In 1905, Julius Friedrich Behr laid the foundations for MAHLE Behr Industry with his innovative spirit and vision.
The name Behr is closely associated with the history of the automobile. In 1905, Julius Friedrich Behr founded Behr & Zoller, a company that specialized in manufacturing car radiators. Over the decades, this shoot developed into the Behr Group, which includes Behr Industry, founded in 1990.
The success story of the MAHLE brothers began as early as 1920, when they manufactured the first light-alloy pistons at their newly founded small company, and finally developed the first oil and air filters. Over the following decades, the small test workshop became a leader in technology and a global company. Today, half of all cars worldwide contain MAHLE components. Since February 2010, the Behr subsidiary Behr Industry has been operated with the MAHLE GmbH holding 60% of the shares.
Following the acquisition of a majority stake, the company has operated under the new name MAHLE Behr Industry GmbH & Co. KG and is now part of the new MAHLE Industry business unit.
Competence in cooling and air conditioning
MAHLE Behr Industry today bundles the Behr Group’s complete competency in cooling and air conditioning for a wide range of vehicles, such as trains, ships, buses, construction and agricultural machinery, special vehicles, aircraft, gensets, as well as wind and solar energy systems.
A foundation was laid in 1910 when the company entered the nascent aviation industry. Leading aircraft manufacturers equipped their engines with Behr radiators. This was followed in 1917 by cooling for special vehicles, in 1924 for railway vehicles and, in the late 1930s, the first marine engines were equipped with Behr products. With the hydrostatic cooling fan drive, developed in 1953, Behr produced a masterpiece of engine cooling for railway vehicles. With this cooling fan drive, the cooler no longer needed to be fixed to the engine but could be anywhere in the railcar or locomotive, which was an enormous advantage with regard to package constraints. In the 1950s, the hydrostatic cooling fan drive went on to be fitted in buses, followed around a decade later by military vehicles.
From a division to a subsidiary
The automotive industry was one of many industries to grow by leaps and bounds in the post-WWII era, so that Behr was eventually obliged to spin off all of its nonautomotive business activities to a separate subsidiary. Around 1950, Behr had already begun to separate sales and development into individual divisions. Finally, in 1990, Behr Industrietechnik was founded in Stuttgart as a separate company, known today as MAHLE Behr Industry. That laid the foundation for a highly flexible company organized on SME lines to serve differentiated, high-growth nonautomotive markets individually.
Market leader in Europe
MAHLE Behr Industry has always developed its product and market range internationally and in accordance with its customers' needs. In the 1980s, it was already developing and manufacturing air conditioning for military vehicles. Since 2008, MAHLE Behr Industry has focused on air conditioning for buses, special vehicles, construction and agricultural machinery, and the aviation industry. As a systems partner for cooling, MAHLE Behr Industry has been the European market leader for railway and special vehicles, gensets, and wind and solar energy for many years.
New locations are added
In addition, since the 1990s, MAHLE Behr Industry has developed and manufactured rims and wheels for motorcycles in Mylau. In September 2000, a modern production and administration facility was inaugurated in Reichenbach (Vogtland).
In the last years, the Saxony-based company has become the MAHLE Behr Industry Group’s leading facility on the European market. To establish the company in markets outside Europe, Behr Industry America L.P. was founded in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 2000. 4 years later, Behr Industrietechnik was renamed Behr Industry in keeping with the company’s increasingly international alignment. Following the acquisition of a majority stake in the Group by MAHLE GmbH, the company was renamed once more into MAHLE Behr Industry in 2010. In the same year, MAHLE Behr Industry Cooling Equipment (Tianjin) Co., Ltd. was founded in China.
To counteract increasing cost pressure in international markets, KF Kühlerbau Freiberg—today operating as Behr Industry Freiberg GmbH—was acquired at the end of 2004. The company had already supplied heat exchangers exclusively to the Behr Group, mainly for the large engine and railway industry. In addition to its locations in Stuttgart, Mylau, Reichenbach, Freiberg (Germany), and Grand Rapids, (MI, USA), MAHLE Behr Industry founded a new location in Tianjin (China) and has thereby been present on the Asian market since 2010.
In the same year, a first door was opened in the Eastern European market by starting up a cooperation with a Russian railway supplier.
MAHLE Behr Industry has sales offices in France, Spain, England, Korea, and Italy, and a worldwide network of representatives. Further expansion is being pursued actively in Brazil and India.
Acquisition of a majority stake by MAHLE
In an effort to expand its industrial activities, the MAHLE Group decided to acquire a majority stake in Behr Industry GmbH & Co. KG at the beginning of 2010. Since July 2010, MAHLE Behr Industry has been operated with MAHLE GmbH holding 60 percent and Behr GmbH & Co. KG 40 percent of the shares in the company. The MAHLE Group is one of the 30 largest companies in the automotive supply industry worldwide. As a leading manufacturer of components and systems for the combustion engine and related products, MAHLE ranks among the top 3 systems suppliers for piston systems, cylinder components, valve train systems, air management systems, and liquid management systems.