The Webasto Group looks back on more than 100 years of family-owned history. In its early days, the company manufactured stamped parts, wire holders and household appliances. Today, the company develops, produces and markets not only panorama and convertible roof systems or heating and cooling systems but also charging solutions and battery systems for electric vehicles. Webasto is one of the 100 leading automotive suppliers worldwide.
From the foundation until today
2022 Moving into glass production
To strengthen the competitiveness of its core business with roof systems, Webasto acquired Carlex Glass Luxembourg in Grevenmacher (Luxembourg) in August 2022. The Group's new location operates under the name Webasto Luxembourg.
2022 Start of battery production for e-cars
In spring 2022, Webasto started production of batteries for full-electric passenger cars in Dangjin, South Korea. To this end, the company built a state-of-the-art new plant south of Seoul within a year.
2021 Tradition meets Innovation
In terms of design, lightweight construction and acoustic comfort, Webasto combines the best features from the world of convertible roofs in the new panel bow roof design. By using innovative materials and sophisticated kinematics, Webasto carries the elegant look of a coupe over to a convertible top with a textile appearance.
2020 Roof Plant / Battery Center
With the new plant for roof systems in Jiaxing, Webasto is extending its production capacities in China and thus strengthening its core business. At the same time, with the opening of the battery center, Webasto is further expanding its business with solutions for electromobility in the Chinese market.
2019 Battery Production Germany
The production of batteries for electric vehicles has started at the Schierling site. From now on, battery packs for a European bus manufacturer will be produced here. From the beginning of 2020, the Webasto standard battery system for commercial vehicles will also be manufactured at the site.
2019 Innovative Solution for Autonomous Driving
With the Roof Sensor Module (RSM), Webasto presents a world premiere for autonomous vehicles at the IAA 2019. The sensors required for autonomous driving as well as the associated thermal and cleaning systems are elegantly integrated in the transparent and openable roof system.
2019 Larger Plant in Irapuato
With the official opening of its plant in Irapuato on August 20, 2020, Webasto is expanding its production capacities in Mexico in response to increased demand. Since 2008, Webasto has been producing roof systems there for various automotive manufacturers with sites in Mexico and Brazil, as well as components for its own plants in the USA.
2019 Webasto buys shares fromt joint venture
Webasto has bought the shares of its long-standing South Korean joint venture partner. The joint venture Webasto Donghee, with headquarters in Ulsan (South Korea), which previously focused on production and sales of panorama roofs, will now become part of Webasto's worldwide development and production network. The takeover of shares is the largest acquisition in the company’s history.
2018 Acquisition - Webasto Charging Systems Inc.
As part of the expansion of its expertise and product portfolio for electromobility, Webasto acquires the Efficient Energy Systems (EES) business unit of AeroVironment, which offers an established product portfolio of charging solutions for the US market. The new location of the Webasto Group with about 100 employees in Monrovia, California, now operates under the name Webasto Charging Systems Inc.
2018 New Administration / R&D Center Stockdorf
On May 14, 2018 Webasto celebrated the opening of its new Administration and R&D Center in Stockdorf near Munich. The investment of 40 million euros in the construction of the building is a long-term commitment to the company's headquarters. The new building offers 550 employees attractive and modern workplaces on three office levels. State-of-the-art testing facilities for Webasto roof systems are located on 2,000 square meters.
2018 Larger Plant in Guangzhou
With the official opening of its plant in Guangzhou (Guangdong Province) on March 28, 2018, Webasto has expanded its production capacities for roof systems in China once again. Webasto has been located in the southern Chinese city since 2006 with a production for roof systems. The previous site was leased. With the move into a completely renovated building (approx. 30,000 m2) on its own site (approx. 65,000 m2) the site also offers further potential for additional buildings.
2017 Charging Solutions & Battery Systems
Beyond its core business fields Webasto concentrates on the development and production of charging solutions and battery systems.
2017 Plant Opening Baoding
The official inauguration of its plant in Baoding (Hebei province) on May 5, 2017 marks yet another expansion of the Webasto production network for roof systems in China. With this strategic step, Webasto increases its production capacity in the company’s largest single market, with the aim of satisfying the continuing increase in demand for sunroofs and panorama roofs even more efficiently.
2017 Acquisition of Schaidt Innovations
Effective January 1, 2017, Webasto has completed a takeover of the electronics service provider Schaidt Innovations GmbH & Co. KG, based in Wörth-Schaidt, Germany. The business in Wörth-Schaidt will continue to operate with around 170 employees and will be absorbed into the Webasto Group bearing the name Webasto Mechatronics. By adding its own in-house electronics production, the acquisition enables Webasto to strengthen its systems competence and capability.
2015 Starting Shot for New Construction
On 22 July 2015, Webasto celebrates the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the new Webasto administration and development center in Stockdorf. “This new building, in which we are investing almost 40 million euro, is a cross-generational project that will make its mark well into the future”, said Dr. Engelmann in his keynote address.
2014 Expansion in China
In 2014, the number 10 Webasto production plant was inaugurated in Shenyang, in North-East China. With this step, Webasto is confirming the clear signal to its OE customers: “We are nearby our customers”. In Shenyang Webasto customers can be reached within a distance of around 10 km.
2013 Change on the top
Dr. Holger Engelmann takes over the chair of the Webasto SE management board from Franz-Josef Kortüm, who switches after 13 years on the top into the supervisory board.
2012 New corporate structure
The former Webasto AG is transferred to Webasto SE (Holding). The two corporate divisions for roof and thermo systems were spun off into legally autonomous companies, also in the legal form of SE: Webasto Roof & Components SE and Webasto Thermo & Comfort SE. Both companies are owned 100% by Webasto SE.
2012 Diavia Acquisition
Webasto takes over the Diavia air-conditioning business division for off-road and special vehicles from Delphi Automotive Italia. The goal ist, to become a leading system supplier for heating and cooling products from one source in the off-highway and special vehicle market.
2012 75 Years Sunroof Systems
Starting with the first folding roof in serial production for Daimler-Benz in 1937, the Webasto automotive history began.
2011 25 Years Cabrio feeling
The story of the Convertible Roofs unit began with the start of the production for the BMW 3 series cabrio.
2010 Expansion with full pressure
With the acquisition of Karmann North America, Webasto extends its position as market leader for convertible roofs. For the first time ever, the Webasto Group achieves sales of around two billion Euro.
2010 Next-generation parking heater
The new Thermo Top Evo heater is the lightest in its class.
2009 Acquisition despite the crisis
During the economic crisis in 2009, Webasto acquires the convertible division of Edscha – the largest acquisition Webasto ever did in the company history.
2008 Webasto goes East
With the openening of the plant in Arad, Webasto steps into Eastern Europe. Today, the plant in Romania is one of the largest production sites for sunroofs of the Webasto Group.
In 2008, the new head office of Thermo & Comfort in Gilching is officially opened.
2007 Large for small
The Smart fortwo has the largest fixed vehicle roof made of polycarbonate in the world.
2001 First steps in China
In 2001, Webasto enters the fast-growing Chinese market and starts its first roof serial production in Shanghai.
2001 100 Years Webasto
Webasto celebrates its hundredth birthday at the headquarters in Stockdorf near Munich.
2000 Smart Convertible Roof
An attractive, small and modern car: the first convertible roof of Webasto for Smart is one of the most modern of its time. It can be opened and closed during travel – just like a sunroof.
1999 Change in Management
Franz Josef Kortüm becomes Chairman of the Management Board of Webasto. He takes the chair of Prof. Rudi Noppen, who led the company since 1992 as the first external manager. Werner Baier already took over the role as Chairman of the Supervisory Board in 1995.
1995 Glass Roof for Porsche Targa
For the Porsche Targa, Webasto builds an entire roof module in 1995, which is completely made of glass. This can be steplessly opened backwards.
1993 The billion score
For the first time, the Webasto Group achieves sales of over one billion DM.
1992 New perspectives in Neubrandenburg
During a difficult economic situation, Webasto founds a new production plant in Neubrandenburg. The former VEB Sirokko converts into a modern plant for parking heaters.
1989 Solar on top
The Audi A80 Coupé is equipped with the first sunroof with mono-crystalline solar cells for parking ventilation, which provides ventilation while closed.
1986 On a growth track
Following Utting, Schierling becomes the third Webasto plant in Germany. After the opening, the production of sunroofs for BMW and Ford starts at the new plant.
1978 New market Japan
With the founding of the joint-venture Daikyo Webasto in Japan, Webasto early enters the Asian market. In 1999, Webasto takes over the entire shares and is producing sunroofs sucessfully for the Japanese automotive industry since then.
1975 Time to reform
Werner Baier becomes managing director of the company. During his leadership, he sets the course for a successful future and reforms follow. Among others, the company gets separated into the devisions roof and thermo.
1974 success story glass roof
The first glass roof brings light and a generous sense of space in the Ford Fiesta. Although it is not able to slide, it is able to pop-out in the rear part. Just five years later, the first pop-up sun glass roof will be installed in serial production.
1974 Webasto goes USA
In 1974, Webasto steps into the United States and founds its first subsidiary Webasto Sunroof Inc. in Detroit as a joint venture with Magna. In 2000, Webasto finally takes over the entire company shares.
The largest steel sunroof ever built by Webasto tops the Mercedes 600, which is featured on the IAA in September 1963. Since this time, it is possible to install a Webasto steel sunroof in every Mercedes model.
1960 Warm car everytime
For the first time, the auxilliary heater P10 brings warm air into the Porsche 356 and supports the engine in heating.
1956 Pioneer Work
Webasto delivers the first steel sunroof to Daimler-Benz – on order for the types 180 till 220 as well as for the 300er special class (“Adenauer“).
1955 End of bycycle part production
The business with bicycle parts becomes unprofitable in the post-war period and is completely quit in 1955. Following this, Webasto concentrates on vendor parts for motorcycles and the rapidly growing passenger-car-market.
1952 More than hot air
In 1936, Robert von Linde and Walter Baier talk for the first time about an engine-independent heater on the IAA, but due to the years of war, the heater is not developed to this time. As "Model 65" for buses, it is finally presented in 1955.
1939 Years of war 1939 - 1945
In the years of war Webasto supplies Daimler-Benz with exhaust gas heating systems for trucks and BMW with aluminium parts for encasing aviation engines. During this time, Webasto employes 137 forced labourers. It is against this background that in 2000, the company takes part in the Germany private sector's foundation initiative, to compensate forced labour exploited during the Nazi era.
1937 First folding roof for a manufacterer
The first folding roof in serial production is integrated into the "Panorama-Bus". Afterwards, the serial production for passenger cars begins. With immediate effect, the folding roof is integrated into the Mercedes 170 of Daimler-Benz.
1935 Webasto puts the heating on
Development of the first heater for buses as well as engine-independent heaters for passenger cars. The so-called "Flüstertüte" uses the process of a heat exchanging device.
1932 On four Wheels
Webasto steps into the automotive business. In 1932, Wilhelm Baier develops the so-called “Baier folding roof", which is the first folding roof of Webasto. In the middle of the 30s, every car can be changed over to a "Sun-Limousine". Furthermore, Webasto produces large metal sheets in 1932 with a 400 ton press in the sheet metal workshop.
1920 On two Wheels
Within the 20´s, the bicycle is a popular means of transportation and the bicycle industry booms. Webasto focuses on bicycle fragments like mudguards, gear boxes, carriers and bars.
1917 Three generations of Baier family
In 1917, Wilhelm Baier passes the company management to his sons, which ran the company until 1956. Walter Baier follows.
1914 Sowing Machine
In addition to bicycle parts and other metallic parts, sowing machines belong to the production program of Webasto in 1914.
1908 Move to Stockdorf/Bavaria
In 1908, the factory for stamped parts, wire holders and home appliances moves from Esslingen to Stockdorf. The company founder Wilhelm Baier Senior creates the new name Webasto out of his initials and the toponym Stockdorf. The power of the river Würm is used to move the machines.
At the age of 55, Wilhelm Baier founds a company that goes by the name of: “Esslinger Draht und Eisenwarenfabrik Wilhelm Baier, Esslingen/Neckar“.
Latest News about Webasto Group
Read more about our company history, the commitment of the Webasto Foundation or get insights into our product worlds and their fields of application.
- Webasto is “Top Employer 2023”
The automotive supplier is recognized as one of the most attractive employers in Germany, China and Romania
- Webasto Foundation: Engagement for a better future mobility
In line with its leitmotif ‘We Drive the Future – Sustainably Mobile into a Good Future!’, the Foundation's donations in 2022 are increasingly…
- Cinema at its most: BMW honours Webasto with the Supplier Innovation Award
The automotive supplier wins in the category "Customer Experience" for the display mechanism of the Theatre Screen in the new BMW 7 Series.
- Webasto continues management board restructure
The automotive supplier restructures its management team. Executive Vice President Purchasing Yanni von Roy-Jiang replaces Dr. Silke Maurer. Jan…
- Webasto broadens footprint in Asia
Building of additional production capacities for roofs in India and Japan as well as for battery systems in South Korea