Reasons to choose the Kärcher brand: innovative; competent; reliable.
Facts and figures for the 2015 financial year
Kärcher has once again achieved growth in the 2015 financial year and set a new record with sales totalling € 2.22 billion. Over the same period, the cleaning machines manufacturer sold 12.87 million machines, thereby achieving its highest ever sales. At the end of 2015, the company had a total of 11,333 employees in 60 countries. This corresponds to an increase of 200 employees compared to the previous year.
A major focus at Kärcher in 2015 was digitisation – digital service products, such as a fleet management system for building service contractors, were among the new products that were developed to production stage. The company has also played a pioneering role in digitisation in the end consumer segment: the prototype of a water timer, for instance, which can be operated via a smartphone app, was presented. As well as developing product innovations, last year Kärcher again invested heavily in new and existing sites in order to ensure long-term growth. The family-owned company has now opened almost 600 Kärcher Centers worldwide.
Social commitment once again had high priority at Kärcher: as part of its cultural sponsorship programme, the company was again involved in the restoration of numerous monuments throughout 2015 – including Aachen Cathedral, in cooperation with the German Commission for UNESCO. Financial and technical support for SOS Children’s Villages was expanded worldwide, as was cooperation with the Global Nature Fund.
We are working on new solutions – full steam ahead. Today as we always have.
Alfred Kärcher – inventor and entrepreneur
Alfred Kärcher, like Robert Bosch, Gottlieb Daimler and Graf Zeppelin, was one of the inventors and entrepreneurs that Württemberg produced in such great number since the beginning of the industrial era. With the utmost commitment, he dedicated himself to bringing his ideas to fruition. In 1924, the then 23-year-old completed his studies at the Technical University of Stuttgart and worked first of all at his father's agency, which he developed into an engineer's office. In 1935 he founded his own company in Bad Cannstatt, Stuttgart so that he could produce and market his own products in the field of heating technology. Alfred Kärcher designed and built the "Kärcher salt bath furnace", among other products, for tempering steel and light metal in industry according to his own patent.
In 1939, the family-owned company relocated to Winnenden, where it still has its headquarters. By this time the company was also producing heating devices for aircraft engines and cabin heating systems. Following the Second World War, the company turned its attention to products for urgent, everyday use: round stoves, small cookers, handcarts and trailers for tractors.
Move into cleaning technology
Alfred Kärcher made his breakthrough into the cleaning technology industry in 1950 with the development of the first European hot water high-pressure cleaner (the DS 350 steam jet). The design of the water heater proved to be so pioneering that it still forms the basis of all burners today.
Like so many, Alfred Kärcher did not live to see the global success of his innovation. When he died on 17 September 1959 at the age of 58, his wife Irene took over the management of the company and steered its fortunes for three decades. Today their children Johannes Kärcher and Susanne Zimmermann von Siefart are in charge of the family-owned company in its second generation.
In 1962, Kärcher founded its first foreign subsidiary in France, followed by Austria and Switzerland. Internationalisation continued apace. In 1975, Kärcher opened a factory in Brazil; 10 years later, the company had founded 16 sales companies in North America, Africa, Australia and elsewhere. By 2012, Kärcher was represented by subsidiaries in 57 countries and generating 85% of its sales abroad. With 40,000 customer service points in over 190 countries, Kärcher provides comprehensive support to its customers all over the world.
Growth through innovation
After a phase of diversification, Kärcher turned its attention to high-pressure cleaning in 1974. During this period, the colour of the machines was changed from blue to the now world-famous Kärcher yellow. In 1980, the company expanded its product range to cover basic cleaning requirements, initially in the areas of transport and buildings. Step by step, the range was expanded with the addition of wet and dry vacuum cleaners, sweeper vacuums and scrubber driers, vehicle washing bays, steam cleaners, cleaning agents and drinking water and wastewater treatment systems.
Among the milestones in Kärcher's history was the introduction in 1984 of the HD 555 profi, the first portable high-pressure cleaner, and the subsequent expansion into the consumer market. In 1993, this range was expanded to include indoor products and Kärcher has since added steam cleaners and vacuum cleaners for private households to its range. The RoboCleaner RC 3000 was launched in 2003 as the world's first fully automatic robotic vacuum cleaner. In 2007, Kärcher moved into the completely new sector of gardening, which includes pumps for watering, water removal and service water supply in households, as well as an extensive range of accessories.
In 1986, Kärcher launched its pioneering roller brush technology for scrubber driers in the professional range. Thanks to the development of a new rotary nozzle (dirt blaster) in 1995, the cleaning effect of the high-pressure cleaner was almost doubled. The dust intake of commercial wet and dry vacuum cleaners was continuously improved, and in 2007 the innovative Tact filter cleaning system was launched. New procedures were also developed in the course of worldwide cleaning projects: the 284 travertine columns on St Peter's Square in Rome were restored using a specially developed spray process over a total area of 25,000 m². Since 2009, Kärcher has been selling ultra-high pressure cleaners, which, at up to 2,500 bar pressure, not only clean but restore facades and strip concrete. In the same year, a multipurpose municipal sweeper was released onto the market and new target groups were gained with the launch of water dispensers.
Kärcher becomes a global market leader
Innovation has been and continues to be the most important growth factor. In 2011 alone, Kärcher launched over 100 new products. The global market leader in cleaning technology will continue to be characterised by its ingenuity, top performance and innovative problem solving.
Kärcher in Bad Cannstatt
On 27/03/2015, Alfred Kärcher's 114th birthday, a commemorative plaque was erected at 57 Nauheimer Straße in Bad Canstatt, Stuttgart, in honour of the Swabian designer. The new plaque is the 101st of its kind and is a worthy addition to the many other points of historical significance in the oldest and most densely populated district of Stuttgart.
It was erected by the registered association Pro Alt Cannstatt e.V., which has been committed to preserving the Cannstatt district with its rich history since the beginning of the 1980s. The association created the "historic path", a route which encompasses all the cultural highlights of Cannstatt and has now been expanded to include the former residence of the Kärcher family.
Not far from the spa park, in Nauheimer Straße (known as Olgastraße until 1938), the 33 year-old Alfred establishes the "Alfred Kärcher Limited Partnership" together with his father. Further business premises, assembly and production sites could also be found in Bad Cannstatt, at 30 Haldenstraße and 71 Kreuznacher Straße.
Thus lived and worked Alfred Kärcher for many years in the streets of Bad Cannstatt, before in 1939 a shortage of space saw him move to the company premises he had acquired in Winnenden two years previously. The site in Winnenden remains the head office of the family business to this day.
Top performance for cleanliness and value retention
When it comes to quality and technology, we are the leading provider of cleaning systems, cleaning products and services for leisure, households, trade and industry worldwide. Our customers benefit enormously from using our effective, efficient and environmentally friendly cleaning products. We make a noticeable difference in the lives of our customers by providing effective, efficient solutions for everyday cleaning and watering tasks all over the world. We have highly satisfied and enthusiastic customers!
Our corporate mission statement
We foster open dialogue with our customers based on partnership. Our products and services offer ideal solutions which have real benefits for customers. Our customers' cleaning problems can be solved quickly and flexibly.
Qualified and motivated employees who take pleasure in their work are an important success factor for Kärcher.
Trust, loyalty, transparency, fairness, reliability and respect characterise Kärcher's relationships with others, both inside and outside the company. Through teamwork and by actively exchanging information, we make the most of all of the experience and expertise our company has to offer in order to achieve our goals.
Our product range
We offer cleaning systems, cleaning products and services for leisure, home, trade and industry with outstanding value for money.
Kärcher is a global company and sees itself as a benchmark. We want to occupy a leading position in market share, innovation, quality and image, and we aim to be global market leaders in all areas of our business.
As leading innovators, we set standards in technology, service and design aimed at providing maximum benefit to our customers and meeting our customers' needs. Our innovations impress and inspire our customers.
All over the world, the Kärcher brand is synonymous with top performance, innovation and quality. We want to continuously strengthen our brand.
Production and procurement
Our suppliers are part of our value chain. Together with them, we work continuously to optimise production intensity and process design. We ensure competitiveness in quality and costs through our responsiveness, speed and flexibility.
Corporate social responsibility
Kärcher stands by its responsibility to society: we respect the values and standards, human rights, and legal and social systems of all countries in the spirit of good citizenship.
Use of resources
We design our products, services and processes to be environmentally compatible. Wherever we are active, we take environmental requirements into account and, in doing so, use all of the available resources responsibly.
Growth, finance and success
We increase our profitability and financial resources through profitable growth, thereby safeguarding the future and long-term development of our company. Our priority is to maintain our financial independence and decision-making autonomy. Moreover, organic growth takes precedence over acquisition.
Our partners identify closely with the company. Kärcher is still a family-owned company.