Wiesmann MF5 RoadsterEnlarge Photo
Luxury sports car maker Wiesmann has filed for insolvency in its native Germany, the latest niche automaker to be hit by the downturn of the European new car market. Wiesmann is known for its retro-styled roadsters, typically using BMW drivetrains, and the company says it has sold more than 1,600 of its hand-made sports cars since starting up 25 years ago.
According to Bloomberg, the company sells around 200 units per year in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, but declining sales in the European market have hit both major automakers and niche manufacturers alike. Three other German automakers have all filed for bankruptcy in little more than a year.
Artega, producers of the Henrik Fisker-designed GT, was first to file for insolvency back in July 2012. A month later, sports car manufacturer Melkus did likewise, followed barely a week later by supercar maker Gumpert. Even the famous Nürburgring race circuit has suffered financial issues, showing the extent of the industry's troubles.
While major automakers can often ride the storm--a situation Ford of Europe, Opel, the PSA group and Renault are all experiencing--decreasing sales and rising production costs can cripple smaller businesses, who rely on small groups of customers to keep them afloat.
Wiesmann took the wraps off its most recent creation, the 414-horsepower GT MF4-CS, at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show back in March. The track-focused car has a top speed of 182 mph, and only 25 were to be produced.