Their exhausts have become world renowned in the Porsche community and they’ve disrupted other exotic car brands in three quick years. We decided to take a moment to learn more about the guys behind Kline Innovation and what makes their exhaust systems rival the best brands out there.
Felix: Ha-ha yeah sure, we were completing the development of our 991 Carrera project and just as the final testing was being completed, Laura happened to walk through our front doors asking about an exhaust for her car. Its pretty rare for a girl to walk into our offices, let alone a girl who drives a Porsche 911, and one that we had just finished development.
We asked if we could use her car for a promo video, and she was like “Yeah sure, but only if I drive the car myself” and of course we didn’t complain. She’s a real Porsche fanatic as well, she used to drive a Boxter S before her 911. She drove the car perfectly, pretty aggressively actually, we had to tell her to slow down all the time just so we could keep the car in frame for long enough to get some good video clips.
Christian: Yeah sure. The actual gestation of Kline began in 2010 although the brand was launched in 2012. The two years were basically spent designing our first products, as well as coming up with an image for the brand. Although the brand image means more than just the marketing material, one of the most important things was about creating the personality of our product via design briefs.
Since myself and the core guys of Kline have been involved in exhaust design and manufacture for other brands for many years, we knew exactly how to go about designing literally some of the most stunning systems on the supercar market to date. Since then we have just continued growing, releasing new products as well as designing and developing for other companies.
Christian: Right, yeah that doesn’t sound so clear right? Basically just how the product functions, how the user experience is defined, how the exhaust would perform, how will it sound. We found some niche in the market, there were already lightweight titanium exhausts out there, but what we wanted to do was create ultra light weight Inconel exhausts, with an absolute emphasis on sound and performance. We design all of our exhausts around the idea that they produce significantly more power and torque than all our competitors. As for the sound, all our exhausts are very quiet at cruising for absolute comfort, but at high revs and hard throttle they just scream.
Christian: It just comes down to huge amounts of R&D work on sound, computer modelling, real world testing, and of course a very good ear for sound, as well as some pretty innovative concepts on how to engineer the sound. Some of the concepts can be clearly seen in our products, tight radius x pipes and valves are tools we can use, but there is a lot of unseen innovations around materials and acoustics that we are kind of keeping secret for the time being.
Christian: No it a completely different material. Its just in a class of its own when it comes to high performance car exhausts and that’s the reason its used in Formula 1 and high end motorsport. In fact, the raw material is actually sourced from the same place that Formula 1 exhausts are built, so in fact you can have on your car, an exhaust made from material that would have been used on an F1 car. How cool is that? We also design and build tails from aerospace grade carbon fiber, again using the same specifications used to build F1 chassis and wings
Felix: As always, there are a lot of challenges in a startup company, but I think the hardest thing to deal with was just our growth in the early days. Things started off slowly, but the product was so great that the word spread around the Porsche world very quickly and sales really took off. This really angered a lot of established brands and this negativity filtered into some of the fans of other companies. Some of these fans started rumors and tried to put the Kline brand down.
The way we dealt with it was just to be very concise with people and answer all the question marks very honestly. Its quite easy to have the answers when you build a very honest company, but its harder sometimes to stay cool when your faced with some surreptitious people playing dirty.
Aside from that, we just put relentless efforts into moving the products forward. Our ethos toward our product is not just, “can we design great products?”, but more like “how great is it possible to make this?”
Felix: Well in the immediate future, aside from increasing our range, we are working on some motorsport contracts, as well as the possibility or working with some very exclusive hypercar brands to design and manufacture their stock exhaust . Its too early to tell exactly what the outcome of this will be, but still its very exciting territory that will really separate us from the pack in terms of reputation.
Were also looking into the possibility of getting involved in other areas of the tuning market, for example ctive aero kits, something like what can be found on the McLaren P1, this would not only be incredibly cool, but will also give a significant performance edge on guys who track their cars.
Felix: Well it might seem easy and straightforward to build a successful business, but it requires some serious commitment and vision. Aside from all the usual cliché advices I could give you, It might be better to give some real tangible advice.
Firstly, study the market, study the competitors, study and study more until you know everything about the market, then find a unique point you can offer that the competition doesn’t do, something different that will make you stand out in a positive way. Nobody is going to appreciate the same old carbon copy stuff stolen from another company. Finally, for us at least, product innovation has been very important to our success.