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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

HELLA celebrates 125th birthday in Germany and 65th in UK

Date: Tuesday 28 May 2024

It’s double celebration time at HELLA, as the company commemorates 125 years since first being founded in Germany, and also 65 years since its UK arm opened. To mark the occasion the company is running a special competition, with 125 HELLA merchandise products up for grabs with the winners being announced on the company’s official birthday next month.

“To celebrate the milestone, we’re putting limited-edition HELLA merch into the hands of our loyal customers worldwide,” said HELLA UK Managing Director Neil Grant. “All they have to do is go to the competition on our website.”

Prizes include vouchers and an array of branded items, with the biggest being a ‘Masters at Work’ football table. The 125 winners from across Europe will be drawn and notified on 11th June 2024, exactly 125 years since the company first opened its doors.

HELLA first appeared in 1899 as WestfälischeMetallIndustrie AG (WMI) in Lippstadt, Germany, where the company focused on paraffin lamps and bulb horns for the nascent automotive sector. The name HELLA emerged in 1908 as the brand for the company’s range of acetylene gas headlamps.

Many more innovations were brought forward over the years, including the first electrical generator, red tail lights and yellow brake lights in 1915, and the first headlight to offer dipped and main beam as symmetrical light from one lamp in 1924.

Fast-forward to the post-war period, and the late 1950s saw HELLA expanding across the world, including opening in the UK for the first time in 1959, and Australia in 1961. “Since expanding around the globe,” said Neil, “HELLA has become a familiar name in workshops everywhere with over 125 locations in around 35 countries, including the UK and Ireland.” 

In 1962, the company introduced the first auxiliary lamp to use a halogen bulb, and 1965 saw the first electronic flasher unit, inaugurating the electronic era for vehicles. New ideas abounded through the years, including the first xenon headlamps in 1991, with mass production just one year later. Looking towards the ADAS revolution, the first front camera with traffic sign recognition came out in 2007. In 2021, HELLA and Faurecia agreed to a strategic collaboration, which ultimately led to the formation of the new parent company Forvia.

To enter the HELLA 125th birthday prize draw, go to: