Webasto SE Business Report through FY ended Dec. 2012

Business Highlights

Recent Years


-In June 2012, the Company announced that it develops and manufactures the soft-tops for the MINI Roadster. The soft-tops can be opened and closed manually or semi-automatically. Canopy production, framework manufacturing and final assembly now takes place in Velky Meder, Slovakia. From there, the soft-tops (manual and semi-automatic versions) are supplied as ready-for-assembly modules to the MINI plant in Oxford, UK. (From a press release on June 12, 2012)

-The Company produces the convertible systems for the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster. The soft-top opens fully automatically at the flip of a switch in 11 seconds. This operation can also be performed while driving, up to a speed of 50 km/h. When open, the top folds into a Z and is deposited space-saving behind the seats. (From a press release on March 19, 2012)

-In Oct. 2011, the Company announced that the modular roof system of the Mercedes-Benz SLK is optionally sold with a transparent panoramic roof element from Webasto. The lightweight component is manufactured from Makrolon AG 2677 polycarbonate from Bayer Material Science. Compared with a similar element made of glass, the polycarbonate roof is about four kilograms or 40 percent lighter. The transparent panoramic roof element is manufactured at its Plastics Competence Center in Schierling, Germany. (From a press release on October 20, 2011)

-In Mar. 2011, the Company announced that its German subsidiary Webasto-Edscha Cabrio manufactures the Z-fold softtops for the new version of the VW Golf Cabriolet, which is having its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show. The convertible roof opens fully automatically in 9.5 seconds. To improve the acoustic properties, both the top and the hydraulic unit are provided with special insulation. The open four-seater already can be ordered in Germany and delivery begins in mid-May, 2011. (From a press release on March 10, 2011)

-In Nov. 2009, Webasto Japan Co., Ltd. has won bulk orders from Korea's Hyundai Motor Company to supply panoramic roofs to 17 new passenger models the automaker is going to launch soon. Based on this business, the Company plans to increase the volume of panoramic roof systems it is going to produce in Korea to more than 550,000 systems per year by 2012. Having positioned panoramic roof as the Company's most important product next to sun roofs, the Group has been working on expanding sales of the system over the last few years. Its marketing activities targeting Hyundai Motor, which is proactive in installing panoramic roof that is popularly used in Europe, led to the new business. Webasto Japan is going to cope with the rising demand from Korea by gradually expanding its production capacity at its Korean facility. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on Nov. 11, 2009)

-In Sept. 2009, the Company supplies its panorama roof for the Audi "S4 Avant". This two-piece system has a transparent area of more than half a square meter. The roof can be opened and closed from outside with the central-locking system key. (From a press release on Sep. 15, 2009)

-In Oct. 2008, the Company supplies a convertible roof for the new Ferrari California. The sports convertible is the first of its kind to have a retractable hardtop (RHT). (From a press release on Oct. 6, 2008)

-In Jun. 2008, the new 2009 Ford "Flex" shows the distinctive design including its Vista Roof, provided by the Company. Available on Flex SEL and Flex Limited models as an option, the Vista Roof takes full advantage of the ample roof area to provide Flex with a new take on a growing design trend. (From a press release on Jun 26, 2008)

Business Partnership

-In Dec. 2012, Webasto China and Great Wall Motors (GWM) concluded a strategic cooperation agreement. Under the new strategic cooperation, Webasto China will focus on providing technical support for the both the "Haval" series and passenger car series of GWM models. Webasto China has already supplied sunroof systems for GWM's "Haval H3" and "Great Wall C50" models. (From a press release on December 4, 2012)

-In Oct. 2011, the Company and Konarka Technologies, the U.S. manufacturer of organic solar cells, announced their cooperation on integrating organic solar cells in automobile roof systems. Konarka will deliver its Power Plastic solar panel that Webasto needs for its products. (From a press release on October 19, 2011)

New Companies

-In Feb. 2007, Webasto Japan established Webasto GCS Japan. The new company aims to expand sales of parking heaters. It promotes sales of parking heaters targeting at manufacturers of construction machineries, truck body outfitting, campers and heavy-duty trucks as well as it will sell aftermarket sunroofs through sunroof outfitting shops. In November 2007, Webasto GCS Japan announced its plan to boost domestic sales to over one billion yen by 2009 through sales expansion, especially of its mainstay, fuel-efficient air heaters which decrease CO2 emissions of heavy-duty trucks. In early 2009 it will also launch a parking cooler in the Japanese market to raise the level of its sales.


-In Jan. 2007, Webasto Solar GmbH was founded. The new company will produce and market solar modules and solar generators both for the automotive industry and for house roof-mounted applications. The range of services also includes the entire process of developing and trialing the products. Webasto AG is planning to involve systaic AG in Solar GmbH as part of a joint venture. Both parties have agreed to keep the level of capital confidential. Webasto Solar GmbH started its business activities on April 1st, 2007 with full order books. The new company is going to be producing the generators for solar-powered sliding roofs for Volkswagen, Audi, DaimlerChrysler, Skoda, Bentley and Lancia on behalf of Webasto AG.

Business Restructuring

-In Mar. 2009, Webasto Japan Co., Ltd. will close "Design Center Tokyo (DCT)," its R&D center in Tokyo, by the end of Mar. 2009. Due to decreased production by Nissan and Mazda, its sales for the fiscal year ending March 2009 are expected to be down by half. In order to decimate the fixed cost in response to the present drop in orders as a result of drastically declining automobile production in Japan, the company will transfer the R&D facilities to its headquarters in Hiroshima. This kind of cost cutting measures will possibly affect R&D departments, which have been regarded as sacred cows. The DCT, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, serves as contacts in joint development with automakers in the Kanto area. Although it was scaled down from two floors to one floor in Nov. 2008, Webasto Japan has decided to further decrease fixed costs by the closedown at the end of this month as an emergency measure till its domestic production will recover. Present R&D staff of about 20 will be decreased by early retirement or other reasons to 12, who will be integrated into the development departments at its Hiroshima headquarters. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on Mar. 19, 2009)

-In Sep. 2007, as part of the move by the Company to focus on its core business, which is the development and manufacture of roof and temperature management systems, the company Enerday GmbH has become part of the business unit "Fuel Cell", which has split from the Company . The object of the company Enerday is the development, manufacture and sale of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) and SOFC systems and applications. The company has its headquarters in Stockdorf and its development and testing plant in Neubrandenburg.


-In Aug. 2010, the Company has acquired the convertible roof business of German-based Wilhelm Karmann GmbH in the North America. The business, which includes US subsidiary Karmann USA, Inc in Plymouth, Michigan and the manufacturing plant of Karmann Ghia de Mexico in Puebla, Mexico, stands for a turnover of around 40 million USD. Webasto-Edscha Cabrio USA and Webasto-Edscha Cabrio Mexico have taken over the Karmann operations in USA and Mexico respectively. (From a press release on August 5, 2010)

-In Jun. 2010, the Company has taken over the remaining 64 percent share of Webasto Solar GmbH, a German joint venture with Systaic AG of Germany, for one million euros. Webasto Solar was founded by Webasto and Systaic in January 2007 to develop and produce solar modules for the automotive industry. Webasto Solar will become a part of the Webasto Convertible, Roof & Body division. Audi A8 is currently equipped with a Webasto solar roof. Within the next months, an electric vehicle will be introduced with a 0.65 square meter solar roof, which is larger than previous Webasto solar roofs. (From a press release on June 30, 2010)

-In Jan. 2010, the Company has concluded the acquisition of Edscha's Convertible Roof Systems (CDS) business unit. Webasto has merged its Convertible Business Unit with Edscha CDS under a wholly owned subsidiary - Webasto-Edscha Cabrio - as of January 1, 2010. It holds production plants in Europe (6) and Japan (1) and a new project is scheduled in Mexico. The entity represents sales of about 320 million euros for 2009. (From a press release on January 4, 2010)


Year Award Company Subsidiary/ Facility
2012 Core Supplier PSA Peugeot Citroen Group The Company's site at Les Chatelliers-Chateaumur in France
2008 Silver Award as sunroof supplier Ford -
2008 Pace Award for "Manufacturing Process & Capital" Automotive News -
2006 Golden steering wheel VW Eos -
2006 Best Service Shanghai GM -
2005 Quality, Delivery and Diversity Achievement Award Toyota -
2005 Q1 Award Ford Neubrandenburg plant
2004 Quality, Delivery and Diversity Achievement Award Toyota -
2003 Outstanding performance 
in product quality
VW Utting plant, Neubrandenburg plant


R&D Expenditure

  FY ended Dec. 31, 2012 FY ended Dec. 31, 2011 FY ended Dec. 31, 2010
Gross in % of sales 7.2 7.9 8.4

Technological Alliance

-In Feb. 2006, Webasto announced the Company and the Vaillant Group, European manufacturers of heating technology, have signed a cooperation agreement under which the two companies will be working closely together on the joint development of fuel cells for use in cars and stationary applications. The Company's part of the cooperation will be focused on the development of the thermally insulated core module, including the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell module (SOFC), reheater and reformer. The reformer converts natural gas into the hydrogen-rich gas needed for the fuel cell's functioning. Vaillant will be responsible for developing this core module and further system components into a fuel cell powered heater and integrating the result into the heating system built for use in a single-family house.

New Products

The fourth-generation sunroof system
-Webasto Japan Co., Ltd. has started development of the fourth-generation sunroof system with greatly reduced weight and cost, the GTS-X series. Its target gross weight of 6.5 kg is approx. 25%, or 2 kg, lighter than the current model. The production technologies will be improved so that it can be manufactured at low cost at any plant in Japan as well as overseas. The Company introduced into the current model its unique weight-reduction technology, which made the polyurethane part connecting the aluminum or steel outer frame with the glass lid hollow. While it will upgrade the technologies, it will also expand them to its overseas operations and develop a network for parts and material procurement for this purpose. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on Nov. 6, 2009)

Liquid Heat GeneratorR (LHG)

-The Liquid Heat GeneratorR (LHG) will be an independent, on-demand engine heating system. Comprehensive testing of LHG has shown remarkable improvements in warm-up speed, defrosting performance and time-to-comfort of vehicles started from cold. Actual results depend on the vehicle, but typically LHG produces heat so quickly that defrosting starts in less than half the time current automotive systems need and often is completed before a conventional vehicle shows even the first signs of defrosting. Two OEMs have already shown interest in the LHG technology. (From a press release on Mar. 5, 2008)

The 3rd generation sunroof system
-Webasto Japan will replace its leading sunroof models supplied to Japanese automakers with new third-generation models. The output axis (pinion) in the motor accounting for a large part of sunroof weight and other components have been redesigned to reduce motor weight by 23% to 8.5kg from 11kg for the second generation. The new sunroofs also feature improved serenity and a 30% reduced material use by introducing a hollow weight reduction method by infusing gas, a technology jointly developed by the company, Hiroshima University and others for the polyurethane part connecting steel or aluminum exterior frames with glass lid.(From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on Feb. 06, 2008)

Glass roof
-It provides consumers a third roof option -- one that's less expensive than a convertible, yet still lets in natural light without compromising the coupe's head room or versatility. The assembly process for the fixed glass roof option vehicles includes a full, invisible interface with the body shop at Automotive Alliance International's Flat Rock, Mich. plant which assembles the Ford Mustang. (From a press release on Jan. 2, 2008)

UltraView roof

-The roof consists of two glass panels -- both UV-protected -- arranged in tandem. Like a traditional sunroof, the front panel of glass can tilt for venting or, when opened, retracts and stows under the back panel thereby letting fresh air in -- but with the unique advantage of continuing to provide light and a view of the sky to rear seat occupants. The Company will supply this roof to 2008 Cadillac CTS. (From a press release on Nov. 5, 2007)

Investment Activities

Capital Expenditure

  FY ended Dec. 31, 2012 FY ended Dec. 31, 2011 FY ended Dec. 31, 2010
Net in % of sales 5.6 3.5 2.9

Investments in Germany

-In May 2011, the Company is investing in the expansion of its production facility for thermal systems in Neubrandenburg, Germany. An additional eight million euros will go into the construction of the new hall covering 1,400 square meters and the corresponding production and test plants in this year alone. Over the next four years the company is planning to invest a total of more than 20 million euros in this site. The company anticipates producing well over one million heaters in Neubrandenburg in 2011. In addition to the classic parking heaters and auxiliary heaters, in the future heaters for electric vehicles will also roll off the production lines in Neubrandenburg. Over 80 million euros has been invested in the production facility. (From a press release on May 30, 2011)

-In Oct. 2009, the Company put into operation its second production line for polycarbonate components in Schierling, Germany. The amount invested is about 10 million euros. In addition to roof panels, trim panels for sliding roofs will be produced in this new plant. About 160,000 components can be produced annually at the facility. Together with the existing line producing the panorama roof for the smart, the Company has a production capacity of 320,000 polycarbonate components per year. To date, Webasto has already produced 250,000 panorama roofs for the smart fortwo. (From a press release on Oct. 8, 2009)

-In Nov. 2007, in addition to its head office in Stockdorf, Webasto began operations at its new premises in Gilching (both near Munich). These premises are the new worldwide headquarters of its business unit Global Comfort Solutions (GCS). A staff of about 300 has been working here since the beginning of November 2007. Upwards of 30 m was invested in the new GCS headquarters in Gilching. The building covers an area of 18,200m2 of which 2,750m2 is used for testing facilities and workshops.

Investments Outside Germany

-In April 2012, the Company will construct a new plant for sunroofs in Xiangyang, Hubei Province, China. The plant is scheduled to go into commercial production in early 2013 targeted at Japanese automakers' joint venture plants. Additionally, in August Webasto Guangzhou in Guangdong Province will relocate and expand its plant to boost production capacity of sunroofs threefold to 900,000 a year. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on April 11, 2012)

-The Company will triple its annual production capacity by 2011 at its new No.3 plant, established in 2009 in South Korea. The Company's original plan was to construct a new plant in Busan for producing 70,000 sets of sunroof systems in its first fiscal year exclusively for Renault Samsung Motors. But the supplier is currently planning to increase the annual production capacity at the new plant to around 200,000 units, apparently because it is now considering future launching of export to China and Japan of higher-value-added products including large-sized sunroof systems. The construction of the No.3 South Korean plant will complete early next year. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on Nov. 28, 2008)

-Webasto Japan will boost its production capacity in China and Korea by the spring of 2009. In China, where demand for sunroof systems is the highest in Asia, the Company will expand its production capacity by 50-100 percent at its existing facilities in Beijing, Changchun, and Shanghai in order to cope with increasing requirements from a number of automakers. In addition to producing conventional types of sunroofs in China, Webasto intends to start manufacturing also large fixed-type sunroofs that offer openings above both the front and rear seats. In preparation for the expansion, the company will drastically revamp equipment and layouts at the Chinese facilities. In Korea, Webasto will establish its third plant in order to cater to the needs of Renault. The new facility will be located in Busan. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on Aug.26, 2008)

-In Aug. 2007, Webasto Japan announced to start producing the lid (glass) part, a major component of sunroof systems, in-house at its plant based in Guangzhou, China, in 2008. The total investment is approximately 100 million yen. The manufacturer reduced the size of its shipping area at the end of 2007 to make space for installing more machining equipment and begin production of the lid part for some of its mass-produced sunroofs in early 2008.

-In Mar. 2007, Webasto Japan announced to shift manufacturing of the lid (glass) part, a major component of sunroofs, to local production in China by the end of 2007 as well as consolidating the lid molding lines at three plants in China to one in Changchun. Total investment is estimated at approx. 400 million yen. To supply to automakers in different locations, the company has established three manufacturing operations in Shanghai, Changchun, and Guangzhou where it opened a new production site in June 2006 to supply to local Japanese automakers. By consolidating lid production to its Changchun plant with the largest output of the three by supplying to three automakers, Mazda, VW and a Chinese capital, and delivering products to Shanghai and Guangzhou, it aims to optimize the operational efficiency in terms of human and financial resources and technologies. The company estimates the local content ratio will then be raised to approx. 75% at the Changchun plant and to 65% at the late-comer Guangzhou plant.

-In Jan. 2007, Webasto Japan announced to enlarge production capacity in China by moving and expanding its existing production facilities in Beijing. This is an attempt in response to a rapidly growing demand from local automakers. The plant in Beijing manufactures and supplies products mainly for Hyundai Motor. Enlarged production capacity is expected to boost the company's annual production from the current 150,000 units to 200,000 units, and sales amount from the current 3 billion yen to 4 billion yen. The new plant is located about 30 kilometers from the existing site with a land area of about 40,000 square meters. The company aims to start operations in the middle of 2007.

-In Feb. 2006, Webasto Japan announced to set up its first production base in the Chinese mainland, in Guangzhou City. The company has recently obtained a license for the plant construction from the government of China and will begin knockdown production of sunroofs by the end of 2006. Within 2007, the Chinese plant will also start local production of sunroofs for supply to Japanese automakers in the Guangzhou area. Sunroof installation rate in China is higher than in Japan and approximately 80% of new vehicles are sold with sunroofs in China. Switching the supply source from export from Japan to local production in China, therefore, allows the company to reduce product cost and logistics cost. Over the medium term, a total of approximately 1 billion yen will be invested, and a yearly production capacity will be expanded at least to 300,000 sets by 2010. By 2010, its Chongqing plant will also increase production to 300,000 units. Webasto Japan plans to raise combined sales at two sites in China to 15 billion yen and combined production to 600,000 units, which is an equal level with Japanese facilities. While Webasto Group of Germany, Webasto Japan's parent company, already has a plant in China, this is the first time for the Japanese subsidiary to establish its own production base in China.