Webasto – a tradition of progress
Webasto has been family-owned since its foundation in 1901. The company has been supplying the automotive industry for over 75 years: today it's split into the divisions Convertible & Roof, as well as Thermo & Comfort Solutions for heating, cooling and ventilation.
Current business development
The company, which has been developing and manufacturing products for the automotive industry for over 75 years, is among the world’s largest 100 suppliers for the automotive industry and one of Germany’s top 15 automotive suppliers. For 2012 the Group expects a sales volume of 2.4 Billion Euros and employs over 10,000 employees.
Since July 2012, the Group has a new corporate structure. Webasto AG was transferred to Webasto SE (Holding). At the same time, the two divisions for Roof and Thermo Systems were spun off into legally autonomous companies, also in the legal form of the European stock corporation (SE): Webasto Roof & Components SE is responsible for the roof and convertible roof business, whereas Webasto Thermo & Comfort SE accounts for the business dealing with heating, cooling and ventilation systems.
Webasto has over 50 locations throughout the world – more than 30 of them production sites.
In Germany roof systems are made in Utting (Ammersee) and in Schierling near Regensburg. In Neubrandenburg you can find the world's largest production site for thermal systems. The convertible business unit, Webasto-Edscha Cabrio, produces products at the sites in Hengersberg and Regensburg.
As far back as 1974 the company founded its first international site in the USA, near Detroit. The first Asian subsidiary with a production plant was opened in 1978 in Japan (Hiroshima). Since 1988 Webasto has been active in Korea through the joint venture Webasto Donghee. The market leader for roof systems has been active in China's growth market since 2001 – and now has five production sites. The European production sites can be found in France, Italy, Great Britain, Romania, Slovakia, the Netherlands and Portugal.
Original equipment & aftermarket consumer goods
Core competencies include the development and production of complete convertible and roof systems as well as heating, cooling, and ventilation systems for both passenger and commercial vehicles. In addition, the company offers parking heaters and sunroofs for retrofitting by the end consumer.
Besides having a long tradition in both passenger and commercial vehicles,Webasto today is also active in the recreational, marine and special vehicles as well. The know-how acquired in the automotive industry has been utilised to develop systems for other market sectors. One example of this is the development of movable roof systems for the marine market. Thanks to this approach, Webasto continues to develop innovative products and is constantly opening up new fields for growth for the past 100 years or more.
Innovations and technological leadership
Webasto is constantly setting new standards for automobile roof systems. For example, the company extended its product portfolio in 2000 with a further business unit and also established itself as a supplier for convertible roof systems. Webasto was the first to manufacture a five-part retractable hardtop (steel convertible roof) with integrated glass sliding roof for the VW EOS.
Webasto also takes the lead when it comes to using new materials. The company set up its own plastic competence centre in Schierling near Regensburg in 2003. Innovative roof elements of polycarbonate have been produced there since 2007. Webasto commissioned the second production line for polycarbonate components in October 2009 and thus underlined its determination to become the technological leader in this field. As one of the biggest challenges facing the automotive industry at present is to reduce the fuel consumption of vehicles, the topic of lightweight design and the use of materials such as polycarbonate will become increasingly important.
In October 2010 Webasto presented the next generation of parking heaters for cars: Thermo Top Evo. The new heaters are the lightest in their class, weighing significantly less than their predecessors, and use very little fuel.
Growing by acquisition
In January 2010, the convertible roof business of Edscha AG and the Webasto convertible business unit were combined to form Webasto-Edscha Cabrio. In addition, the Karmann business in North America (with sites in the US and Mexico) was taken over in August 2010.
In April 2012 Webasto acquired the shares of Diavia S.r.l. from Delphi Italia Automotive Systems S.r.l. The Diavia product portfolio includes air-conditioning systems for mini and midi buses, ambulances and off-road vehicles. With this acquisition, the Thermo & Comfort business division has significantly expanded its one-stop-shop product range for customized heating and cooling systems.
And finally, a look back into History
Why is Webasto called Webasto? The idea came from the company founder Wilhelm Baier Senior in 1908 when he moved his factory for stamped parts, wire holders and home appliances from Esslingen to Stockdorf just outside Munich. The name comes from the initials Wilhelm Baier, Stockdorf.