In the midst of those events, almost unnoticed by the public, a technical revolution took its course to bring boundless opportunities to the mobile community …
In the early seventies it was virtually impossible on board a sailing yacht or boat to keep food and beverages fresh for a longer time. Two brothers, Theodor and Peter Wähning, had an ingenious idea. They created the first battery powered refrigerator – and that was the birth of WAECO.
The first step: mobile refrigeration
To solve the problem of mobile cooling, the two founders designed a refrigerator with a hermetic cooling circuit, driven by a compressor and powered by a battery. A sensation at the time, the benefits of their invention are now widely taken for granted by the mobile community. The first mobile fridge paved the way to what is now the world's most varied range of mobile refrigeration products for private and professional use.
WAECO has lead the way in this industry for over 30 years now, setting new standards in terms of quality and functionality time and again. There are many products to prove this point: designer mini fridges with cult potential, wine climatisers for perfect mobile enjoyment, powerful coolers that can be operated from various energy sources, and last but not least WAECO's legendary compressor refrigerators and cooling unit series. Quality and variety, combined with a comprehensive service offer, have won the company an excellent reputation. The customer base includes end-users as well as renowned manufacturers of cars, trucks, motorhomes and yachts who appreciate WAECO as a competent partner for custom design and series production.
Growth and diversification: from a two-men operation into a global player
The untiring dedication of the Wähning brothers helped the company grow at a breath-taking pace. New product lines were launched almost every year to close the gaps in the range and create what Theodor and Peter Wähning considered a seamless offer. In parallel to the constantly growing range of mobile cooling appliances, the two pioneers developed a wide array of electronic accessories for economical use of precious battery power.
Doing the small step from mobile cooling to mobile kitchen equipment was then a logical progression for WAECO. Microwave ovens, coffeemakers and car kettles, all designed for the rigours of mobile use, were added to the range to provide travellers with unprecedented comfort and convenience.
In 1981 WAECO forged a partnership with DIAVIA, an Italian company specialised in vehicle air conditioning – the technology required to generate cold under mobile conditions. The cooperation resulted in a dense network of AirCon service partners and made the company the Number One in the European market for retrofit automotive air conditioners. Here again, competence is what matters most to WAECO. Training courses are organised on a regular basis to provide the partners with valuable know-how. A perfect logistic system guarantees fast delivery of spare parts and consumables.
While working on retrofit air conditioners, WAECO discovered many new opportunities to provide motor enthusiasts with even more safety and comfort. As a result, they created a wide range of automotive accessories all designed for fast and easy DIY fitting. This activity paved the way to another product segment where WAECO now ranks as the European market leader: reversing video systems for private and professional use.
Global expansion progressed at a similar pace. Today WAECO brings comfort and safety to customers on four continents through its subsidiaries in the USA, Australia the Middle East and the Far East. With proprietary production plants in Emsdetten (Germany), Novafeltria (Italy), Ostroda (Poland) and Shenzhen (China), WAECO is able to provide products of consistent quality. With a local presence in markets around the globe, the company can respond quickly and individually to its customers' demands.
Outlook: a passion for performance and progress
Even today, more than thirty years after its founding, the company has retained its pioneering spirit. Untiring in their search for perfection, WAECO's engineers use modern research methods to optimise the existing range and create entirely new products for the mobile community.
Since the 1st of March 2007, WAECO has been operating in a new ownership structure. That was the day when Ruth, Peter and Theodor Wähning sold all company shares to Dometic Deutschland GmbH. “The principal idea behind the merger is to continue our growth and build a globally operating business able to act as a single-source supplier of convenience accessories for the leisure market and all types of vehicles, including boats,” comments Reimund Spies, Managing Director of Dometic Deutschland GmbH and Dometic WAECO International GmbH. “The companies’ markets, products and key regions perfectly complement each other. Management succession and generation change, widely known as critical topics on the agenda of family businesses, are now crossed off the task list and WAECO can move full steam ahead into the future.”
Dometic has long been a worldwide leading manufacturer of absorption refrigerators, kitchen equipment, windows, doors, sanitation equipment and convenience devices for the recreational vehicle and marine markets. Its customer base includes manufacturers of motorhomes, camper vans and leisure boats. The Siegen-based company also manufactures special cooling systems and other products for the healthcare sector and the hotel industry.
Dometic, as an independent group, was founded in 2001 out of Electrolux Leisure Appliances. The Dometic Group sells its products in about 100 countries.