Our founder, Louis L. Borick, was an entrepreneur and founded Superior in 1957 with modest beginnings.
The early years of Superior were focused on aftermarket products. The first products were a bug screen, shock absorbers, seat belts, etc. However, the Company’s leading product during its early years was the “Sport Grip”, which it introduced in 1966. This steering wheel cover utilized Superior’s patented Porotherm® material that was designed to increase driving comfort while providing a more secure and safer grip on the steering wheel for the driver. Ultimately, Sport Grip became the world’s leading steering wheel cover with over 100 million being sold.
Automotive Wheels Become the Hub of Our Products
Superior began production of chrome wheels in 1968. With the hot rod and custom car industry making huge strides in California, it was the place to be. It was from there that the first aftermarket aluminum wheels were produced. The first oil shock of the early 70’s ushered in a need for additional light weight vehicles and from that came the idea to approach an OEM.
Success with its aftermarket wheels ultimately led to automotive OEMs desiring to incorporate Superior wheels into new automobile offerings. In 1974, Ford Motor Company contracted with Superior to begin production of the first cast aluminum wheels for the Mustang II. By 1977, Superior was a staple on the Mustang II and was awarded a multi-year contract.
The growth in Superior’s product offerings and market acceptance as well as the need for further capital to fund growth encouraged Superior to go public. Superior’s IPO was on November 18, 1969 when it offered 320,000 shares of common stock at an issuance price of $12.50 per share. The Company’s subsequent growth and success led to its stock being listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1989, where it continues to trade today.
Production Capacity Mirrors Sales Growth
Superior’s growth in production facilities mirrored the growth in the success of its products. The Company opened a facility in Van Nuys, California, in 1968 to support production of the Company’s aluminum wheels. Soon to follow in 1987 was a large facility in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This new facility had the capacity to produce 2.5 million wheels annually.
By 1994, continued demand for Superior’s wheels and the passage of NAFTA led Superior to open its first manufacturing facility outside of the United States in Chihuahua, Mexico. This facility provided Superior with a significant and reliable capacity of 2.5 million wheels annually for its entry into new markets. By 2002, customer demands required the opening of a second facility in Chihuahua, this one with an annual capacity of 2.75 million wheels. Soon thereafter, a third facility in Chihuahua was opened, having an annual capacity of 2.75 million wheels. The Company’s most recent facility, again in Chihuahua, Mexico, provides Superior with further capacity of 2.75 million wheels annually, bringing Superior’s total capacity in Mexico to well over 10 million wheels per year.
Superior’s success in the market for automotive wheels did not go unnoticed. The Company’s reputation for performance, quality and value not only allowed it to become the largest supplier of aluminum wheels in the North American market, but also receive accolades from the automotive industry. Louis Borick was personally recognized by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) for his many achievements in 2001.
From its founding in 1957 to 2007, Superior benefited from the leadership of Louis Borick. Through his vision and energy, he converted a company with those humble beginnings with great success.
Lou was joined by his son, Steven Borick, who became a member of Superior’s Board of Directors in 1981. In 2004, Steven was named President and Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board.
In this position, Steven continued building on the strategic vision developed by his father of providing automotive wheels to the OEMs.
In 2014, Steven Borick retired as Chairman and CEO of Superior. Superior’s Board elected Don Stebbins as its President and CEO effective May 5th of 2014. Don is a seasoned auto executive, most recently serving as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Visteon Corporation, a multi-billion dollar publicly traded manufacturer of a wide variety of components for the automotive OEM market. Prior to that, Don served as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Americas and Europe/Asia/Africa, and as Senior Vice President and CFO for Lear Corporation.
The key components of the Company’s strategic plan included expanding Superior’s global competitiveness as well as its product innovation and technology, continuing to evaluate opportunities for growth and value creation, applying a balanced approach to capital allocation and heightening Superior’s visibility with the financial community. As Mr. Stebbins stated: “Given the solid foundation of Superior that I have inherited, the momentum for continued progress at Superior already existed. Harnessing the existing relationship with our customers and the capabilities and talents already in place will enable us to remain a leading supplier of automotive wheels in the world.”
The UNIWHEELS Acquisition
On May 31, 2017, Superior acquired the UNIWHEELS Group, marking a great milestone in the Company’s history. This transformative acquisition created one of the largest providers of aluminum wheels for the automotive market with a highly-diversified customer base, a broad array of value-added products and significant geographic breadth. Additionally, Superior became one of the leading manufacturers of alloy wheels in the European aftermarket, now owning the four renowned brands of ATS, RIAL ALUTEC, and ANZIO.
The foundation of the UNIWHEELS Group, with roots in the late 60’s, was ALUTEC Leichtmetallfelgen GmbH in 1996 created by Ralf Schmid. In 1998, RIAL Leichtmetallfelgen GmbH was acquired. In order to guarantee further growth and international competitiveness, the construction of a new ALUTEC/RIAL production plant of alloy wheels began in the year 2000 in Stalowa Wola, Poland.
UNIWHEELS Group was founded in 2005, based on ALUTEC and RIAL. In February 2008, UNIWHEELS took over the European activities of the ATS Group with the parent plant in Werdohl and a larger plant in Poland, ideally positioned at the same location of the production of UNIWHEELS in Stalowa Wola, Poland. This led to an increase of the annual production volume from 2 million to 7 million wheels.
UNIWHEELS Holding (Germany) GmbH was changed into a stock company in 2014 under the name UNIWHEELS AG and became a publically traded company on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. The last day of trading for UNIWHEELS stock was February 19,2018 and it was delisted from WSE on February 20, 2018.