Gemballa closed by German authorities? UPDATED

The Gemballa MIG-U1

The Enzo Ferrari based Gemballa MIG-U1. It is being reported that Gemballa's offices have been closed by Government officials

It is being reported that Gemballa’s facility in Germany has been closed by Government officials and cars impounded.

Update 23/2/2010: Gemballa has now filed for Insolvency.

Update 19/2/2010: German news source Bild is also now reporting an ‘exclusive’ on the alleged kidnap of Uwe Gemballa. They say his wife has received a phone call from her husband’s mobile phone demanding €1 million ransom for his release. The call apparently went dead and she has been unable to reach Uwe since. Bild say that Interpol are investigating.

Update 18/2/2010: In yet another twist to this story, it is now being reported that Uwe Gemballa has been kidnapped in South Africa and is being held to ransom. We will update further when we have more details.

In a twist to yesterday’s story about Gemballa’s founder – Uwe Gemballa – being missing in South Africa, we’ve just been called by a contact in Germany who has told us that German Government officials have sealed the offices of Gemballa this morning.

It would be wrong of us to speculate at this point on the reasons for this, although we did hear rumours yesterday about the possible reasons for Uwe’s disappearance which we couldn’t publish.

Our source has told us that the cars at Gemballa have been impounded and the owners are being contacted to provide proof that the cars belong to them or Gemballa. If they are unable to do this the cars will be seized.

We are trying to verify this story as we write, and will update this article as soon as we get more news. We hope the reports are incorrect, but they do come from a good source.

Cars UK Motoring Directory


  1. Mike Burroughs says

    Sadly, Uwe Gemballa is still missing in South Africa, despite efforts from the German and South African police and Interpol to find him.
    Time is not on his side. After this much time, few kidnap victims are recovered.

    Let us pray for his safe return.

  2. Paul says

    Problem is, he may not have any money, it’s well known in the industry that Gemballa has been struggling for a while.

  3. Mike Burroughs says

    One final point that I am sure you will ignore as well:

    Had Uwe Gemballa “gone on the run to South Africa” as so many media pundits allude, he wouldn’t have to hide at all. South Africa is one of dozens of countries that doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Germany. (And there are many of these “no extradition” countries a lot closer than South Africa)
    He could just take his money and his family and set up shop there and thumb his nose at almost everyone.

    But he’s missing. His family is sick with worry.
    But you probably couldn’t care less. You’ve got another story to write.

  4. Mike Burroughs says

    Our company has not experienced any credit problems with Gemballa. Period.

    Is it your assertion that the German authorities seized or impounded vehicles? I’ll help you. Impound: to seize and retain in custody of the law. It didn’t happen.
    The owners were simply called and asked to come and pick them up, showing proof of ownership, of course.

    Anything for a story. If you don’t have the facts, you just make them up.

    • CarsUK says

      We do have facts. Cars were impounded and owners had to fly to Germany to recover them. The facts make a story, not the other way round.

  5. Mike Burroughs says

    Alas, there just seems no end to the distortion. Mrs. Gemballa placed the company in bankruptcy to protect it from the creditors and banks who pounced when Uwe disappeared. 2+2 does not equal 5.

    The online news accounts simply defy logic:
    If he was really going on the run, wouldn’t he arrange any big financial transactions, illegal or otherwise, before he left? Why would he call his wife from SA asking for a million Euros?
    If he was really going on the run, why would his wife involve the police?
    If he was really going on the run, why would he create a new German company before he left?

    Your version has so many holes the Swiss could use it for cheese.

    No, it is my opinion that Uwe Gemballa is being held against his will by person’s unknown. There are many powerful entities trying to find him.
    And I am very worried about him and deeply concerned for his safety.

    • CarsUK says

      Your faith in your ‘friend’ is touching.

      But if you’re really a supplier to Gemballa – as you have claimed – then you must have asked the question for the last few months ‘When are we getting paid?’ Which is the question every other Gemballa supplier we have spoken to has been asking Uwe for months.

      We notice you now no longer seem to take issue with our assertion that cars were impounded? And if you can’t answer you own questions – which to almost anyone would seem to illustrate the root of the issue – then I’m afraid we can’t answer them for you.

  6. Chris says

    If the cars are checked for ownership and impounded, then that means that the cars are linked to the problem and disappearance.

    • CarsUK says

      We’ve said all along that the implication is that the disappearance of Uwe Gemballa is linked to financial problems. We’ve known since the day the German authorities went in to Gemballa that all the assets had been secured by the authorities. Hence owners of cars that were at Gemballa to have work done needing to fly to Germany to prove ownership. The implication of that – which we reported on 16/2 – was that the authorities would be seizing all the assets of Gemballa.

      The fact that Gemballa has now filed for insolvency means it’s likely the Gemballa business will be sold to recover monies owed. We already know of two parties actively seeking to take over the remains of the Gemballa business

  7. tom says

    One of my friends has a Gemballa at the factory having some work done and had been told to go to the factory tomorrow with his ownership documents to prove that he owns the car.

    • CarsUK says

      Thanks, Tom. That confirms what we had been told by a UK Gemballa owner who is also flying to the factory today to prove ownership and recover his car. As we’ve said already, we sincerely hope that Uwe is safe and well. But the ‘kidnap’ story does seem to be full of holes.

    • CarsUK says

      The headline asked the question ‘Has Gemballa been closed by the German authorities’. The updates and comments since have clarified that the Gemballa business is still open. So there is no need to change a valid headline. As soon as we get anything concrete we will publish a new story.

      Welt Online is only reporting what has already been published. They say:

      The famous Porsche tuner Uwe Gemballa has disappeared in South Africa. The prosecution is currently determining whether we are dealing with a kidnapping, as a spokeswoman for the authority said in Stuttgart.

      Which is where we’re at on this.

  8. Mike Burroughs says

    If you had any class at all, you would change the headline.
    Anybody can call Gemballa GmbH today and find out that they are not closed and the cars have NOT been impounded.

    Its always the same: Quick to judge and slow with the truth.

    • CarsUK says

      You’re entitled to your opinion, of course.

      The headline states clearly that we were questioning if Gemballa had been closed by the authorities. We have also added an UPDATE to that – twice. We know that cars have been impounded and we know the authorities have been there for some considerable time. We are being neither dishonest in our reporting or judgemental.

      What we have reported is factual and honest. As always.

  9. Mike Burroughs says

    The Stuttgart Germany newspaper Bild has just reported that Uwe Gemballa is being held in South Africa by kidnappers for a ransom of 1 million Euros.
    Perhaps now you would like to update your story with the facts.

    • CarsUK says

      That report has reached us and we’ll be publishing an update shortly. Everything we have stated so far has been fact.

      • Tom Stoecklein says

        I think the issue is that your article has been interpreted in ways that it doesn’t support. Yes, it’s accepted that ethe BPol stopped in the office. That’s not in dispute. What is, however, are the interpretations of what that means. German police presence has already been thoroughly explained, with moutning evidence to support it.

        Even barring those explanations, the mere presence of government officials at a business where the owner has gone missing is insufficient cause to jump to the conclusions that some have gone to.

        As it stands, there is mounting evidence that Uwe was in fact, kidnapped. However, there is absolutely zero evidence, and only speculation built on misreadings of your original article (albeit prompted by the use of open-ended questions in it, but I’ll save my criticism of that for another day), that he is in fact on the run from the German authorities.

        As such, the individuals and “news” sites that are running with the story (no pun intended) that he’s on the run are committing the most egregious of journalistic sins.

  10. Mike Burroughs says

    2/19/2010: 13:43 PM: I just spoke with the Gemballa company in Leonberg.
    They are open for business. No cars have been seized or impounded.
    Mrs. Gemballa is running the company in her husband’s absence.
    The authorities visited earlier this week to inventory the assets as is customary in these types of cases.
    I am a supplier to Gemballa, and everything is normal.
    Please do better research before posting stories.

    • CarsUK says

      We do stand by the statement that cars have been impounded. We spoke to a Gemballa owner – who is known to us but does not want to be identified – who is having to fly to Germany to prove ownership. It is a remote possibility that the German authorities have a policy of controlling the assets of kidnap victims to prevent a ransom being paid, but we find that highly unlikely. We were told yesterday that the authorities are still ‘all over’ Gemballa’s business, which does tend to indicate there is more to the disappearance than meets the eye.

      But until we know Uwe is safe and well – and we do know him – we are refraining from publishing any more information until it is made public by the authorities.

  11. Ian Kuah says

    There is a vicious rumour on the internet that Gemballa’s HQ was raided and sealed by Government officials yesterday.

    I spoke to a senior manager at the works this morning and he says this is NOT true. Work is going on as normal. Government officials did come to do an inventory and also wanted know what is going on because Uwe is missing, but other than that it is business as usual.

      • Bluestrike2 says

        Well, how about clarifying your original article instead of letting it sit, fodder for the spreading of this false rumor, to reflect Ian’s comment, which has been verified by others across a number of sites, including other Gemballa employees and friends of the family?

      • Mike Burroughs says

        It has been confirmed by German Authorities and the Gemballa family that Mr. Gemballa has indeed been kidnapped in South Africa and is being held for ransom.

What do you think?