70 years on the road.
In 1947 Gianfranco Carutti founded a small factory that manufactured valves on the outskirts of the city of Cremona. With a degree in mechanical engineering from Milan Regio Politecnico obtained in 1938, Gianfranco Carutti was the son of a machine tool trader from Milan with close links with the car industry.
He soon came into contact with his father's business contacts who were important industrialists in the Milan area including the Pirelli family.
The Pirellis were the ones who told the young Gianfranco that tyre valve manufacturing would shortly begin a period of strong growth. At this point, intuition played its part: once he had found a suitable area at a low cost on the outskirts of Cremona, Carutti moved from Milan and founded Wonder.
The company specialised in the manufacturing of butyl valves for inner tubes. Its first customer was Pirelli, but in a short space of time, helped by the economic recovery in the 1950s, Carutti managed to enter into agreements with other major inner tube manufacturers including Ceat (founded by Virginio Bruni Tedeschi), Michelin, Goodyear and Firestone.
In the 1960s the company began to work closely with Michelin manufacturing pressure gauges and tyre inflator gauges to a specific design supplied by the French company which enabled Wonder to become an exclusive supplier together with Pingeot Bardain.
In 1964 Wonder became one of the founders of ETRTO (European Tyre and Rim Technical Organization), whose aim was to align the technical specifications for tyres, valves and wheel rims in different countries, define international standards and prepare shared guidelines in response to a growing need for improved safety on the roads.
Wonder is currently a permanent member of ETRTO and is Chairman of the valve sector.
In the 1970s tubeless technology established itself for good and the manufacturing of inner tubes suffered an irreversible decline: many manufacturers were forced to close or were taken over by larger groups.
This resulted in a drastic reduction in the number of companies left on the market and, above all, the loss of a link in the supply chain: Wonder's customers were no longer tyre manufacturers but the companies who fitted the valves on the wheel rims, large manufacturers like Michelin – who had located rim manufacturing companies – and car manufacturers who were directly involved in fitting the valves.
During this period of transition, a revolution in the history of the Automotive industry, Wonder was able to evolve from being a subsupplier (Tier 2) to a direct supplier (Tier 1), by rapidly increasing its share of the market and becoming a valued manufacturer of valves with the new snap-in technology.
Wonder had become a well-established company that supplied the major European car manufacturers and manufacturers of tyres and wheel rims.
The car has become a mass product, road transport was by far the most common and road safety was one of the most pressing issues. The quality of the product became a decisive factor for those operating in the Automotive industry.
Wonder invests much of its resources in buying new, more efficient machinery and in seeking better materials and components to be ahead of the times and give its products the higher level of quality needed to compete with the most important players in the market.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the company continued to modernise its factories and began to manufacture car air conditioning valves.
During the same period, it received its first international quality certifications: UNI EN ISO 9002:1994 (1996) and QS 9000:1998 (1998). By the end of the decade, Wonder had become a leading name in the Automotive industry.
The new millennium has marked the start of a new challenge for Wonder: it has to evolve from a company that manufactures products that are mostly based on customer design to a company that is able to offer innovative products.
Alongside the efforts made to constantly improve production and organisational processes with the introduction of Lean manufacturing, developed by Toyota, it has also invested significantly in research.
Wonder has been European leader in the supply of valves for OEM since 2008. It attained ISO/TS 16949:2009 quality certification in 2004 and UNI EN ISO 14001:2004 certification in 2011 for an effective environmental management system.
In 2016 GM Europe awarded Wonder the General Motors Supplier Quality Excellence Award for the fifth year running.