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D'Ieteren

D'Ieteren

The Belgian company D'Ieteren is older than the State of Belgium. The company is currently known as Belgium importer of VAG group cars and they were formerly known for their coachbuilding activities and assembly of Studebaker cars and Volkswagens.

Jean Joseph D?Ieteren founded his small workshop close to the center of Brussels in 1805, when Belgium was still part of France. He specialized himself in the production of chariot wheels, but soon started to manufacture complete chariots. Jean Joseph died in 1831, but his two sons Adolphe and Alexandre took over. The youngest, Alexandre, moved to Paris for some time to specialize himself in drawing and reworking woodwork of carriages. In 1857 he established a new and larger workshop the "Nieuwstraat" (Newstreet) in Brussels. The next D'Ieteren generation, Alexandre's sons, Alfred en Emile moved the company to the "Steenweg" (Rock road) in Charleroi.

Alfred en Emile changed the name in "D?Ieteren Frères" and in 1884 they became official suppliers to the Dutch Royal Household. Four years later, after being awarded many times for their creations, they delivered their first chariot to the Belgian Royal Court. In 1897 they built their first body for a motorcar. The company grew bigger and in 1906 they opened new shops in the "Maliestraat nr. 50" in Elsene.

Alfred's sons, Lucien en Albert, took over and from now on they focussed solely on manufacturing automobile coachworks. Chassis from over a hundred 100 brands, of which Impéria, Minerva, Panhard, Renault, Peugeot, Delahaye, Mercedes and Hispano Suiza, were bodied by D?Ieteren. They built about 6000 coachworks in total.
After WW I, the brothers parted. After the economic crash from 1929, Lucien left the trade of building luxury coachworks and became a sales representative for American car brands and trucks like Studebaker, Pierce-Arrow, Auburn and Rockne. To avoid heavy import taxes, Lucien's company started to assembly the chassis and coachworks for the Belgian market.

After WW II, Pierre D?Ieteren managed to obtain the sales rights for VW and so they became the official Belgian distributer of that German manufacturer from 1948 untill this day. D'Ieteren bought a piece of land in 'Vorst' for the assembly of the Studebakers and soon this was followed by the assembly of Volkswagens. Since 1950, Pierre D?Ieteren also became the importer of Porsche.

The Volkswagen factory in Vorst was sold to Volkswagen in 1970. Pierre D'Ieteren died in road accident in 1975 and his son Roland took over management of the now very large D'Ieteren empire.

The enterprise later obtained the exclusive import rights for Belgium for brands like Audi (1974), Seat (1984), Skoda (1992), Rolls-Royce and Bentley (2000) and Lamborghini (2001). D?Ieteren Sport did the import for Yamaha (1975) and MBK (1982).

Since WWII D'Ieteren was no longer involved with the coachbuilding trade, but today Roland D'Ieteren has a share in the newly established 'Touring Superleggera', which is also under management of the Dutch Paul Koot. 

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