- Webasto exhibits concept car - Competence in roof and air conditioning systems - Largest sunroof in the world - Modern temperature management in the passenger vehicle
Stockdorf/Munich/Geneva. - Webasto AG, the international supplier of roof and heating systems, is presenting its own concept car for the first time in Geneva. It is called the Welcome programme. Welcome stands for Wellbeing, Comfort and Emotion. After IAA in Frankfurt, where the sporty five-seater even caught the eye of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, its next stop was the Tokyo Motor Show. Following the Geneva Motor Show, the Welcome journey will continue to the USA. Franz-Josef Kortüm, Chairman of Webasto AG, says, “With this concept car we want to clearly demonstrate our competence in the areas of both roof and heating systems. Not only as a series of separate innovative products, but implemented in a roadworthy vehicle. The amount of interest and very positive reactions it attracted in Frankfurt have given us the incentive to bring our ideas and products to the road soon.”
This vehicle demonstrates in exemplary fashion the possibilities that remain to be explored in the area of sunroofs and temperature management. By combining several cars in one, the Webasto Welcome is keeping with the trend towards so-called cross-over vehicles. Spacious five-seaters with a sporty design, semi-convertible and pick-up all in one. As Franz-Josef Kortüm says, “We already know that tomorrow’s customers are going to want ever more personalised vehicles. The car must be able to adapt to a whole range of activities – travelling, sport or just transporting things – and it’s got to do it well. In our concept car we are showing car manufacturers the products that we as a supplier can develop to achieve these goals.”
The Welcome’s most striking features are the two large glass panels that form its roof. They reinforce the vehicle’s sporty style in a most effective way, whether open or closed. With a surface area of over a square metre, the front panorama roof is also the largest in the world. When it is slid back across the roof into the back, even the rear-seat passengers are given that convertible feeling. But it’s when you slide the rear glass panel forwards that the concept car’s conversion capability is fully revealed. Still a five-seater with full interior comfort, the Welcome is transformed into a pick-up with a large loading area. For particularly unwieldy items, this can even be extended by the electrically retractable tailgate. Loading heavy goods is made easier by a convenient loading system – like a conveyor belt – which loads the goods in or out of the vehicle. And for maximum use, this weatherproof loading compartment can be secured by a telescopic luggage frame. If required, the passenger compartment can also be separated from the luggage compartment by an electrically collapsible pane. And if you want some extra luggage to hand in the luggage compartment, you can place it on a cover made of aluminium lamella, prestressed (curved slightly upwards) to hold up to five kilos.
Behind a cover under the rear bumper hides a bicycle carrier that swings out. It is easy to open and can carry two bicycles. When no longer needed it simply folds away underneath the car. And because convenience is always a priority at Webasto, even the lid of the petrol tank is electrically operated. The bonnet has a built-in insect spoiler. This narrow spoiler can be opened electrically and guides the airflow over the car so that insects cannot land on the windscreen.
When it comes to heating too, Webasto continues to show its powers of innovation. In addition to parking heating, newly developed heating elements provide even more comfort, as the Welcome demonstrates. They are placed in the fan’s vents and elsewhere, including in the vehicle doors. This ensures that the heat is distributed as evenly as possible to each passenger. It goes almost without saying that there is an option to switch on the Webasto parking heater by remote control or even by telephone. Its benefits should also be felt even more quickly in the future.