History of Marelli Automotive Lighting Brotterode

Marelli Automotive Lighting history reviewed

Seven decades have passed since the beginnings of the industrialized vehicle lighting production of Automotive Lighting in Brotterode. Over the last 70 years, the location has developed into one of the leading manufacturers of high-tech headlamps for passenger cars and has helped to define the world market regarding innovative design and technology.

The production of headlamps in Brotterode dates back to 1947/48 and the company Fahrzeuglektrik Ruhla. In 1990/91 Bosch took over the location. In 1994 with the Ford Fiesta, the plant received its first original equipment project in high volume series production. Many more would follow.

The technology and design requirements of the automobile manufacturers increased rapidly and so did the orientation of the plant.

In 1997, the production of plastic diffusers was introduced and thus the era of glass diffusers replaced. Two years later, the clear lens design and the Litronic-Production (Xenon) were introduced.

Automotive Lighting was founded in 1999 as a joint venture between Magneti Marelli and Bosch. In this way, both companies combined their know-how and many years of experience in lighting technology. After all, through acquiring Carello in 1987, the history of Magneti Marelli in the lighting sector goes back to the end of 19th century while Bosch produced headlights since 1912. In 2003, Automotive Lighting became a 100 % subsidiary of Magneti Marelli.

On 2 May 2019, Magneti Marelli and Japanese car supplier Calsonic Kansei merged to MARELLI, one of the biggest automotive suppliers worldwide so that today, Marelli Automotive Lighting Brotterode (Germany) GmbH is proud to be a lighting division of the MARELLI Group.

Milestones on our way to the future

  • 2019

    Magneti Marelli and Calsonic Kansei unite
    MARELLI, one of biggest global automotive suppliers is born and Automotive Lighting becomes MARELLI’s lighting division MARELLI Automotive Lighting.
  • 2017

    Pixel light brings maximum light output to the roadway
    With the Partial High Beam (PHB) in the Mercedes S-Class, Automotive Lighting once again brings the latest technology to the market, and the currently best light distribution onto the roadway. The innovative PHB light source has 84 individually controllable light pixels per LED chip.

    Movement and coloring in one module for the first time
    The Magic Movement module was developed by Automotive Lighting for the premium vehicle sector of Citroen. It is the first module in which reflectors and design parts, magically, completely rotate around their own axis. For the light functions, individual modules rotate 180 degrees, and follow the curve of the road up to a maximum of 55 degrees. Additionally, a new aspect is offered with the definable coloring via the use of RGB LEDs when the ignition is switched off.
  • 2016

    First REAL MATRIX Headlamp on the Road
    The matrix module with 84 pixel in 3 rows was engineered and developed for Mercedes-Benz. Series production at Automotive Lighting started early 2017.
  • 2015

    A plus for visibility and safety
    Automotive Lighting has developed and mass-produced a Laser-LED-Module for an auxiliary main beam spot for the Audi R8 headlamp. A new feature is the use of a laser light source in the automobile headlight. The laser high beam spot achieves a high-beam range of about 600 meters, whereby conventional high-beams in LED technology reach about 250 meters.
  • 2015

    Automotive Lighting and Audi
    are honored by the Red Dot Design Award. “Best of the Best” for the headlamp of Audi TT3 electronic 1-row matrix.
  • 2014

    LASER-battle by BMW and Audi
    With BMW i8, the bavarian carmaker brings the first Laser High Beam on the road. Audi speeds up and announces at the same time its first Laser High Beam in the R8 LMX model. The headlamp of Audi was made by Automotive Lighting.
  • 2013

    Manufacturing on continually smaller printed circuit boards
    In the electronics component manufacturing, the laser-soldering process supports the production of high-performance LEDs. Automotive Lighting is the world's first user of the laser-soldering process. With the help of laser-soldering, miniaturized product designs on increasingly smaller printed circuit boards are possible for the LED-production.

    First intelligent All-LED Headlamp with ANV and PML
    The intelligent adaptive headlamp with Active Night Vision (ANV) in IRED-technology and Pulsed Marker Light (using motoric controlled cutoff-line) is launched by Automotive Lighting in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
  • 2012

    Light performance and low consumption values
    In close cooperation with Audi, Automotive Lighting has succeeded in creating another lighting innovation. The Full-LED Headlamp of the Audi A7 not only stands for outstanding light performance and attractive design, but also for more safety and comfort during nighttime driving as well as for low consumption values.
  • 2012

    100 years of Electrical Automotive Lighting
    Technology anniversary celebrating
    • since 1978 vehicle lighting from Carello
    • since 1912 electrical automotive lighting from Carello
    • since 1913 full electric lighting systems from Bosch
  • 2011

    Red Dot Design Award
    for the design of the intelligent camera controlled All-LED headlamp “Intelligent Light System” (ILS) of Mercedes-Benz CLS 2nd generation.
  • 2011

    Introduction of the PML for Pedestrian Protection
    The world’s first LED „Active Night Vision“ system (ANV) with LED-based „Pulsed Marker Light“ (PML) is introduced in the Mercedes-Benz in CL-class Coupe.
  • 2010

    First Fully Electronical Controlled Adaptive All-LED Headlamp
    Camera-controlled all-LED-headlamp with electronically controlled adaptive functions started in series production for Audi A7.
  • 2008

    World premiere – First Full-LED-Headlamp
    Automotive Lighting made its world premiere with the first Full-LED-Headlamp for the Audi R8. For the first time ever, all lighting functions are carried out in one headlamp using LED-Technology. These include low-beam, high-beam, daytime-running-light, indicator and position lighting. The Full-LED-Headlamp was introduced into series production. For the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, a dynamic Full-LED Headlamp made of more than 700 individual parts was developed. It includes highway, motorway and bad weather lighting, as well as static cornering lights and enables active night vision by means of infrared lighting and monitor.

    First standard LED ECU for high-power main lighting functions.

    Automotive Lighting´s first All-LED headlamp in the Audi R8 was awarded the „red dot award“ in 2008 in the category of product design.

    Developing and producing at world class niveau
    Automotive Lighting in Brotterode introduces World Class Manufacturing (WCM) as a production system to increase the efficiency of all plant processes.
  • 2005

    AFS with Active Infrared Emitter in Mercedes-Benz S-Class
    In 2005, Mercedes-Benz created a sensation with the first world-wide sold active night vision System ANV. Like the AFS-headlamp as a whole, the active infrared emitter is supplied by Automotive Lighting, Brotterode, Germany.
  • 2004

    Lenses made of two plastic components (2K)
    After an innovative development step, it was possible to introduce the production of 2-component lenses. This increases the variety of designs.
  • 2003

    Automotive Lighting
    becomes 100 % subsidiary of Magneti Marelli.
  • 1999

    Founding of Automotive Lighting
    Automotive Lighting was founded as a joint venture between Magneti Marelli and Bosch. With this, the two companies combined their know-how and many years of experience in lighting technology. The history of Magneti Marelli in the lighting sector goes back to the beginning of the 20th century.

    Clear lens design and xenon light are gaining ground
    The clear lens design as well as the Litronic production (Xenon) are introduced in the Brotterode plant.  
  • 1997

    Plastic replaces glass
    The production of plastic diffusers was introduced and the era of glass diffusers put to an end.
  • 1994

    Ford Fiesta headlamps: Original equipment in high volume series production
    With the Ford Fiesta, the plant receives its first original equipment project in high volume series production. The technology and design requirements of automobile manufacturers for modern headlamps were rapidly increasing, as was the alignment of the plant.
  • 1991

    A new epoque in vehicle lighting started – Xenon-light: Electronic controlled and ignitor switched high intensity discharge bulbs were used the first time in series cars‘ headlamps. Light color changed from 2.800 to 4.600 K – close to daylight. The luminous flux of these first Xenon bulbs trippled the light performance from former 1.000 to more than 3.000 lm. A visibility range of 125 m in low beam and 250 m in high beam mode improved the safety conditions of night time driving.
  • 1990/91

    Brotterode becomes a Bosch location
    Bosch acquires the headlamp manufacturer and modernizes the Brotterode location.
  • 1947/48

    A long tradition of vehicle lighting begins
    The production of headlamps in Brotterode dates back to 1947/48 and the company Fahrzeuglektrik Ruhla.

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