From making bicycle parts to the production of car wheels





After some time as a dealer for bicycle parts, Friedrich Hering, blacksmith and vehicle manufacturer in Gera, establishes a firm producing bicycle parts.



Ball bearings, axles, wooden spoke wheels and other parts for the advancing German automotive industry are added to the product and sales range.

Due to increased business activities, the company name is changed in Deutsche Automobilindustrie Friedrich Hering. Later on, it is decided to manufacture complete chassises, bottom frame structures for motor vehicles, which are sold to the automotive industry with great success. Hering’s next step is the production of light-weight vehicles, which are based on the produced chassises. So-called voiturettes on the basis of the license by the French car maker De Dion-Bouton are created, who also supplies the engines for “De Dion Populaire“ to Gera. The speed performance of the robust single cylinders from France is 7 PS at about 1,500 rpm.



The brothers Alfred and Max Hering transfer their plant to the nearby Ronneburg because of lacking space and the planned expansion. After the founder of the company deceased, the sons had taken over the management of the expanding enterprise. The product assortment is supplemented by the rather simple and robust two-seated motorcar “Rex Simplex“.



Despite good sales proceeds, the family firm owned by the Hering brothers is always short of cash – which is also a consequence of the expansion of the production facilities. They are therefore looking for a financially sound partner, who is finally found in the person of Carl Richard, businessman in Berlin. The integration of the new partner leads to a change of the company name in Deutsche Automobilindustrie Richard & Hering.

Although the production is still performed manually to a widest extent, the Ronneburg Plant soon accomplished a considerable output. Already at the end of the year, annual production of around 600 Vehicles was achieved. 



 The brand “Rex Simplex” established well in the market. Since the company gained adequate experience in the manufacture of automotives, it is the year of the start of the design and construction of motors.



The product range is getting larger and larger – because of substantial in-house production. The owners decide to separate the automotive production from the component production. With 30 employees, Max Hering takes over the production of wooden spoke wheels and establishes his own plant for the production of car wheels and wheel rims. The firm soon grows – also due to the fact that after the First World War there is great demand for wooden spoke wheels.


Max Hering already employs 600 people. He supplies his car wheels to renown car manufacturers such as Eisenacher Dixi-Werk, Adler, Audi, Benz, Daimler, Horch, Opel und Stoewer.



Wooden spoke wheels are increasingly replaced by steel and wire spoke wheels as well as steel wires. This new wheel generation arouses the interest of many new customers such as BMW, Maybach, Fiat, Hans-Lloyd and the meanwhile merged Daimler-Benz corporation. The continuous technical changes are always supported by the company’s process and product innovations. It is the policy of the company to adopt the latest state of the art, so that disk and spoke wheels made in Ronneburg - because of their excellent quality - are demanded also from other parts of the world. 



Max Hering continuously exports to the Scandinavian countries, overseas, to Japan and South America, as well as to Ford and Chevrolet branches.

Based on the flourishing business, the number of staff of Autoräder & Felgenfabrik Max Hering (ARF) count well over 1,300 at the end of the thirties. 



 After the Second World War, the two Ronneburg Plants are expropriated and nationalized. The former Richard & Hering factory had already closed down its automobile production at the end of the twenties and continues to produce components for the automotive industry.
Within the VVB Automotive production (a conglomerate of national enterprises) and later in the passenger car cooperative, both firms, under the name VEB IFA Fahrzeugzubehörwerke, continue the long tradition as manufacturer of wheel rims and disk wheels, as well as diverse accessories for the entire automotive and vehicle industry of the GDR.

Räderwerk Ronneburg is the accredited sole supplier for GDR car makes Wartburg and Trabant. For these vehicles alone, annually 1.5 million wheels are eventually produced.
Additionally, a large-scale supply programme for various commercial vehicles exists, as well as for retrofitting all agricultural machines and vehicles produced in the GDR with steel wheels. Despite its great potential with regard to experience and know-how, the company is not presented on the international market.





With the reunification of Germany, a new era begins for Räderwerk Ronneburg. The automotive and vehicle industry in the GDR collapses, the production of Trabant, Wartburg, Barkas, W50, W60 ceases, the related sales market disappears in a single day. Negotiations are started between the trust agency and wheel manufacturers.



Due to the rehabilitation plan, which promises to be most successful for Räderwerk Ronneburg, and which is connected with investment promises and a takeover guarantee for 130 employees and on the basis of a product and marketing strategy focusing on the markets agricultural and construction machinery, car trailers, caravan industry and general commercial vehicle industry, mefro Metallwarenfabrik Fischbacher GmbH is awarded the deal.

As per 1st July mefro Räderwerk Ronneburg GmbH is founded, with their partners mefro Metallwarenfabrik Fischbacher GmbH, Rohrdorf holding a 60% stake and Messrs. Anton Fischbacher, Dipl.-Ing. and Dr. Alfred Fischbacher, Dipl.-Kfm. (20% each). The new company takes over all equipment, machines, inventory, premises and land from VEB Räderwerk Ronneburg.


By shutting down all vehicle construction activities in the “new federal lander“ the former sales markets no longer exist. As a consequence of the introduction of the German mark, the East European markets collapse altogether. It is therefore vital to find new customers in West European markets. This is however difficult, since the product assortment focuses solely on the requirements demanded by the GDR vehicle production or the befriended eastern markets; the respective wheel dimensions and connections are not suitable for western markets.

In no time at all, innovative product solutions are generated, in parts introducing new rules in the market and received with enthusiasm by the customers. At the same time, Räderwerk Ronneburg is subjected to general restructuring and modernization measures.














In the course of a strategic reorientation, it is decided to generate the sales markets automotive and commercial vehicles industry, so far neglected by the commercial and sales policy of the company. Since Räderwerk Ronneburg has so far clearly focused on a differentiating strategy and is thus inapt for the desired cost leadership within the large-volume markets, it is now agreed not to realize this goal within the existing Räderwerk Ronneburg. Various scenarios have been discussed. 



After prolonged negotiations and an extensive due diligence agreement, the car wheel manufacturer SÜDRAD, gone bankrupt in 1995, is integrated in the group as from 1st January.

With SÜDRAD, the gap existing so far in the car and commercial vehicle industry can be completely closed. As a result of its excellent product quality, strong innovative power and high efficiency and reliability, the SÜDRAD brand can boast an excellent reputation worldwide. Further, our group is proud of its outstanding competence in the development and the production of steel wheels due to the versatile requirements demanded from different wheel applications.



During the last thirteen years, more than 50 million EUR have been invested in Räderwerk Ronneburg.

In the markets we serve, mefro Räderwerk Ronneburg GmbH is one of the most modern and efficient wheel manufacturers in Europe; in some market segments we are even market leader. More than 2 million steel wheels for a diversity of applications leave our plant annually. The key to our success is the trust our customer have in the quality of our products.

This applies to our product concepts and the products themselves and our technical support, our supply service as well as all our other services. A young company born out of the reunification of Germany has gained an excellent reputation due to highest quality and excellent performance.


Accuride Wheels Ronneburg GmbH