The History of Brembo Brakes

You’ve probably heard of “Brembo brakes.” They are appearing on more and more FCA cars we hear from Rockland Chrysler of Nanuet, NY, so we thought we’d pen a quick history for you.

Brembo S.p.A. is an Italian manufacturer of automotive brake systems, especially for high-performance cars and motorcycles. It was established in 1961 in Bergamo (Italy). Today, with 5400 employees, Brembo operates in 3 continents and has production plants in 12 countries and sells products in 70 Countries in the world. Here’s the history of the Brembo company.

The 1960s

Brembo was founded just outside Bergamo in 1961 by Emilio Bombassei, the father of the group’s current president. While it began as a small mechanical workshop, the experience of its founder Bombassei soon lead to contracts supplying components to companies such as Alfa Romeo and Fiat. In 1964, Brembo started production of the first Italian brake discs for the spare parts market. Soon afterwards, production activities were broadened to include brake calipers, rotors, pads and other brake system parts.

The 1970s

During the 1970s, things happened fast for Brembo. In 1972, Brembo secured a deal as the principle supplier of brake systems for Moto Guzzi. This was a major coup and soon they were talking directly to Enzo Ferrari about equipping Ferrari Formula 1 race cars. At this point, Brembo was becoming a major name.

The 1980s

During the 1980s, Brembo focused on developing innovative products and processes, with a clearly defined strategy of expansion in specialized areas of the motor vehicle marketplace. During this time, Brembo introduced an aluminum brake caliper for automobiles which was revolutionary in both design and materials. It was quickly adopted by high performance car manufacturers such as Porsche, Mercedes, Lancia, BMW, Nissan and Chrysler. 

In 1983, to give itself a more international scope, Brembo acquired Kelsey-Hayes, a US based multi-national braking systems manufacturer. The resulting collaboration allowed Brembo to grow and consolidate itself quickly.

The 1990s

In March 1993, as a consequence of a new corporate strategies, Kelsey-Hayes withdrew as a shareholder in the company. This allowed the company to once again be a 100% owned Italian company. The company continued to grow and was listed on the Milan Stock Exchange in 1995.

The 2000s

Brembo inaugurated the new millennium by acquiring the Brazilian company Alfa Real Minas and the British company AP Racing Limited. To strengthen its presence in the motorcycle segment, Brembo acquired 70% of Marchesini, a company specialized in the production of magnesium wheels for race motorcycles.

 The 2000s saw Brembo’s incursion into the Chinese market, with the creation of a joint venture with Yuejin Motor Group and Nanjing Yuejin Automotive Brake Systems. In January 2010, Brembo Nanjing Foundry Co. Ltd purchased a cast iron foundry from Donghua Automotive Industrial Co. Ltd, a member of the Saic group, China’s leading manufacturer of automobiles and commercial vehicles. The facility is now capable of offering braking systems to the Chinese market that meet Brembo’s standards for performance, style and comfort.

2009 was another landmark year, when Brembo inaugurated its new plant in India for the production of braking systems for motorcycles and scooters, and launched the new brand Bybre dedicated to braking systems for scooters and small-mid engine size motorcycles for the BRIC markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

The 2010s

In 2010 construction got under way for the expansion of this industrial centre, inaugurated in October 2011, for the automobile and commercial vehicle markets, with a goal of doubling output of brake discs.

In 2014, the company inaugurated its plant in Michigan to produce brake systems for its main automotive customers in the North American market. Immediately afterwards, Brembo announced the start of construction on a cast iron foundry in Michigan, in an area adjacent to the new plant in Homer, commencing the process in the United States of vertical integration of production capacity. The foundry, together with the technical departments and the warehouse, will cover an area of 30,000 square metres and in all will provide 250 new jobs at the offices in Homer and Plymouth.


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