The vaunted convertible-building firm is headed into bankruptcyEnlarge Photo
Last year a spate of bankruptcy threats and possible acquisitions or closures hit the coachbuilding industry, but today Karmann, perhaps most famous for the Karmann Ghia conversion, is closing its doors. Bankruptcy is the next step, and it's not clear if the firm will come out the other side.
The final car built by Karmann, which also does contract work for other carmakers, was a Mercedes-Benz CLK
- now replaced by the E-Class Coupe. The convertible rolled off the line on Monday. A company statement said simply, "Today, the last car built entirely by Karmann rolled off the assembly line," reports The Straits Times
, leaving the world to guess at the possibility of a new Karmann coming back to life with one or more co-owners.
The shutdown and insolvency filing was precipitated most immediately by a fight with its workers union, IG Metall, but ultimately the industry slowdown, which has called for a reduction in production capacity across the board, is to blame.
The Karmann Ghia, a coachbuilt Volkswagen coupe and convertible, along with the Beetle, Ford Escort, Mercedes CLK and several Audi cabrios, accounted for Karmann's 3.3 million-vehicle output since 1949.