Due to new manufacturing methods, the market for car bodies went downhill in the 1950s and Reutter found itself on hard times.
In 1963 Porsche acquired the Reutter Stuttgart Coach Builder car body factory. What remained was renamed Recaro GmbH & Co, changing its focus to high-end seats.
The company began producing both production seats for Porsche and a separate line of aftermarket seats. In 1969, The Reutter family sold their ownership to three companies, Keiper, Huber & Wagner and Metzeler due to economic problems. In 1983, Keiper purchased all shares in Recaro and established Keiper Recaro GmbH & Co in Kirchheim (Teck) near Esslingen am Neckar.
The success story of the present RECARO company began in 1906 in Stuttgart, as the 32-year old saddler master Wilhelm Reutter founded the company “Reutter, Wilhelm, Saddler. Spezialitat: Luxus- und Motorwagen, englische Geschirre” (Specialities: Luxury and Motor Vehicles, English Ware). Reutter quickly made a name for itself in the up-and-coming automobile industry which was largely positioned in Stuttgart: Bosch, Maybach and Daimler were the big names which wrote history and laid the building blocks for the present location of mobility, Stuttgart.
The business of the saddler master flourished, and in 1910 the company signed with the firm name “Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter & Co” (Stuttgart Coach Factory of Reutter & Co). The young saddler master was innovative and open to new mobility. In his workshop in 1912, the patented Reutter Reform Coach was produced, which later was called the Cabriolet.
Reutter produced coaches for Daimler-Benz, Horch, and companies that have long been forgotten. Not to be forgotten were other icons of the automobile industry with whom Reutter was closely involved.
Professor Ferdinand Porsche had the prototypes of the VW Beetle constructed by Reutter. Also, after the war, the Porsche and Reutter companies worked closely together. The coach company Reutter became famous worldwide with the Porsche 356. Reutter was also active for BMW and the German Postal Service. The coach for the BMW 328 sports car was also produced by Reutter as well as coaches designed to meet the needs of the Postal Service.
The foundation for the present company was laid in 1963, as RECARO was formed as a play on words – Reutter and CAROsserien (coaches). The first RECARO sport seat was introduced in 1965, and in motor racing, the company quickly became a recognized brand name.
RECARO joined with the Keiper company. Even today RECARO operates with headquarters in Kirchheim as an independent member within the internationally active Keiper Recaro Group, active worldwide in a total of 16 locations.
The spirit of the driven, innovative and creative company founder Wilhelm Reutter, appear to also be reflected in the production of automobile seats. In 1965, RECARO introduced the first seat worldwide with a lateral guide, and in 1968 the first seat worldwide with an adjustable shoulder support was introduced onto the market. RECARO redefined sitting in the automobile. Until then, seats in automobiles more closely resembled home seating, not offering any side support. Thus RECARO began a new age. The designers from RECARO entered into discussions with researchers from medicine, ergonomics, and biomechanics. There were crash tests, and the limits of loads on the human body were defined.
From this close and ever more intensive collaboration with universities and specialized physicians, a store of knowledge and experience was collected by RECARO which is surely unique worldwide. RECARO had answered the questions "How should people sit?" and "How is the body correctly supported?" early on:
RECARO introduced the first seat with integrated seatbelt
RECARO introduced a full shell made of sheet steel as a seat structure
The track-breaking innovation in ergonomics was introduced with pneumatic lumbar support
The first vehicle seat with bracing on both sides was introduced
RECARO introduced a vehicle seat with asymmetrical adjustment as a worldwide innovation
was the introduction of the first racing shell with head protection
he lightest serially-produced seat in the world at that time was brought onto the market as the carbon shell seat of the Porsche Carrera GT
Another development first, RECARO succeeds with its new hybrid lightweight shell to revolution the seat structure. This unique lightweight structure not only reduces weight but also offers more space and many design options for the car.
RECARO presents the infant carrier ‘Young Profi Plus’ with its patented innovation allowing it to grow with the baby.
By co-operating with an experienced manufacturer of office chairs, RECARO enables its customers to also sit comfortably in the office.
RECARO celebrates its 100-anniversary with customers, journalists and employees at its place of birth in Stuttgart.
A specially designed seat named “Cross Speed” is launched for off-road vehicles (SUVs)
RECARO becomes a full range supplier in the child seat segment with its newly developed products for the ECE groups 0+, I and II / III with IsoFix or SeatFix.
RECARO celebrates the 50th Football-Stadium to be equipped with its exclusive seats for the players; now many of the world’s top clubs, including Real Madrid, Manchester United, Olympic Lyon, Ajax Amsterdam, Rapid Wien and Sao Paulo are equipped with RECARO benches.
DHL Exel Supply Chain and RECARO sign a co-operation contract for the modular production and logistic of car seats.
From Master Saddler to Global Player; following its relocated in 1973 from the tight spaces of Augustenstraße in Stuttgart to Kirchheim, RECARO has positioned itself as a ‘worldwide’ partner to the automobile industry, fulfilling the most stringent demands and whose revolutionary innovations continue to re-invent the mobile seat. The new lightweight hybrid design for vehicle seats being a perfect example. This new technology allows vehicles designers and manufactures to reduce weight by approximately 20% compared to traditional processes, whilst increasing interior space and offering a huge diversity of individual design solutions.
Examples of this new seating technology from RECARO can been seen in a diverse range of vehicles including, Audi’s S3, RS6, TT and R8 models, the Ford Focus RS and the Opel Corsa OPC.
At the Geneva Automobile Show in the beginning of March 2006, RECARO, in collaboration with the Swiss company Rinspeed, presented a prototype for an automobile seat made of a gel mass, which conforms perfectly to the body and perhaps one day will also be a reality. In the near future, RECARO appears to have a seat in development which will automatically adapt to any person, regardless if he is short, tall, thin or heavy, and always travels in the correct position. This is no longer a utopia, instead, it is the unceasing development of many ideas from many years of research - the path from vision to reality is no longer far.
Milestones of the Company.
1906 Wilhelm Reutter founded his coach company for automobiles on the Schlossstrasse in Stuttgart on October 1st, 1906.
1912 Introduction of the patented “Reutter’s Reform Coach”, a predecessor of the present cabriolet.
1921 Small-lot production for automobile customers such as Adler, Austro-Daimler, BMW, Bugatti, Buick, Dixi, Fiat, Horch, Mauser, Maybach, Mercedes-Benz, Minerva, NSU, Opel, and Steiger.
1935 Reutter received the order to produce the VW Beetle prototype from the Porsche company. 3 years later, the first small-lot production began with 40 VW Beetles.
1944 An air attach on Stuttgart heavily damaged the primary plant. After the war, Reutter, with 94 employees, produced hand trucks and small ovens, as well as repairs of all types, such as the street cars of the Stuttgart Transportation Company.
1949 The company received a large order to produce 500 complete coaches for the new 356 sports car.
1963 Porsche overtook the complete coach factory of Reutter with 1,000 employees. From the name Reutter Carosserie (Coach) became RECARO. The new company with 250 employees produced vehicle seats for Porsche and reclining seats braces. 2 years later, the first RECARO sports seat was introduced at the Automobile Exhibition.
1969 The Reutter family sold RECARO to the companies Keiper, Hubbert & Wagner, and Metzeler.
1971 RECARO begins the production of the first airline passenger seats.
1982 RECARO built the first JIT plant in Bremen and supplied complete seat mountings for the new Mercedes 190. One year later, Keiper bought out all RECARO shares.
1990 On the 8th of September, the new RECARO Center in Kirchheim Tech was opened. Design, development, construction, marketing, and sales are all combined in these attractive buildings.
1997 As part of the reconstruction of Keiper RECARO GmbH & Co. RECARO became an independent company under the roof of the Keiper Recaro Group.
2000 RECARO focuses on premium vehicles in the OEM segment. Through many innovations, this company division has grown to 75% of total sales volume.
2004 RECARO strengthens its newest field of business, “child seating” by taking over the German traditional company “Storchenmuhle”.
2005 Recaro enters a new field with it's new office line by the co-operation with an excellent manufacturer of office chairs.
2006 RECARO celebrates its 100-year birthday with representatives from politics, associations and industry at its place of birth in Stuttgart.
2008 a contract has been signed by DHL Exel Supply chain and Recaro on a co-operation of modul production and logistics of car seats. This business model enables automobile
Much of the material on this website is copyrighted. Original articles appearing herein are subject to copyright. Please don't copy stuff from the site without asking; it may belong to someone! Any trademarks appearing on this site are the sole property of the registered owners. No endorsement by trademark owners is to be construed. The products, brand names, characters, related slogans and indicia are or may by claimed as trademarks of their respective owners. Every effort has been made whenever possible to credit the sources. The use of such material falls under the Fair Use provisions of intellectual property laws.