Webasto – A tradition of progress
A family-owned business since it was founded in 1901, the Webasto Group in Stockdorf near Munich has been setting new technological standards again and again ever since.
Original Equipment and Aftermarket Consumer Goods
Core competencies include the development and production of complete roof and convertible roof systems for cars as well as heating, cooling, and ventilation systems for cars, commercial, specialty and recreational vehicles and marine. In addition, the company offers parking heaters and sunroofs for retrofitting by the end consumer. The know-how acquired in the automotive industry is specifically targeted to other types of vehicles. One example is the movable roof systems for the marine market segment.
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 plastics competence center in Schierling near Regensburg in 2003. Innovative roof elements made of polycarbonate have been produced there since 2007. Based on numerous new projects, in 2013 Webasto invested 45 million Euros into the further expansion of its lightweight technology. Having added a new production hall and additional facilities, the company now features a production capacity of one million polycarbonate components per year.For one of the greatest challenges currently facing the automotive industry is the reduction of fuel consumption of vehicles. This is why the topic of lightweight design and the use of materials such as polycarbonate is becoming increasingly important.
As the market leader for fuel-driven auxiliary heaters for cars and parking heaters, Webasto also views electromobility as an important pillar of its growth strategy. To access and develop that market, in 2012 the automotive supplier developed a high-efficiency electrically operated heating system for hybrid and electric vehicles, which heats the passenger compartment while driving. Full-scale series production of the device begins in 2015 at the New Brandenburg plant.
A glance into history
Why is Webasto called Webasto? The idea originated with 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. The move to Bavaria was based on the first boom of the bicycle industry early in the last century and the necessary proximity to the customer. Webasto focused increasingly on accessories such as wheels, fenders and chain guards and many of the customers at the time were located in Italy. When the automobile began its definitive worldwide triumph in the thirties of the twentieth century, Webasto turned into an automotive supplier. The project began in 1932: Wilhelm Baier constructed the first automotive folding roof that could be opened or closed with just a few simple steps. Only three years later, he created a so-called “vehicle fresh-air heater” for water-cooled engines. It later became famous under the name “Flüstertüte”.