Bosch enjoys strong growth in automotive technology
* 60th International Automotive Press Briefing
* Growth predominantly in Asia Pacific
- Automotive technology sales of more than 30 billion euros in 2011
- Making mobility safer and more energy-efficient
- Around 20 electromobility projects in series production by 2013
Boxberg/Stuttgart – Change in the automotive industry remains as dynamic as ever. As a major automotive supplier, Bosch is one of the driving forces behind these changes, for instance on the road to electromobility. This was underlined by Dr. Bernd Bohr, chairman of the Bosch Automotive Group, at the 60th Automotive Press Briefing at Bosch’s Boxberg proving ground. As Bohr explained to 330 journalists from 35 countries, the company is developing at a dynamic pace – economically as well as technically. Automotive technology sales will pass the 30-billion-euro threshold for the first time in 2011, and the company is expecting growth to be around 10 percent. Bosch is enjoying particular success with technology that promotes eco-friendly mobility and prevents accidents.
According to Bohr, the company is benefiting from its broad knowledge base on the road to the future of driving. “By networking this extensive know-how, we are gaining extra innovative strength to support the automotive industry in tackling the enormous changes it faces, as well as to make those changes come about more quickly.”
Growth also evident in the workforce
The positive developments in Bosch’s Automotive Technology business are also reflected in headcount. It is expected that the number of associates will rise from 167,000 to 177,000 over the course of the year. Asia Pacific is responsible for most of this increase, but other parts of the world are also seeing growing numbers of associates. “We are close to our customers all around the world,” Bohr said. This was, he continued, particularly true of the company’s knowledge workers. Of the 26,000 engineers that were working for Bosch Automotive Technology in research and development at the start of the year, one in two was based in Germany – but nearly one in three was in Asia. Bohr judges the budget for this activity to be “well above the industry average.” Bosch will spend a good 3.2 billion euros on research and development in Automotive Technology in 2011. “With this we have to fund a campaign on many fronts,” said Bohr, “not only to come up with the mobility solutions for the near and more distant future, but also to make driving here and now even cleaner and safer, more economical and more comfortable.”
The board member added that in this way “Bosch is seizing long-term growth opportunities without neglecting short-term ones.” In concrete terms, this means for example reducing fuel consumption in diesel and gasoline vehicles by at least another 30 percent. Technologies that improve efficiency are popular in the marketplace, he said. This, he added, is why Bosch expects unit sales of its common-rail diesel-injection systems to rise by a good 10 percent annually up to 2015. He pointed out that the automotive supplier hoped to triple sales of its gasoline direct injection systems by 2013; in conjunction with turbocharging, these allow smaller engines to deliver the same performance while consuming less fuel. Another example he cited was the start-stop system, which reduces fuel consumption by 4 percent and more. Bosch would, he said, sell some 2.6 million units of this system this year – twice as many as in 2010. “We are implementing a wide variety of measures to make vehicle drive systems more efficient than ever before,” Bohr concluded.
The future belongs to electromobility
Whatever the efficiency improvements in diesel and gasoline vehicles, Bohr was confident that the future belongs to the electric drive. But Bohr went on to pose the rhetorical question: “When is the future?” In his view, the present high battery costs and limited range meant that the switch to electromobility would take well over a decade. But he felt it was not simply a matter of either/or when considering internal-combustion engines and electric drives. For the not-too-distant future, Bohr judged the outlook for plug-in hybrids to be good: a relatively small, cost-effective battery for urban trips that can be recharged from a power socket, combined with a gasoline or diesel engine for longer journeys. “Combinations of this sort,” Bohr said, “require broad and well-networked systems expertise – one of Bosch’s strengths in its core areas of powertrain and chassis technology.”
The company’s technical expertise in electromobility is not only profound, it also covers a wide range of specialties. It produces not only power electronics and the semiconductors on which they are based but also electric motors. And SB LiMotive, a joint venture between Bosch and Samsung SDI, started production of lithium-ion batteries at the end of 2010. “By 2013,” Bohr said, “we will start series production of electromobility products for nearly 20 projects for 12 automakers.” However, the up-front investments are considerable. He pointed out that Bosch spends 400 million euros each year on powertrain electrification. The aim, he said, is to recoup these costs quickly through economies of scale. In light of this, Bohr welcomed the cooperation projects that have emerged in the industry to pool production volumes. Bosch itself is planning to establish a joint venture together with Daimler that will develop and manufacture motors for electric vehicles in Europe. Bohr saw this as a win-win situation.
The goal of accident-free driving
Bosch is pursuing the goal of accident-free driving with just as much purpose as it is electromobility. Bohr described how he saw this developing over the short and long term. For example, he highlighted legislation coming into effect this year that requires the ESP® electronic stability program to be fitted in Europe, the United States, and Australia. In these regions there will soon be no more new cars without the anti-skid system first developed and launched in the market by Bosch. “Over the next 20 years,” Bohr went on, “technical advances will lead to autonomous driving.” The key to this, in his view, lies in expanding driver assistance systems. Bosch already has more than 600 engineers working on such systems. Bohr believes autonomous driving will first become established in relatively discrete situations, such as during parking or in stop-and-go traffic. But future vehicle generations will feature systems that can also operate at higher speeds. “Autonomous driving will be introduced in steps,” Bohr said.
Bosch is developing innovations specifically for the emerging economies of Asia and South America, where purchasing power and prices are considerably lower than in advanced economies. Experience gained in meeting the specific requirements of these markets can, according to Bohr, frequently be applied to global platforms, offering new scope for cost reductions. “The link between our engineers in advanced and emerging economies is no one-way street,” Bohr said, “but instead a highway with ideas traveling in both directions.” Bosch’s success speaks for itself: Asia’s share of Automotive Technology sales has more than quadrupled in just 12 years – from 6 to 26 percent – with sales in this region growing from 1.0 to 7.4 billion euros.
Automotive Technology is the largest Bosch Group business sector. In 2010, its sales came to 28.1 billion euros, or 59 percent of total group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers. The roughly 167,000 Automotive Technology associates worldwide work in seven areas of business: injection technology for internal combustion engines, powertrain peripherals, alternative drive concepts, active and passive safety systems, assistance and comfort functions, incar information and communication, as well as services and technology for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch has been responsible for important automotive innovations, such as electronic engine management, the ESP® anti-skid system, and common-rail diesel technology.
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology, some 285,000 associates generated sales of 47.3 billion euros in fiscal 2010. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 350 subsidiaries and regional companies in over 60 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Bosch spent 3.8 billion euros for research and development in 2010, and applied for over 3,800 patents worldwide. With all its products and services, Bosch enhances the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial.
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