Louis — Motorcycle & Leisure


This German company’s full name is Detlev Louis Motorradvertriebs GmbH and it is the No. 1 company in the motorcycle and leisure business. Louis has been in business since 1938 and services all of Europe with the best in motorcycle equipment and accessories.

Louis sells a variety of products including bike leathers, boots, clothing, motorcycle parts, anti-theft protection, motorcycle navigation, luggage, motorcycle covers, and more. Although the company did sell motorcycles at one point, it now primarily offers accessories, gear, and service for various motorcycle brands. All in all, Louis boasts more than 35,000 items and is Germany’s sole importer of several popular motorcycle brands.

The company has physical locations in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and employs around 1,700 people. It has an online website and can ship to anywhere in Europe. It has won numerous awards including Best Brand Award, Best Online shop, and Shipper of the Year.

Brief History

Detlev Louis Motorradvertriebs GmbH was established in 1938 in Hamburg, Germany by Walter Lohmann. The official company name wasn’t adopted until 1946, however, when Detlev Louis joined the company. At the time, Louis only employed four people and it sold both motorcycles and scooters. Eventually, the company expanded to offering motorcycle repair services as well.

By 1960, the company had grown to become Germany’s largest motorcyclebusiness, and it launched its first catalogue with motorcycle accessories in 1967. The company continued to grow and change hands several times, and by the 1990s, Louis was making more from its accessories than it was from selling motorcycles, and the business model was changed accordingly.

Detlev Louis Motorradvertriebs GmbH joined the Berkshire Hathaway family in February 2015, and was one of the first purchases Buffett made in Germany. The company was bought for $400 million.

< Back to Berkshire Hathaway>