsk/Russia
  • Bosch Mahle Turbo Systems founds subsidiary in China
  • New plant for the Filtration and Engine Peripherals business unit in Wuhan/China
  • New plant for Shanghai Behr Thermal Systems, a joint venture between MAHLE Behr and Shanghai Sanden Behr Automotive Air Conditioning in Shengyang/China
  • Acquisition of majority shareholding in Letrika
  • Second expansion of the research and development center in Shanghai/China
  • New plant for the Thermal Management business unit in Shenyang/China
  • Opening of a filter plant in Cikarang/Indonesia
  • Acquisition of Amovis GmbH
  • Worldwide first automated production line for passenger car steel pistons
  • New plants in Ramos Arizpe and Celaya in Mexico as well as Chengdu/China
  • Kokusan Denki becomes part of the MAHLE Group - Foundation of division Mechatronics
  • Market launch of diagnosis tool TechPro® for the Aftermarket business
  • Thermal management business of Delphi is acquired
  • 31 percent less CO2 emissions via CNG and downsizing
  • 50 years of MAHLE Foundation
  • Change to senior management at MAHLE
  • MAHLE merges the product divisions of Electric Drives and Applications as well as Actuators into the Mechatronics division
  • Lauch of Global Purchasing Excellence Program
  • Expansion of the cooperation with Scuderia Ferrari
  • Start of the ACTIVATR innovation program
  • Ten years of MAHLE Technologies Holding China
  • „Ignition Day“ on the topic of Industry 4.0
  • World’s first controllable pendulum- slider oil pump for commercial vehicles
  • MAHLE opens Vehicle Engineering Centre in Northampton/Great Britain
  • MAHLE signs the Diversity Charta
  • World premiere of CareMetix® cabin air filter
  • MAHLE Powertrain opens a new testing center in Plymouth, Michigan/USA
  • With over EUR 12 billion, MAHLE achieves the highest sales in the history of the company
  • Acquisition of O-Flexx Technologies GmbH
  • Acquisition of the Spanish electronics specialist Nagares SA
  • Opening of new climate compressor plant in Changshu
  • World debut 48-volt vehicle concept MEET at IAA Cars 2017 in Frankfurt/Germany
  • Pedelec components and drive in series production
  • Minority participation in diagnostics specialist Brain Bee AG
  • Locations in Stuttgart receive seal of approval for their family-friendly personnel policy
  • Collaboration with Faurecia on technologies for thermal management of the Cockpit of the Future
  • TOP 500 Award for sustainable growth