20 years of BFFT
Exactly 20 years ago, Markus Fichtner and Georg Behr founded the Behr Fichtner Fahrzeugtechnik Gesellschaft. Founded in the same month – Google – the most used internet search engine. Behr and Fichtner began as a two-man business and grew continuously. Today, Google is referred to as a global player, BFFT as a hidden champion. From the beginning, the focus was on automotive electronics with project work in the areas of test beds and automotive engineering for AUDI AG. After just a few years, BFFT received the status of ‘Strategic Development Partner of AUDI AG’. Presently, BFFT has over 850 employees inland and abroad. BFFT’s clients include the Volkswagen Group, in particular Audi AG with headquarters in Ingolstadt.
The purchase of the new headquarters in Gaimersheim near Ingolstadt in early 2012 represents one of the most significant milestones in the history of the company. The building spans four floors with a total area of 10,000 square meters and provides BFFT colleagues with space for creative thinking and new ideas. Special details, such as the lamellae architecture, the modern entrance area as well as exceptional facilities such as the ‘colorful’ cafeteria and the light-flooded workshops, underline BFFT’s claims of ‘premium’ and ‘being different’.
What has always distinguished BFFT is steady growth. The company has continued to grow from year to year. Starting from just a small business, it grew into a well-established, medium-sized company. The logical succession was the establishment of new locations. BFFT Berlin opened its gates as early as 2009 and has had its own building in the capital since 2017. In 2013, another pin was added to the map. The automotive engineering developer opened an office in Regensburg in Upper Palatinate. Now, over 100 employees work there, with the main area of focus being embedded systems engineering. This encompasses the development of software, control units and tools from the creation of specifications to series. In the middle of 2013, the founding of ‘BFFT of America Inc.’ followed with main focus on driver assistance systems, infotainment, simulation and vehicle bodies. Hereby, the first international location was established. It would not be the last however. At the beginning of 2015, ‘BFFT Italia Srl’ was founded, located in Sant’Agata Bolognese. There, BFFT took on tasks in the field of electronics development. At the beginning of 2017, a further office in Crevalcore opened. The last location came to be only very recently. BFFT established a new development hotspot in the Bavarian capital. In the research and technology hub of Munich, employees work on projects hand in hand with the parent company EDAG.
The success of the last 20 years is of course only possible with a happy and highly-motivated team. The chief executive’s focus has always laid on the happiness of his own employees. Every year, BFFT provides its employees with numerous staff events and leisure opportunities. This special spirit has not gone unnoticed either. In recent years, the Behr Fichtner Fahrzeugtechnik Gesellschaft has received numerous awards, including, among others, the HR Excellence Award, which reflects the contentment of the BFFT team. In addition to the big annual events, such as the summer party, Christmas party and BFFT ski trip, once a year a ‘somewhat unusual’ employee meeting takes place. In 2017, for example, the Executive Board summoned employees to the Ingolstadt cinema ‘CineStar’ and the latest company figures were presented, accompanied by popcorn and cola. Customary is a word not known to BFFT CEO Markus Fichtner and therefore every event is awarded its own motto.
For the 20th anniversary of the company, it was the chief executive that was surprised on his arrival. A welcoming committee stood ready with confetti guns and banners in the lobby. In Markus Fichtner’s likewise bedecked office, a handmade BFFT cake was waiting for the CEO. The employees were presented with an anniversary BFFT donut upon entrance to the company premises. The other offices did not go empty handed either and were supplied with fresh donuts.