Thread: Taken advantage of? Betrayed? Kleemann maneuvers to attempt to cut Weistec out of the M156/M159 Supercharger market
12-21-2012, 03:19 PM #1
Taken advantage of? Betrayed? Kleemann maneuvers to attempt to cut Weistec out of the M156/M159 Supercharger market
The sad reality of the tuning game is that others will lie, cheat, and steal your hard work if it benefits them. Any tuner on this network will tell you IP (intellectual property) theft is the single biggest problem facing tuners. A tuner can work for months, even years, on a software solution only for others to download, decompile, and copy it. Proving someone has done this is incredibly difficult and current laws do not protect tuners from software theft. Recently Kleemann sent out a holiday e-mail announcing their M156 supercharger which raised some eyebrows and prompted further research. It certainly appears that Kleemann has decided to (blatantly) betray their agreement with Weistec.
Here is the Kleemann e-mail which came out of nowhere and definitely raised suspicions:
You may remember Kleemann and Weistec announced a global agreement for Weistec products to be sold through the Kleemann distribution network. This happened last year in September. The agreement is below:
Now, what you may not be aware of is that Kleemann approached Weistec regarding this. Why? Well, Kleemann has not made any serious performance parts for some time on Mercedes platforms. They were pretty much getting by living off their name and selling products created by others then taking their cut. That's fine and that is why they approached Weistec who had the first supercharger solution for M156 V8 vehicles.
As Kleemann CEO Claus Ankjaer stated, "the Weistec Supercharge system is a perfect addition to our current product line." Unfortunately, it seems Kleemann took this as a perfect opportunity to illicitly piggyback off the work of someone else.
Kleemann had unrestricted access to Weistec software as they were trusted as a distributor who would flash cars with the software necessary to run the M156/M159 supercharger kits. Obviously, hardware is only one part and to make forced induction kits work on modern German vehicles with their complex ECU's and programming quality software is necessary.
It should raise red flags with everyone that out of nowhere Kleemann comes out with their own M156/M159 supercharger kit when already entered into an agreement with a company who produces such a kit. Additionally, that they did not announce or show any development on this platform. Furthermore, that seemingly out of nowhere their orders from Weistec dropped off significantly to now nothing. I ask, what conclusion would you draw?
Well, if one were to speculate this is likely what happened. Kleemann was selling a fair amount of M156/M159 superchargers developed by Weistec. They realized they had access to the software and took what was necessary for the supercharger to work. They realized they could make a lot more money by cutting Weistec out. They contacted Xtra-Power who was supercharging M156/M159 cars in Europe although they did not have anywhere near as good of a tuning solution as Weistec unable to make their supercharger work with the stock DME. Instead, Xtra-Power relied on a piggy-back solution. They did, however, have the hardware. With this it would appear they developed a Magnuson TVS2300 roots based kit that works with the stock DME in record time. All of this and then quietly dropping Weistec from their website and no longer making any orders with Weistec. I ask again, what conclusion would you draw?
It is unlikely Kleemann's system would have been able to come about on the stock DME without taking a peek at Weistec's software. It is unfortunate Weistec can not really do much about this. If one were to compare the software directly with a raedout from each that would at least be a step towards proof but even then it would be an uphill legal battle to do something about it. Still, it would at least be a battle easily won in the court of public opinion which no doubt would strongly and negatively affect Kleemann's reputation.
Weistec trusted a distributor and got burned. It happens in this game. You just don't expect it to happen with big names who are in mutually beneficial relationships. Just goes to show you can't trust anyone in the tuning game. And if you make a big breakthrough like what Weistec was able to do, you end up having a huge target on your back.
Kleemann will not be able to cut Weistec out completely but definitely will affect Weistec sales in the European market. Additionally, Kleemann's hardware is inferior using a TVS roots blower. It is a decent blower, just not on par with Weistec's 3.0 liter twin screw. Still, it's a shame this is the tuning game and sadly to be expected. Another reminder that even if you have a mutually beneficial agreement on paper it may only serve to make it easier for someone to take what you worked to achieve.
12-21-2012, 03:36 PM #2
Wow, hopefully Weistec had confidentiality/trade secret terms in the actual distribution agreement both parties signed.
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12-21-2012, 03:40 PM #3
12-21-2012, 04:20 PM #4Member
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[Mainah's Full Disclosure: I don't know anybody at Kleemann or Weistec. I have used Kleemann products on previous cars. I have not used Weistec products.]
I think this is a very nebulous thread and full of conjecture (as y'all lawyers like to say).
I understand that you have a relationship with Weistec and that they are sponsors, but this thread absolutely reeks of you being put up to the task of posting this thread by Weistec.
How are you privy to this information (which cleverly 'suggests' and 'implies', but is never actually 'factual')?
And yes - I know this is your forum! However, IMO, you need to disclose your participation in this, because otherwise, it looks like you are being used as Weistec's mouthpiece.
At least superficially, it's good business.
In addition, Kleemann are well known for their tuning products (whether they do it in-house or not is irrelevant). I think it is wholly irresponsible to speculate that they 'took what was necessary' from Weistec's software.
Did Kleemann use Weistec's software or hardware to develop their own system? If you know something more, just say it. You don't have to post the evidence, just say you know more than you can post for legal purposes (you're a lawyer - I'm sure you can word it appropriately).
12-21-2012, 04:38 PM #5
Kleemann sent out an e-mail to everyone announcing their new supercharger which just so happens to be for the same platforms as someone who they were distributing for. Simple coincidence? I don't think so.
They had access to Wesitec's software and now all of a sudden became geniuses who developed their own tune on this level overnight? Please.
Yes, Kleemann is well known, and? This means they are above IP theft? I certainly would have hoped so.
What scenario do you think is more plausible? Kleemann took advantage of Weistec or they just happened to develop everything on their own in record time while selling Weistec's solution that already existed? They had access to Weistec's software, there's the key.
You don't know if they had been working on it likely because they had not because they had not announced anything. Your blind faith in easily creating superchargers for the M156 tuned on the stock DME is admirable however. This isn't Gran Turismo though, this is real tuning and you don't just throw together software for a supercharger on a high compression AMG V8 overnight.
Your speculation hasn't altered my opinion. Go get a copy of the Kleemann software and send it to me. We will do a direct comparison with the Weistec software. Let's do it.
12-21-2012, 04:55 PM #6Member
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I've seen what happened in the thread that was closed last week, so I'm not going to retort. You will have the last word, and I'm absolutely fine with that.
Let me close with this:
1. You know much more than you are letting on. I absolutely acknowledge this. My point is that you should say this explicitly from the start (while at the same time acknowledging that you can't provide evidence, etc. for obvious legal purposes).
Nobody is doubting that you wrote this yourself! The question is whether Weistec encouraged you to write this or not.
2. I may have used Kleemann products in the past, but I would absolutely jump all over a Weistec unit over a Kleemann unit if I was going to hang on to my car much longer. I have absolutely no allegiance to either company. Truth be told, I think Weistec is the far more productive and exciting company in recent years and they have fantastic products.
3. While you have replied to each of my comments above, you haven't said anything new to rebut my contentions. I 100% acknowledge that I don't know enough about the situation. That's one of my points! I'm just conveying my thoughts based on your original post. I really don't think it's fair to confuse my skepticism with naivety (as you put it).
4. I should have made it clearer: if Kleemann is in fact guilty of what you claim, that is a despicable act. No doubt about it. I'd be the first to condemn them if I saw sufficient evidence.
Thanks for responding to my first post and I promise to not post further on the matter.
12-21-2012, 05:01 PM #7
12-21-2012, 05:13 PM #8
This doesn't surprise me in the least...
The tuning world is a shady one, everyone knows what each other are doing, and you wouldn't believe the things we hear on a daily basis.
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12-21-2012, 05:34 PM #9
We really have no comment on this other than Kleemann is no longer a distributor for us and we truly wish them the best of luck with their endeavors.
We would usually never post anything on the forum regarding things of this nature, however we do now because we would like to lock this thread. Sticky I apologize for this but please lock this up. Thank you.
12-21-2012, 05:38 PM #10
12-21-2012, 05:39 PM #11