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"Avus": the world's most successful steering wheel cover from KAMEI
Good ideas for driving comfort often occurred to Karl Meier as he sat behind the wheel. The steering wheels of the fifties and sixties left a lot to be desired. They transmitted a lot of vibration, felt cold and bare in winter and tired the hand muscles. KAMEI's first remedy was a steering wheel cover of porotherm, a leather imitation out of cellular foam with a comfortable grip. Available in six colours, these first covers paved the way for the "Avus" and "Avus Super" models. Complete with plastic cording and lacing tag. they set out to conquer the world. Whether racing driver or rock'n roll singer, filmstar or chauffeur – everybody in every corner of the globe fell in love with the new, porous steering comfort and its 972 air exchange perforations. Made in Germany and manufactured under licence in the USA, Great Britain and the Philippines, this product has notched up more than 100 million sales, making it by far the most successful steering wheel cover in the world. It is still part of the KAMEI product range, together with the black, leather-coated steering wheel cover "Route 66". Worth getting a good grip on, especially for long trips!
A Shop in Berlin and a factory in Wittlich
In 1966 KAMEI opened a shop in Berlin's best location on Kurfürstendamm for their own driver-comfort products and other car accessories. This state-of-the-art Tuning Shop was a great attraction in those days. To keep up with the high demand for the Avus steering wheel cover an auxiliary factory was established in Wittlich on the River Mosel in 1971. KAMEI now had 130 employees in Wolfsburg and a further 50 in Wittlich. In addition to steering wheel covers, the Wittlich plant was also set up to produce headrests and bucket seats. KAMEI, pioneers in driving comfort, had done it again. The new headrest, successor of the first generation product SK2000, was longer in its rear section and adjustable by means of strong straps. In November 1973 it was subjected to extensive dynamic tests at the Delft TNO (Instituut voor Wegtransportmiddelen) in Holland. Safety first for KAMEI's customers. Meier's sons Klaus and Uwe were meanwhile firmly integrated in the company management, Klaus looking after production while Uwe saw to sales. Business was booming – the Avus was being produced under licence in the USA and even featured on record covers (Donna Summer's "Bad Girls"). By 1980 Avus sales had soared to 20 million. Good news for KAMEI.