Friday, October 25, 2013

Bitten by the Tuning Bug

Toni Rieger Interview

photo of herr rieger
Image of Toni Rieger from Rieger's 25th anniversary catalog
LLTeK has been importing Rieger parts for Audi since 1996,  and yesterday I was lucky enough to stumble across a Dutch tuner's magazine (auto & tuning)  that featured an interview with Toni Rieger - owner, founder and driving  force (no pun intended) behind Rieger Tuning.  He's a talented businessman and designer who got to where he is because of a passion for cars (in Bavaria I think that means BMW); but these days it's all the big German names plus a bit of Ford and Fiat.

Rather than transpose the article in its entirety here's a rough summary:

He is a "self-taught" tuner from the school of "Necessity is the mother of invention."
He grew up on his parents' farm with four brothers and a sister.
He is unassuming and avoids the spotlight.
His first car was a wrecked 40hp Polo. He repaired and sold it to get a second with 50hp.
His third car was a Golf GTI.
His work ethic is fully functional - in the office in the morning and then out on the factory floor in overalls.
He employs almost 50 individuals on a campus with buildings occupying some 65,000 sq. ft.
For his 50th birthday he bought himself an Audi R8.
He doesn't believe in outsourcing to China.  In 2007 alone, eighty lawsuits were launched against counterfeiters cloning his designs. American knock-offs are currently in his sights.
doesn't think electric cars are very efficient - (I think he's being polite here).
Every body kit / spoiler produced by Rieger is fit to a car the company buys and tested.
He drives every modification package he produces in order to "feel" what the customer will get.
There are currently some 40 cars in the Rieger showroom.

When he was a kid and starting out, he would store wheels in his bedroom.
He purchases a new pair of shoes at the outset of the trade show season.
He likes running shoes and his work is the feature - not a bug.

I've never met Herr Rieger, never even spoken to him over the phone, but the more I hear about this guy - the more I like him. Maybe the next time I'm in Germany, I'll make an effort to get to Eggenfeld and see if I can get an interview.

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