This year, the STENHØJ group is celebrating its 100th anniversary! For a century now, STENHØJ has been a significant part of the automotive industry delivering premium quality products all over the globe.
Innovation, adaptability, initiative and most of all, a desire to build an international business, is what has characterized the history of STENHØJ.
A business is born
“I want to build a business and have a hundred men working for me” this is what Sigurd Stenhøj told his mother when he first started school. The first steps to realising his dreams happened in 1917, when he bought the smithy from his boss for the sum of 3.000 DDK. It wasn’t until 1929, when his life’s work saw the light of day and as is the case with many great ideas, it was an everyday problem that planted the seed for success.
In the 1920’s, the traffic on the Danish roads was continually increasing, meaning more and more cars found their way to the smithy, where Sigurd Stenhøj was becoming an experienced mechanic. Chevrolet was one of the car manufacturers that entered the Danish market and their cars also came to Sigurd’s workshop for repairs. This was great news for Sigurd however the low design of the Chevrolet models caused problems, especially for one mechanic who was a bit on the heavy side. He simply couldn’t get under the car and that’s when Sigurd came up with the idea for “the car elevator”.
Denmark first, then, the rest of the world.
Making the way into the world has always been a dream for STENHØJ and is now the cornerstone of the company.
Sigurd Stenhøj was doing very well with his lifts and the news spread around the world fast. In fact, the news spread all the way to South Africa, where a Danish engineer imported Danish products. Soon other countries such as Morocco, Norway, Egypt and Latvia followed suit and STENHØJ has continued to conquer markets all over the world.
“If you turn a globe and place your finger in any given place, there is likely to be a STENHØJ dealership nearby” says Søren Madsen CEO STENHØJ GROUP and continues “we are constantly striving towards entering new markets all around the world!”
This strategy became very clear in 2016 with the launch of the new brand AUTOPSTENHOJ. Autop – a subsidiary in the STENHØJ GROUP and the Danish STENHØJ united in order to present a complete range of products under the name AUTOPSTENHOJ to the global market.
“Our goal is to be the world’s leading supplier and customer’s first choice when investing in automotive vehicle lifts, workshop equipment and services” says CEO Søren Madsen.
Innovation and adaptability
Sigurd Stenhøj once said “Initiative is a quality few men possess, even men with many talents”. He was certainly going to need all his talents as the war swept in over Denmark in 1940 and when iron became in short supply. Once again, Sigurd proved that there was a solution to everything. He was well prepared and had invested in great amounts of iron before the war stopped imports. But it wasn’t nearly enough to continue, so Sigurd needed to come up with a new plan to obtain more raw materials. Well, on the bottom of the ocean there was plenty of iron in the shape of shipwrecks, so Sigurd sent divers with blowtorches to retrieve it. Even with all the efforts he made to keep supplies coming in, the war eventually took its toll and the demand for automotive lifts came to a still stand, forcing Sigurd to explore other avenues for business opportunities. Once again he found them! The result was a long line of interesting inventions and ideas such as a press for apple juice, a potato boiler and a wagon for turning peat. Another great invention from the hands of Sigurd was the gas generator. The shortage on gas meant that a lot of cars stood still, but the gas generator could fuel cars and even trucks on firewood!
Flexibility and the ability to adapt are crucial in an ever changing world. STENHØJ no longer produces potato boilers nor juice presses. Today’s focus is on the development of premium products in line with the newest technological advances, to satisfy customers around the world, both now and in the future.
The main business is the automotive industry, but STENHØJ still develops and sells a long line of product to the industrial segment such as compressors, industrial part cleaners, hydraulic presses, bending machines and broaching machines for large scale production plants and car manufacturers.
STENHØJ products are developed in close collaboration with the automotive industry and in particular vehicle manufacturers. These relationships ensure a range of premium products that can stand the test of time and cover a multitude of strict requirements.
The STENHØJ GROUP now consists of 10 subsidiaries and more than 600 employees worldwide. The main offices are still in Barrit, Denmark, where the factory produces automotive lifts, compressors, hydraulic presses and broaching machines.
The company is still family owned. Today Søren and Lene Madsen is head of the company.