WÖHR Autoparksysteme celebrates 120th anniversary with innovative solutions for the city of the future.
From a Swabian locksmith's shop to one of the world's leading manufacturers of high-tech parking systems: The WÖHR company is rethinking parking space - and paving the way for the mobility of the future. This year, the wholly family-owned company celebrates its 120th anniversary.
The parking revolution began in Korntal near Stuttgart: there Johannes Wöhr opened his own blacksmith's shop in 1902, which manufactured carts and made agricultural repairs. In 1932, his son Otto Wöhr took over the company and turned the forge into a locksmith's shop, from which the WÖHR company, now based in Friolzheim, emerged. Today, WÖHR Autoparksysteme GmbH is a globally sought-after manufacturer of ecologically sustainable, comfortable and space-saving parking systems - with customers in Germany and all over Europe, but also in Dubai, Melbourne, Singapore, Tel Aviv and many other places worldwide. WÖHR is thus considered a showcase company for German medium-sized businesses and an example of a leading company from a rural region - a Swabian success story that celebrates its 120th anniversary this year.
Global business with an eye on future generations
"Running a company with a 120-year history brings with it a special responsibility," emphasises Daniela Wöhr, granddaughter of company founder Otto Wöhr and Managing Director of PGS Parking- und Garagen-Service GmbH, which is part of the company group, on the occasion of the round anniversary. "I am therefore pleased that in this anniversary year we are looking to the future with great confidence despite the current challenges: German SMEs have strengths that are particularly in demand in these times. In addition to regional roots, these also include reliability as well as long-term and thus sustainable economic activity." Daniela Wöhr emphasises the sustainable approach of her company with its compact solutions and focus on recycling management, which makes an important contribution to climate-friendly cities. "As a family business, we are not only driven by shareholder interest, but by the best solution that sustainably ensures the success of the company and a future worth living for future generations. This also includes a special focus on climate and resource protection in the sense of the UN Sustainable Development Goals," says Wöhr.
Role model in the field of sustainability
Markus Hofheinz, CEO of WÖHR Autoparksysteme GmbH, is an internationally experienced manager with proven expertise in innovative business and process optimisation at the helm of the company. From his work as managing director of Wangen Pumpentechnik GmbH, he enjoys technical innovation and boldly drives innovations forward: "From discussions with our customers around the world, I know that the label 'Made in Germany' is still an exceptional seal of quality for complex technical systems," Hofheinz reports. This is also where he sees the cornerstone for future success and further growth: the WÖHR Parklift 450 is the first mechanical parking lift in the world to have an environmental declaration (EPD) in accordance with the international environmental standard ISO 14025. "Such a certificate makes it possible to compare construction alternatives in terms of their ecological footprint and, as a credible document, ensures transparency vis-à-vis business, politics and the population," explains the managing director and emphasises: "WÖHR is thus the first supplier in the market to set a new standard for proving the environmental compatibility of innovative parking solutions."
Parking space as a lever for a liveable city
As an international innovator, WÖHR today stands for parking systems that rethink parking space: like the WÖHR mobility hub, which was presented to the public for the first time at the IAA 2021. The modular system uses parking facilities as a lever for creating a lively and diverse neighbourhood. The fully automatic WÖHR parking system makes use of this visionary concept to combine diverse uses in a space-saving, modular and above-ground way. In addition to cars and bicycles, cafés, craft businesses, parcel services, dry cleaners, fitness studios, daycare centres and urban gardening are integrated in combination, depending on the needs of the location. Particularly in demand: the concept is also convincing from a sustainability point of view. The neighbourhood dock is largely made of recyclable material and complies with the cradle-to-cradle principle. The future of parking with WÖHR parking systems is the result of decades of experience in the innovative and sustainable optimisation of parking space - forward-looking products have a 120-year tradition at WÖHR.
The history of the WÖHR company - from Baden-Württemberg to the whole world
When Johannes Wöhr opened his blacksmith's shop in 1902, he could not have imagined all this: It was not until half a century later - at the end of the fifties - that the company, then in its second generation of family management, began to build the first parking system developed in-house. The innovative technology made it possible to park two cars on top of each other and thus pioneered the redesign of parking spaces.
They had backed the "right horse": As early as 1962, the "Type 100" parking system developed by WÖHR was used in a Munich underground car park - doubling the number of parking spaces.
In 1964, the company moved from Korntal to Friolzheim, only about 30 kilometres away, where the company's headquarters are still located today. As close to home as WÖHR has remained, its projects soon became international: At the latest with the products of the "Parklift" series introduced in 1976, the innovative parking system manufacturer from Baden-Württemberg gradually attracted the attention of customers from all over the world. In the mid-1980s, WÖHR realised its first international projects in Zurich and Malaysia; later, other projects followed in Europe and Asia. Since then, the Swabian medium-sized company has established itself on the world market - as one of the leading manufacturers of innovative and space-saving parking systems.
Electromechanical parking systems type 100
Already in 1962 cars were parked on top of each other in the underground car park "Zittelstraße, Munich" and parking spaces were doubled. WÖHR supplied and installed 81 parking systems type 100 for 2 parking spaces each.
Development of WÖHR Doga 313 and 635
WÖHR solved the trick of gaining maximum space with a minimum of space with the development of the Doga 313. Already with a double-width platform, the Doga 313 was also available for 4 vehicles. On this basis, the Doga 635 was developed to create two parking levels on top of each other even with very low ceiling heights. For this purpose, the upper platform was swivelled out into the tramline.
The sales network extends across 70 countries: on the occasion of the anniversary, more than 80 sales partners came to the International Sales Meeting in Friolzheim from 28 to 30 June 2022. Among other things, the new products of the Combilift and Combiparker family were presented during lectures and workshops. During a tour of the sales and production hall as well as numerous workshops and evening events, there was also ample opportunity for the partner countries to exchange experiences.
Ready for the future: parking systems for the city of tomorrow
Today, with more cars on the road than ever before and at the same time the need for car-free city centres and alternative mobility solutions becoming ever more urgent, WÖHR parking systems are more relevant than ever. After all, any energy-efficient or emission-free means of transport is only as good as the ability to park it easily and in a way that conserves resources. If we want to make our cities more liveable, we urgently need to use the available parking space more efficiently. Even more: we need to rethink parking completely. This is where WÖHR is doing real pioneering work: the innovative concepts promise to revolutionise parking space as we have known it up to now - decisive building blocks for a cityscape without parked cars and space-saving solutions for bicycle parking.
In addition to car parking solutions such as the semi-automatic parking system Combiparker 560 or the new Combilift family - a visionary overall concept that integrates parking space into sensible, diverse uses - WÖHR's products also include the "WÖHR Bikesafe": a fully automatic bicycle parking garage that creates space for over 122 bicycles on the surface of a double carport.
Ecological footprint: parking with environmental standard
As impressive as the 120-year company history is - at WÖHR they prefer to concentrate on the future. And the future is promising: the entire Combilift family is being relaunched and six new systems are coming onto the market. In addition - as the first mechanical parking lift worldwide - the WÖHR Parklift 450 has an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) in accordance with the international environmental standard ISO 14025. An EPD makes it possible to compare construction alternatives in terms of their ecological footprint and, as a credible document, ensures transparency for the economy, politics and the population. WÖHR is thus the first supplier in the market to set a new standard for proving the environmental compatibility of innovative parking solutions.
95 percent of the materials used remain in the recycling loop
The Parklift 450 doubles the parking supply in a simple and economical way and thus contributes demonstrably to a significant reduction of the ecological footprint. In addition, it convinces with a modular construction geared towards durability as well as an astonishingly high recyclability of 95 percent of the materials used - a decisive contribution to sustainable mobility.
Holistic approaches for the global market
Two current examples of the pioneering work that WÖHR is doing in terms of space-saving, sustainable and future-oriented mobility can currently be admired in Spain and Mexico: At the Apolonio Morales 29 office building in Madrid and the 60-storey Chapultepec Uno glass tower in Mexico City.
In the conversion of the Apolonio Morales 29 office building in the north of the Spanish capital, which received LEED Platinum green building certification in 2022, the WÖHR Parklift 463 D and WÖHR Parklift 462 E parking systems used are crucial building blocks for the project's holistic approach. They enable individual mobility without occupying public and social space by parking cars. Here, the car parking systems were sunk invisibly into the ground, making them visible only when lifted for parking. The cover plate was thereby harmoniously adapted to the surroundings.
At Chapultepec Uno in Mexico City, the WÖHR parking system used - the WÖHR Multiparker 750 - is also underground. The glass tower, which houses flats, offices and rooms of the Ritz Carlton hotel company, thus creates innovative and space-saving parking space - in the middle of the densely populated 22 million metropolis, where every square metre of open space created represents a valuable gain for people, the city and the infrastructure.
Users reach the bottom by car via a ramp, where a screen shows them their cabin number. As soon as the cabin opens, the car can be slowly manoeuvred onto the parking space, where a built-in laser system automatically analyses whether the vehicle has been parked in an optimal space-saving manner. A turntable then manoeuvres and transports the car within 15 seconds to one of the twelve underground levels, each of which can accommodate 80 vehicles. There is no fixed arrangement of spaces - the system assigns the vehicles to the different levels and parking spaces according to availability: This constant dynamic guarantees optimal utilisation of the system.
The management in the traditional company
As a shareholder of WÖHR Autoparksysteme GmbH and Managing Director of PGS Parking- und Garagen-Service GmbH, Daniela Wöhr brings detailed knowledge of the company's internal processes and a keen sense of the needs of customers and employees to the company thanks to her many years of service.
As CEO of WÖHR Autoparksysteme, Markus Hofheinz focuses on strategic and operational business and sales development. Thanks to his extensive experience abroad, he has a pronounced intercultural competence that flows into his management style and which he combines pragmatically with a forward-looking value orientation.