Photo: Webasto
Webasto Light Duty

Webasto launches HVAC system for light- and medium-duty vans

June 22, 2021
When specified and configured through the a la carte aftermarket method, a kit will integrate with a vehicles factory system, providing users with customized auxiliary heating and cooling performance.

Webasto North America has introduced its new A La Carte Aftermarket Van HVAC Kit-Building System. This approach aims to allow customers to upfit Ford Transit, RAM ProMaster or Mercedes Sprinter vans with auxiliary HVAC systems faster while carrying less inventory and all at a lower cost.

Until today, those in the market for auxiliary, tie-in heating/cooling or stand-alone HVAC kits for commercial van makes and models would have to first obtain a model-specific kit designed to fit that particular vehicle. However, with the popularity of vans and the variety of models out there, Webasto believes the chances are that one of the 25 to 30 most popular kits might not be in inventory locally or otherwise readily available.

“Webasto has been making aftermarket van HVAC kits for years, and we alone made 22 separate systems, each designed to fit the leading van makes and models,” Mike Cicioni, HVAC application manager at Webasto, said. “Our systems work seamlessly, but our distributors had to carry multiples of all 22 kits if they wanted to be stocked and ready to meet the marketplace variables."

Webasto realized that many of the HVAC components they were using to make their kits were common among varying makes and models, and that others were purpose-designed and manufactured. They also realized that unbundling the components might make it easier for body builders, upfitters and fleets to all get what they wanted with more speed and consistency.

“Our objective was to find a way to remove the burden from our customers, enabling them to carry a reduced inventory of the constituent components, instead of 22 or more vehicle-specific kits,” Cicioni added. “Essentially, the concept was to provide lower-cost unbundled components that could later be re-bundled, based solely on application and demand.”

Webasto developed a decision tree method that allows virtually anyone to choose the right system components, based on answering just eight simple questions. The company is also introducing a product brochure that includes the eight-question product specifier. The questions can be answered by simply marking the brochure and noting the corresponding part numbers. An online configurator is also in the works and it will be compatible with both desktop and mobile devices.

“We’ve taken a complex task and made it easy for customers to check a few boxes and specify an HVAC system that is precisely optimized for their unique application,” Matt Wheeler, head of HVAC for light- and medium-duty, said. “We did the hard work to make our customers’ work easier.”

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