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The Truth About Ronal Wheels

Fitment Industries Author | | June 28th, 2018 |

  • - You can't go wrong with German wheels, you just can't. BBS, Keskin, Messer's, just like a match made in heaven. Like beer in Germany, or beer in Okturbofest, or beer just any day. I might have a problem, but that's besides the point. Now, there's been a company that's truly been involved in the automotive wheel community for decades, and pretty much led to the German market being involved when it came to wheels, from the start. We're deciding to talk about the rich German history of Ronal wheels. Ronal, you have to say it with your throat, Ronal.
    - Ronal AG is a conglomerate company that was based in 1969. Founded with a name which was an abbreviation of aluminum and his name, Ronald. Centric, action, fun, excitement, 50,000 subscribers by the way, thank you so much. Roland Wirth changed the way people did wheels. Then it was just kind of wheel stuff. You see back in the day, Karl was doing his own thing in 1967. He won the German Formula V Junior Cup, which is a pretty cool thing. I mean I got a B in my science class, and this guy was winning races. But it's besides the point, no big deal. The next year, he decided to found Ron-Motor-Testequipment. Now, Karl wanted to do all sorts of things with the new company, and that would go into his passion of just racing cars. But there was only one really small problem.

    His clients didn't really care about what he was trying to make. Instead, they cared about the wheels that he managed to put on his Opel. It didn't really make sense. He was trying to do race car stuff, and they're like, Yo, Roland, we wanna know what's up with those wheels, dog. We trying to get on StanceNation's I-G, and we wanna know how we can do that. The wheels Karl had were Remotecs, fitted by a man named Norbert Oberschmidt. Now, Norbert would spend his spare time doing wheel designs while he was studying math and physics, which now is also a pretty cool thing to do. Now, Norbert was a pretty smart guy. Karl realized that, because Norbert had a craft that would probably benefit his company, if he could bring him onboard, which at the time, was still Ron-Motor. So, they decided to essentially partner, and convince Norbert to come onboard, and begin making wheel designs in his spare time. So Karl began spending and selling aluminum wheels that Norbert would design in-house. And that's really how the company began to fruition and begin making products that you actually wanted to buy.

    The name naturally changed from Ron-Motor-Testingequipment to Ronal. Now, the most wheel history is built within the difficult decades of adversity, but not with Ronal. Ronal was like they just kinda came onboard and started making wheels, and because they were one of the first to really jump into a market that didn't exist at the time, everybody wanted them. Now, they woke up one day, and they just decided that they had a company that could make wheels, and people wanted their wheels more than anything else possible on their race cars, at the time. And well, because of the convenience in locality, they just, it worked. So Ronal began making a lot of their sand casted wheels, because it was just convenient, it was cheap, it was effective. And it worked kind of, sort of, for the most part. Now instead of trying to find a larger company and outsource to, Karl was like, "No." You wanna know why? Because he's German, and this is what Germans do. Karl decided to bring it all in-house. And by building really, a new factory, he just brought the entire mold casting process into Forst, Germany, and from there, he didn't have to worry about any sand casting processes. By building a new factory, he had now a bigger market to make aftermarket wheels. But, at the same time, companies were coming up to him and asking if they could just make OEM wheels for their cars and Ronal was like (makes noise) Das, why not? So, while the OEM growth continued, Ronal entered the multi piece game that was made with cast magnesium that was used for pretty much all their racing stuff.

    So, how did it do? Pretty good, growth followed, I mean Ronal, because they just continued to make stuff that people continued to buy. And because there was no competition at the time, because they were involved in both OEM and aftermarket, they pretty much had money coming out of every orifice you could possibly imagine. This Tiny Tin company began making wheels for pretty much everybody. Based out of Waldorf, Germany, Ronal hit the market running. They had more factories, and more money, and more everything, they didn't really know what to do with it. By the end of 1969, Ronal had over 15 designs to compete with other companies, like the notorious BBS. By the mid seventies, Ronal had opened up another factory in France. Saab jumped onboard into the Ronal love boat, which developed the famous Inca wheel, which by the way you looked at it, it looks questionable. Soon, Audi was onboard with the whole fuck yeah brand, and Ronal was ready to go, because by the time that they entered into more partnerships they were producing worth 350,000 wheels. And this was just OEM wheel production.

    This had nothing to do with the racing, motor sport and anything in between. From there, Ronal went international. They were in like Flynn by the 1980's producing aftermarket racing wheels and dominating the OEM market as one of the largest manufacturers in the world. One million wheels by 1984, that's a lot of wheels, and like...(makes noise with mouth) like it's a lot... They also introduced the Ronal R10 Turbo which was likely the most infamous Ronal wheel to hit the market and the streets at the time and if you go out there to try and find some of them, they're extremely difficult. They're considered probably one of the most difficult wheels to get their hands on, right next to the Turbo and multipiece Turbo that you can actually find, I believe there are few people that actually own the set, and it's kinda interesting to see such success with the R10 Turbo because I'm pretty sure the Ronal teddy bear came out shortly thereafter. Bizarre wheels, go check it out. Anyway Ronal began diving into racing and motorsport with their wheels to establish credibility as not only being the brand for OEM, but for the aftermarket too, and it worked because Ronal was synonymous with quality in racing, they're also synonymous when it came to just creating quality products that didn't break the bank and for OEM manufacturers, that was a big deal.

    Now for the most part, Ronal was trying to do both. They were trying to make OEM wheels and aftermarket wheels at the same time and if you know any company out there that's trying to do that, it is extremely difficult. Most companies just decide to go into OEM because you can make more many than you could making aftermarket wheels. I'm sorry, Instagram bills just don't cut the bill, when you're, you know, making a million wheels. Every car company wanted a factory for Ronal because it just made it easier for them to produce wheels. At the time, Ronal was exploding. They built plants, and that worked. The plants that they did build for specific companies, most of them ended up going out of business or transferring over into different segments, and that was probably the biggest hurdle as plants were just trying to stay open outside of Ronal's core network. The original partnership between Norbert and Carl maintained as Norbert continued to crush wheel designs until his ultimate retire in 2003, and Carl continued to push the Ronal name until his death in 1991. OEM continues to grow, and to this day, more than 17 million wheels and 5500 employees carry the Ronal badge. Ronal continues to be probably one of those dominant companies out there, even though a lot of companies just really haven't heard of them and people like you and me, really don't care too much about OEM wheel production.

    But there is probably a brand that you do know, and do care about, and that's Speed Line. They ended up buying Speed Line Corsa and Speed Line Truck. They just wanted to have an aftermarket wheel brand that they could really kinda just bring on without having to do all the heavy lifting while Ronal just did all the OEM stuff and it really just kind of succeeded. Everybody loves Speed Line, everybody loves Ronal, even they don't really know who Ronal is, which is completely fine. Ronal continued to push the Speed Line brand and because Speed Line had extensive knowledge and flow farming, which is something Ronal sorely needed, Ronal just picked them up, and shortly thereafter, Speed Line Trucks was also created for commercial vehicles and to make a little bit extra money. They started San Swiss, they took over Fullchamp, which is a full forged wheel specialist company and takes a hefty bite of the market share from Carbon Revolution in 2013. So Ronal is going absolutely anywhere, and they continue to grow just by acquiring different companies and essentially kinda being the cool kids on the block because they're one of the first people to make the carbon fiber wheel.

    Ronal's history of wheels may seem like it's only OEM and you'd be maybe kinda right, but they do have a lot of stuff in the aftermarket scene and it's considered one of the biggest reasons a lot of the German competition in aftermarket wheels exists is because of Ronal. So that's everything that we have on Ronal wheels. Hope you guys enjoyed, don't forget to subscribe and of course if you're looking to kick up some wheels, tires, or suspension, check out fitmentindustries.com. I'm Alex, from Fitment Industries, we'll see you later, peace.