“You usually meet twice in life,” goes an old saying. This is also the case for Sotaro Takahashi and Rolf Hartge. Together they have founded Rolfhartge Japan LTD. The aim of Rolfhartge Japan LTD. is to jointly develop the Japanese market for the current, future-oriented product range of Rolfhartge GmbH in Überherrn.
The two meet in 1994 on the occasion of the IAA in Frankfurt and immediately decide on a long lasting and very successful cooperation. Sotaro had fallen in love at first sight with the Mercedes-based automobiles refined by Rolf. He was particularly taken with the C 74 – V 12, a super coupé built on the basis of the Mercedes-Benz SL 600 with 584 hp and a mechanical Getrag 6-speed manual gearbox, because this model had the largest displacement V 12 engine ever built, 7414 cc, and accelerated from zero to one hundred in an incredible 4.2 seconds at the time.
Sotaro was equally impressed by the small C 35, a real racer based on the Mercedes-Benz 190e-2.6 l. It was with this C 35 (3.5 l displacement) that Michael Schumacher drove the fastest lap time of the entire present group of horsepower giants at the big Auto Bild test of the fastest Mercedes Benz in the world on the legendary Nordschleife of the Nürburgring with a record-breaking 8 minutes 54. At 252 km/h, the C 35 was also the fastest in this test in terms of top speed.
Since all good things come in threes, it still takes something to decide to work with Rolf immediately and on the spot. This third product was the lightest aluminum wheel in the world at the time for Mercedes-Benz models, the ULTRA LIGHT 1/ 16 wheel, which Rolf had developed in close cooperation with APP, the well-known U.S. forge of light alloy products, which until then had only produced forgings for the aerospace and aircraft industries. As an absolute expert in light alloy wheels, highly respected in Japan, Sotaro was finally convinced of the decision to work exclusively with Rolf. Rolf’s then developed and much copied wheel design type 1/ 16 is still today one of the most successfully sold aluminum wheel designs not only in Japan.
Thanks to the consistent and professional work and qualified marketing that Sotaro does in Japan, after only a few years he becomes not only Rolf’s best importer, but the strongest importer for sporty and luxury automotive accessories in Japan across all luxury brands.
Today the circle is closed. With the foundation of Rolfhartge Japan LTD. in Hamamatsu, Rolf and Sotaro are working together again on an exclusive basis, so that a friendship that has lasted 27 years is continued on the business level.
Visit Rolfhartge Japan LTD. at http://www.r-hartge.com