ALL ALLEGATIONS AGAINST KIENLE ARE UNFOUNDED
- Information concerning counterfeit Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
- Defamation leads to searches at multiple premises
- KIENLE Automobiltechnik is working closely together with the authorities
- Legal proceedings are being instituted
Heimerdingen, 1 June 2023. Yesterday, on Wednesday 31 May 2023, the State Criminal Police Office of Baden-Württemberg carried out a number of searches at the premises of the company KIENLE Automobiltechnik GmbH and at private premises. In a press release, the State Prosecutors’ Office in Stuttgart and the State Criminal Police Office of Baden-Württemberg issued a joint statement outlining the measures relating to suspicion of “fraudulent trading with exclusive classic cars”. According to the allegation, the company is supposed to have manufactured and sold “professional duplicates”.
In concrete terms, this relates to a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster built in 1961, which left the factory painted in the rare colour of Fantasy Yellow (colour code DB658) and was delivered to an owner in Switzerland. After many years of residing in a collection, this vehicle was recently sold. According to the statement, when an attempt was made to register the car in Germany, it emerged that a vehicle with the identical chassis number had already been previously registered there.
In 2019, a sale of this previously registered car was brokered by the company KIENLE Automobiltechnik acting as an intermediary on behalf of the former owner. “There were absolutely no indications evident to us that this vehicle is not the original one,” said Klaus Kienle, Managing Director of KIENLE Automobiltechnik GmbH. A comprehensive range of documents and papers was available that gave no reason for any concerns or objections whatsoever. Furthermore, there was no request to verify the authenticity of the vehicle with a corresponding expert report. Klaus Kienle also emphasises: “This 300 SL Roadster was never in the workshop of KIENLE Automobiltechnik for the purpose of restoration. We only brokered the sale of this vehicle as part of our trading business.” All allegations of fraud against him and his company are therefore unfounded, according to Klaus Kienle.
At the present time, it is not even clear which of the two vehicles is the original and which is a reconstruction. The first step is to carry out investigations in order to establish the origins of the two vehicles.
Expert reports to identify a perfectly crafted fake are inevitably time-consuming and expensive. Moreover, they usually require substantial interventions in the substance of the vehicle. This kind of report can be prepared in response to a request from a client. In particular, the classic-car department of the factory itself offers this service. KIENLE Automobiltechnik indeed recommends this course of action and acts as an intermediary. “However, we were not commissioned to have an expert report prepared in this case,” stated Klaus Kienle.
Klaus Kienle expressly distances himself from forgeries of any kind: “I have earned an outstanding worldwide reputation and a great deal of trust through my knowledge and my experience built up over a period of four decades. For this reason alone, I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in being associated with any form of criminal wheeling and dealing.”
Appropriate legal proceedings are currently being instituted against those individuals who are deliberately fomenting defamatory allegations against KIENLE Automobiltechnik and Klaus Kienle himself with intent to cause reputational damage. KIENLE Automobiltechnik has summarily dismissed without notice an employee who is involved in these spurious allegations.
“We have provided the authorities with all the required documentation and we will, of course, continue to work closely with them without any caveats or exceptions,” stated company Managing Director Klaus Kienle. He added that the behaviour of the officials while they were on the premises was exemplary and all operations were carried out in a spirit of cooperation.
However, Klaus Kienle criticised the press release issued jointly by the State Prosecutors’ Office in Stuttgart together with the State Police Criminal Office Baden-Württemberg. He commented that the press release included fundamental errors and inconsistencies, indicating inadequate expertise and a lack of due care and attention when it was being prepared. Furthermore, representatives of the media had already been informed even before the searches commenced. This action had not only triggered a wave of outrage in the media – commonly known as a shitstorm – but had also unleashed accusations, insults and threats. Owing to the defamatory prejudgement, the reputational damage that has already occurred and the economic consequences, KIENLE Automobiltechnik and Klaus Kienle are instituting the necessary legal action against the individuals and companies involved in the fraud.
If you have any additional questions, you can contact KIENLE Automobiltechnik at any time by sending a mail to info(at)kienle.com or calling +49 7152 90163-0.