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From an iron forge to a replacement parts professional: 175 years of Ferdinand Bilstein

Ferdinand Bilstein GmbH + Co. KG is a renowned supplier and producer of replacement parts for passenger cars and commercial vehicles. However, the origins of the Ennepetal business lie somewhere else entirely. When Ferdinand Bilstein was founded in 1844, horses were still the preferred means of transport. The family-run business is celebrating its 175th birthday this year.

Files, chisels, drills, pocket knives: the company traded these and other metal goods in its founding year of 1844. Johann Daniel Bilstein and his son Ferdinand Daniel – after whom the company was named – were responsible in those days. They had a large proportion of the products produced in their own hammer mills.

With the production of a spring bolt, the company succeeded in entering the emerging automotive industry in 1921. The success of this bolt also marked the introduction of “febi”, which quickly became an own brand.

In the 1970s, what was by then the sixth proprietor generation began to gradually supplement the range of products produced in-house with commercial goods in order to meet the rising demand. Today, more than 60,000 different spare parts are supplied. Nevertheless, in-house production has remained an important part of Ferdinand Bilstein: a completely new production hall was inaugurated as recently as 2017.

The anniversary year is coming to life under the motto of “change is our tradition”, with numerous pictures and anecdotes from the company’s history, including on the febi Facebook channel and the website In addition, a history film will be produced specifically for the anniversary.

“We are proud of our history. It is part of our identity,” says Group Managing Director Jan Siekermann. “At the same time, we constantly need to change in order to live up to our claim of being a leading company in the independent aftermarket. Looking back in history is important, but our sights are set firmly on the future.”

Exhibitor: febi Trading (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.


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