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    • The tuning world is unforgiving and rough, HPF closes its doors. R.I.P. Horsepower Freaks

      Sad, sad day indeed for the BMW community. The aftermarket tuning game is not an easy one. Especially when it comes to BMW's these days with ever increasing sophistication of their electronics and BMW doing everything in their power to prevent modification. Thankfully, there are some companies that simply do not give up and do what many say can't be done. For quite a while on the E46 M3 platform, HPF was forging ahead into territory nobody else was willing to tackle.


      The S54 engine in the BMW E46 M3 early on had a reputation of being made out of glass due to bearing failures. People said stock motors could not hold together let alone forced induction examples. This was quickly dispelled as the motor more and more often showed incredible gains with forced induction. HPF themselves pushed the motor to over 700 wheel on stock internals. Recently, people have been doing in the high 6XX wheel range on stock internals as if it no sweat.

      Basically, HPF helped pioneer the turbo market for the E46 M3. There are new options coming just now (over a decade after the car hit the market) which goes to show just how difficult it is to do this. HPF had options to turbo the E46 M3 when nobody else had options to turbo the E46 M3. They were the main game in town and deserve respect for it. But... even the mighty can fall and a single platform can not sustain anyone forever.

      Unfortunately an employee stole from HPF something over $200k (who knows what the real amount truly is and just how much he got away with) and unfortunately Chris made a poor choice with his new insurance company who only covered $25k in theft. The insurance company and HPF went to court and HPF lost. BimmerBoost is somewhat surprised a quarter million can sink a ship of this size but clearly there were other issues at play.

      Whether one wants to put the blame on the owner Chris or not it's hard to say what frivolous spending might have gone on. Chris did reach a high point in the BMW tuning market in the USA and nobody can take that away from him. Numerous magazine spreads, hundreds of turbo kits sold, and a household name on BMW forums. That deserves respect and is a level few can or will reach.

      Sustaining that is another thing entirely though. Busty young women don't come cheap. Dedicated drag cars for forum boasting aren't cheap. There is a reason rockstars tend to burn out fast. Is that what happened here? In retrospect it's easy to say this and that should have been done instead but Chris also did get somewhat of a second chance with a forum member investing cash into the company recently.

      Unfortunately, it seems that amount was not enough and now the doors are closed and people are laid off. What will happen to current orders? Members on this site are waiting for their parts. What will happen to the cars still there? Some have been removed, some remain. What will happen to Chris Bergermann? Is this it? Not going to be easy to climb back up after already being at the top of a platform for quite some time with little capital to work with and he certainly isn't getting younger.

      I for one want to thank HPF for their support. Chris was always kind to me, always supportive, and always wished me well. He always wanted me to succeed and I wasn't even a customer of his. To him I was just some random kid building a forum. I did an interview with Chris back in 2010: http://www.germanboost.com/content.php?426-BimmerBoost-Interview-with-Chris-Bergermann-Owner-of-Horsepower-Freaks

      I suggest any interested party take a look or listen to it (audio is posted). It shows how far HPF came in just 9 years at the time of the interview.

      I wish you well Chris, I wish all your employees well, and I hope you move on positively. It's a rough and cuthroat business. When you are on top, people just want to tear you down. It's easy for people to talk down sitting comfortably behind their monitor without realizing how many peoples lives this affects. Hopefully there is a learning lesson here that makes everyone stronger and hopefully nobody is going to bed hungry at night as a result of this. You'll land on your feet Chris. Good luck and thank you, from BimmerBoost.
      This article was originally published in forum thread: HorsePowerFreaks is apparently closing its doors started by folgrz View original post
      Comments 266 Comments
      1. Twinturbom3's Avatar
        Twinturbom3 -
        HPF did good things for E46 M3. Period.

        If HPF did not exist, no plug and play kits would exist till 2012.

        So yes HPF did good things for M3 E46.

        HPF left the supra market and jumped into M3 market. I wrote about this 6 years ago, claimed they will leave the m3 market one day. that day has come.

        Any tuner has to sell X amount of parts and kits to surive.

        If the tuner sells more than X amount it will be called profit.

        Part of that profit will be used for R&D and for devoloping new parts and products.

        If the sales drop and if the sales are not enough the tuner will loose Money.

        Orange company M3 was loaded but fast.
        Drag company M3 was loaded but not fast.

        E46 M3 market slowed down. True.

        Supra market survived much longer than M3 cause the Supra went 7s 8s 9s at the track.

        E46 M3 or HPF M3 did not go 9s 8s and this kept some potential customers away.

        If HPF could build 7s or 8s or even 9s M3s they would have a wider customer portfolio.

        Yes the E46 M3's resale value drops and drops. But 8 and 9s M3s would be an aid.

        they did good things, RIP.
      1. GG///M3's Avatar
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Sad, sad day indeed for the BMW community. The aftermarket tuning game is not an easy one. Especially when it comes to BMW's these days with ever increasing sophistication of their electronics and BMW doing everything in their power to prevent modification. Thankfully, there are some companies that simply do not give up and do what many say can't be done. For quite a while on the E46 M3 platform, HPF was forging ahead into territory nobody else was willing to tackle.

        Click here to enlarge

        The S54 engine in the BMW E46 M3 early on had a reputation of being made out of glass due to bearing failures. People said stock motors could not hold together let alone forced induction examples. This was quickly dispelled as the motor more and more often showed incredible gains with forced induction. HPF themselves pushed the motor to over 700 wheel on stock internals. Recently, people have been doing in the high 6XX wheel range on stock internals as if it no sweat.

        Basically, HPF helped pioneer the turbo market for the E46 M3. There are new options coming just now (over a decade after the car hit the market) which goes to show just how difficult it is to do this. HPF had options to turbo the E46 M3 when nobody else had options to turbo the E46 M3. They were the main game in town and deserve respect for it. But... even the mighty can fall and a single platform can not sustain anyone forever.

        Unfortunately an employee stole from HPF something over $200k (who knows what the real amount truly is and just how much he got away with) and unfortunately Chris made a poor choice with his new insurance company who only covered $25k in theft. The insurance company and HPF went to court and HPF lost. BimmerBoost is somewhat surprised a quarter million can sink a ship of this size but clearly there were other issues at play.

        Whether one wants to put the blame on the owner Chris or not it's hard to say what frivolous spending might have gone on. Chris did reach a high point in the BMW tuning market in the USA and nobody can take that away from him. Numerous magazine spreads, hundreds of turbo kits sold, and a household name on BMW forums. That deserves respect and is a level few can or will reach.

        Sustaining that is another thing entirely though. Busty young women don't come cheap. Dedicated drag cars for forum boasting aren't cheap. There is a reason rockstars tend to burn out fast. Is that what happened here? In retrospect it's easy to say this and that should have been done instead but Chris also did get somewhat of a second chance with a forum member investing cash into the company recently.

        Unfortunately, it seems that amount was not enough and now the doors are closed and people are laid off. What will happen to current orders? Members on this site are waiting for their parts. What will happen to the cars still there? Some have been removed, some remain. What will happen to Chris Bergermann? Is this it? Not going to be easy to climb back up after already being at the top of a platform for quite some time with little capital to work with and he certainly isn't getting younger.

        I for one want to thank HPF for their support. Chris was always kind to me, always supportive, and always wished me well. He always wanted me to succeed and I wasn't even a customer of his. To him I was just some random kid building a forum. I did an interview with Chris back in 2010: http://www.benzboost.com/content.php...sepower-Freaks

        I suggest any interested party take a look or listen to it (audio is posted). It shows how far HPF came in just 9 years at the time of the interview.

        I wish you well Chris, I wish all your employees well, and I hope you move on positively. It's a rough and cuthroat business. When you are on top, people just want to tear you down. It's easy for people to talk down sitting comfortably behind their monitor without realizing how many peoples lives this affects. Hopefully there is a learning lesson here that makes everyone stronger and hopefully nobody is going to bed hungry at night as a result of this. You'll land on your feet Chris. Good luck and thank you, from BimmerBoost.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Shall we buy it?

        Click here to enlarge
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        @Forcefed M3 why in the world did you invest so much money and what the hell are you going to do now?
      1. 0-60Motorsports's Avatar
        0-60Motorsports -
        I just want my parts order I've was waiting on for ten days. The parts are way important right now due to deadline on customers car than the money. I really hope that he honor current paid for orders before shutting down for good.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 0-60Motorsports Click here to enlarge
        I just want my parts order I've was waiting on for ten days. The parts are way important right now due to deadline on customers car than the money. I really hope that he honor current paid for orders before shutting down for good.
        It's already shut down Ejaz...
      1. 0-60Motorsports's Avatar
        0-60Motorsports -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        It's already shut down Ejaz...
        Yeah I'm hoping. I've already filed for a claim from the credit card company. So what will happen to people's cars that were at hpf and people's engines etc?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 0-60Motorsports Click here to enlarge
        So what will happen to people's cars that were at hpf and people's engines etc?
        I don't know.
      1. inlineS54B32's Avatar
        inlineS54B32 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by ccsykes Click here to enlarge
        Chris told me once the majority of the business was from online retail sales. I'd imagine they were just over leveraged.
        I am going to be honest about this (re: Online sales). I was ordering brake pads (just the pads - nothing else) for my M3 - and decided to order them from HPF. This was about 3-4 months back. I live in Chicago - basically, they said I needed to fax them a copy of my license to order a set of pads (total cost was like 200 bucks - in other words, nothing).

        It was very odd to me that a company like this would do something like this. I understand it's important to ensure that people are not using other people's information, but this was over the top. I had a feeling something was up at this point, and didn't have the time to fax this information over - and ordered from someone else.

        Anyone else run into this? Curious if someone was screwing with me, or if stuff like this happened all the time.

        I really liked HPF, and have always wanted an older M3 with their kit. Damn shame.
      1. 0-60Motorsports's Avatar
        0-60Motorsports -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        I don't know.
        Yeah. My point is my parts were right there scheduled to be shipped out today as informed to me by Kirk and now I have to go through the BS of Claiming back money etc and rearraging the parts again. FML.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 0-60Motorsports Click here to enlarge
        Yeah. My point is my parts were right there scheduled to be shipped out today as informed to me by Kirk and now I have to go through the BS of Claiming back money etc and rearraging the parts again. FML.
        I think the people out of work now are having a bit rougher... you'll get through it, no big deal. Bigger issues for people like their livelihood.
      1. inlineS54B32's Avatar
        inlineS54B32 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by ZooyorQ Click here to enlarge
        Commanderwigen and I were both victims of the scam pulled by David @ HPF. Its a complicated scam involving discounting retail items post sale then adding items onto the invoice, then taking those items and selling them to someone else at a discount for cash, on the side.

        HPF loses revenue from it, but in most cases doesn't lose actual cash.. until the scheme colapases and there's no more invoices to discount, money to shuffle. Which right after Kenton and I discovered it, David had been in over his head in the shuffling of funds and quit HPF.. I spoke with a detective regarding the situation. I also wrote a 2 page email with spreadsheet depicting exactly how David was doing the scam.. trust me.. I know that scam real well. I worked fraud protection when I was much younger (internally at a large electronics retailer) and audited credit card reconciliation reports, etc. So I knew what he was doing right away. That certainly didn't help.. but thats not what put them under.

        David was an awesome salesman, a scam artist but also a very likeable salesman. I believe he had many oversea's race teams as accounts. Buying brakes, clutches, and etc in bulk. When David left (knowing him) he probably took those accounts to another friend that owns a shop, or something like that.. and asked for a kick back based on sales. This is totally speculation..

        That likely hurt HPF more than the fraud itself.

        Its also interesting how HPF worked as an ecosystem. If you brought your E46 M3 in there for a kit you likely also spent another few thousand dollars on install, and non-hpf parts (brakes, mounts, sway bars, bushings, tires, what have you)... when the volume of E46 m3's coming in the door slowed down, so did parts sales likely.. it was a huge ecosystem all based on one car, the e46 m3.. and that car started wanning as other competitors entered. Then rather than downsize Chris likely tried to keep everyone on staff and push through the lul in business.. when it never bounced back he couldn't recoup from the debt and money shuffling internally (aka taking money from customers that would go to pay vendors and instead paying payroll, etc).. and it turned into a house of cards and collapsed.

        It happens pretty frequently with small businesses unfortunately.

        I am extremely curious how this works. Can you explain the scam with the following?

        One customer w/ one invoice w/ one part costing $5,000. What you are saying makes sense, but also doesn't, and I want to understand this scam.

        Thanks
      1. bigdnno98's Avatar
        bigdnno98 -
        @VargasTurboTech and @Terry@BMS Click here to enlarge

        I could be a 1% shareholder LOL

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
      1. Laloosh's Avatar
        Laloosh -
        I have a very hard time believing that scam is what made them go belly up. The way the scam was explained makes it a long term scam, not a one time hit. Im not sure who this Dave guy is or how long he worked there, but to steal 200k of inventory would take years upon years in small incriments for it not to be noticed.
      1. 0-60Motorsports's Avatar
        0-60Motorsports -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Laloosh Click here to enlarge
        I have a very hard time believing that scam is what made them go belly up. The way the scam was explained makes it a long term scam, not a one time hit. Im not sure who this Dave guy is or how long he worked there, but to steal 200k of inventory would take years upon years in small incriments for it not to be noticed.
        It was a long t,e scam as david was there for a long time.

        this is from E46F:
        Ive just talked to HPF and also just finished looking over the thread.

        HPF is not running away with anyones money, thats absurd. Theres more speculations here than real customers that are being helped currently.

        Tomorrow, from the phone conversation i gather as much.....

        as today was a very tough day for chris and the whole crew, the thread will be opened back up when HPF is ready after going through and evaluating priorities like cars that are being built/setup in the shop.

        I think all that needs to be said in this thread has been said, the more developing news that come out in the next few days, we will all be informed as a community. I am closing this for now.

        So I hope we and others won't be left hanging.
      1. cstavaru's Avatar
        cstavaru -
        I think that the theft was only part of the problem. From what I noticed over time reading about them, they basically failed to innovate on the new platforms and the e46 M3 platform was declining as far as sales go. They should have moved much faster onto the e92 M3 and the N54 platforms, there was quite a bit of money to be made on those platforms.

        What I find funny is that most businesses start with a car which they modify and they learn a lot from it such that they can make money of it at some point in time. But then the market evolves and that car is not representative for the market anymore, and they fail to see what is obvious.

        One company that has my admiration on how they are moving with the market is BMS. They just buy cars with the newest engines out of the profit from the old engines tuning instead of begging for customers to bring in cars and play guinea pigs for them.

        As far as I remember HPF had a customer's car on which they did their turbo kit and exhaust for the 335i. How much would a used N54 cost ? Probably around 15-20k. The e92 M3 is more expensive but they didn't have to buy a very well maintained car to create some stuff for it.

        Just my opinion, maybe I'm wrong.
      1. Evo2xi's Avatar
        Evo2xi -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by ZooyorQ Click here to enlarge
        I hope you get your stuff man. I wish Chris would have given a 3 day notice or something, allowing the staff to properly wrap things up as best they can.
        I agreed...that's a sign of bad management. Its not like he didn't know that they had a court date ahead of time. He had plenty of time to come up with a contingency plan if they were to loose. Maybe he was too arrogant to think that he wouldn't? I don't know but it hard to believe that he couldn't have given his staff a heads up. I don't think acting like business is usual until @#*! hits the fan was great business management. imo
      1. ajsalida's Avatar
        ajsalida -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by G0TB00ST? Click here to enlarge
        I wasn't clear in my post. The people that invested didn't go off forum opinion they had insider info. they just posted on e46f that they thought they would win and that's why they invested. Does that make sense lol? It's late and I'm tired.
        I don't understand who they were expecting to get money from in a court case for employee theft. Who were they suing, Insurance? something isn't making sense if their policy covered 25k that is pretty unambiguous. Plus they had to be operating in a $200k hole for 2 years, + legal fees, so what they got a bridge loan on an anticipated settlement?

        I have no experience with them but I did raise an eyebrow watching the whole e9x single turbo kit fiasco unfold. So this was going on the whole time behind the scenes? I hope all the customers with outstanding orders/deposits get treated well here.
      1. 0-60Motorsports's Avatar
        0-60Motorsports -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        I think the people out of work now are having a bit rougher... you'll get through it, no big deal. Bigger issues for people like their livelihood.
        True, I am sure intelligent company owners will grab the HPF staff as they were all fantastic to work with.