Wiesmann Carves Niche in Europe’s Tough Auto Market

DÜLMEN, Germany—Scale is everything in European auto making as much of the industry struggles to spread the huge cost of developing new engines and models over sufficiently large production volumes. But Wiesmann GmbH, a niche German manufacturer of retro-styled roadsters, is demonstrating small can be beautiful.

Demand for Wiesmann’s pricey sports cars plummeted by about 40% over 2008 and 2009. But as much bigger rivals making mass-market vehicles struggle with high costs and slack demand, the family-owned manufacturer has stayed on the road as global demand for luxury vehicles has recovered fast.

The firm makes “fun vehicles,” co-founder and owner …

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