The Webasto Group based in Stockdorf near Munich has been a family-owned business since it was founded in 1901. The company has been developing, manufacturing and selling products for the automotive industry for over 80 years.
Webasto – Added Value for Mobility
Webasto is the world market leader for roof and convertible roof systems as well as parking heaters and is among the world’s largest 100 suppliers to the automotive industry. Furthermore, the company concentrates on the growth market electromobility with heating systems, charging solutions and battery systems. In 2016 the Group generated sales of 3,2 billion euros and employs more than 12,000 people worldwide.
The company has more than 50 locations worldwide – over 30 of which are manufacturing plants. In Germany, Webasto operates production plants for roof systems in Utting at the Ammersee and in Schierling near Regensburg. The world’s largest manufacturing plant for thermo systems is located in Neubrandenburg. In Germany, the convertibles business unit produces at plants in Hengersberg and Regensburg. Electronic components for various products are manufactured in Schaidt / Wörth at the Rhine. Additional production plants across Europe are located in Italy, Great Britain, Romania, Slovakia and the Netherlands.
The company expanded internationally very early and founded plants back in 1974 in the USA (Detroit, MI) and in 1978 in Japan (Hiroshima). Webasto has been active in Korea through the joint venture Webasto Donghee since 1988. In China, the largest automotive market worldwide, Webasto has been active since 2001 – and now is on the ground with ten production plants.
Innovations and technological leadership
Sustainability is one of the essential aspects for shaping the mobility of tomorrow. Among other issues, this includes reducing fuel consumption and the use of alternative drive systems. As a strategic partner Webasto supports manufacturers with innovative technologies and products.
In the area of automobile roof systems, for example, the company developed a solar roof that represents one of the most efficient eco innovations acknowledged by the EU. Webasto has been working intensively on lightweight design solutions for years. The company implements multiple technologies in serial production that contribute to weight reduction in the roof area. 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. Thus, the company now features a production capacity of one million polycarbonate components per year.
Webasto provides innovative heating concepts for all drive types. In addition to fuel-driven auxiliary heaters for cars and parking heaters, electro mobility constitutes an important pillar of the Webasto growth strategy. In 2012, the automotive supplier presented a high-efficiency electrically operated high-voltage heater for hybrid and electric vehicles that heats the passenger compartment while driving. Full-scale series production of the device began in 2015 at the Neubrandenburg plant.
In 2000, the company extended its product portfolio and established itself as a supplier of convertible roof systems. Today, Webasto has the broadest range of convertible roofs on the market. The company works with just about all well-known manufacturers, developing and producing customized convertible tops that set technological standards. Webasto is also increasingly implementing lightweight components such as aluminum and magnesium into these tops.
To ensure its position as an innovation and technology leader over the long term, the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the new Webasto development and administrative center in Stockdorf took place in July 2015. Encompassing an investment amount of about 40 million euros, the construction project will unify various functional areas under one roof, thus reinforcing interdisciplinary cooperation among the international teams.
Since 2016 Webasto is further expanding its range of products for electromobility consequently. At presence the focus is on charging solutions for the private and commercial sector as well as on battery systems for electric vehicles.
Growth through acquisition
Webasto is also growing through acquisitions. Thus, the automotive supplier acquired the Edscha AG convertible roof business in January 2010, followed in August of the same year by the Karmann North America business with plants in the US and Mexico.
The company also undertook acquisitions in the Thermo division. In April 2012 Webasto acquired the shares of Diavia S.r.l. from Delphi Italia Automotive Systems S.r.l. This was followed by the takeover of the Turkish climate specialist Gaspa in January 2014. With both acquisitions Webasto systematically extended its one-stop-shop product range for customized heating and cooling systems, and further advanced the expansion of its customer base in key growth markets.
By taking over the electronic service provider Schaidt Innovations and adding its own in-house electronics production at the beginning of 2017, the company strengthened its position as systems partner of the automotive industry. In the middle of the year Webasto expanded its competencies in the field of electronics once again by taking over around 50 experts for software and hardware development from the CoSyst Control Systems GmbH.
A glance at 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”.
Find more details about the Webasto history here.