Bosch: a 135-year-old automotive supplier looking to the future

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Bosch is a 135-year-old automotive supplier that nevertheless keeps a close eye on the future.

It has positioned itself at the center of major trends impacting the global automotive industry today. This agility and forward-thinking vision earned the German company the Informa Tech Automotive Group Tier 1 Supplier of the Year award. ITAG is the parent organization of WardsAuto.

Bosch reinvented itself last year. It restructured its organization and formed strategic partnerships and consortia to position itself as a major player in the development of the software-defined vehicle, a revolution in automotive design and architecture.

It has invested in the electrification of vehicles, but still plays a vital role as a supplier of internal combustion engines.

“What’s clear in the powertrain space is that our significant involvement in electrification and internal combustion engines still has value,” said Paul Thomas, executive vice president of mobility solutions for Bosch. in North America.

It takes talent to do both, and Thomas (photo below on the left) Bosch said to that. “Our powertrain team is familiar with and able to adapt to multiple scenarios. It’s a nice balance.”

It describes its ICE business as “central” and the electrification business as “evolving”. Bosch fulfilled $12.6 billion in electrification-related orders last year.

Bosch has been involved in tackling the microchip shortage that has plagued the auto industry since 2020. It is investing more than $1 billion to expand semiconductor production at facilities around the world.

“We are one of the few automotive vendors that can develop a semiconductor from the start of a wafer to a device that can be placed in a car,” says Thomas.

Informa award judges note that Bosch has taken aggressive steps on the sustainability front, pushing for hydrogen, maintaining an EV charging service in Europe, partnering with Volkswagen to establish production of batteries in Europe and pushing for the use of cleaner-burning hydrogen in ICEs.

The company’s goal is not only to become a fuel cell supplier for fuel cell electric vehicles, but also to supply hydrogen itself. Consequently, he has has branched out into developing components for electrolyzers that separate water in hydrogen and oxygen.

The supplier’s position in advanced driver assistance systems and total autonomy is well established as a producer of cameras, radars and lidar sensors.

It also recently acquired standalone startup Five.ai. The judges commended Bosch for leveraging its foundation of software-defined vehicles to deliver smart and secure mobility services to fleet operators, logistics companies and mobility service providers.

Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch’s North American business unit, said at a recent press conference: “For us, it comes down to our ‘Invented for Life’ brand promise and the values ​​that were established by our founder Robert Bosch.”

Steve Finlay is a retired editor of Wards. He can be reached at [email protected]

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