Chances are good that there’s a Robert Bosch GmbH product under the hood of whatever car you drive. Founded in
And that’s exactly what Peter Marks, CEO of Robert Bosch LLC, the company’s North American arm, aims to do. “This year, for the first time in our history, we’ll have negative growth in our automotive business, he says. We anticipate car sales in
Marks is banking on leveraging Bosch’s strength in innovation to offset that dismal news. And for good reason: Bosch plows an impressive 7.7 percent of sales back into R&D and dubs any day when it produces less than 14 patents a bad one.
The company, Marks points out, has long built its success around innovations in technology many geared toward fuel and energy efficiency. For example, Bosch developed a direct-injection diesel engine that uses less fuel and emits less CO2 than comparable gas engines and is now poised to launch a next generation engine that will further improve diesel fuel efficiency.
Today, increasing economic pressure for fuel and energy efficiency as well as consumer enthusiasm for environmentally conscious products suggest several growth opportunities in the automotive industry, he notes. “We see a lot of opportunity for [diesel] in the
Other auto-related energy efficient technologies include the company’s engine-management systems for natural gas and alcohol-powered cars and its Smart Electronic Start/Stop System, which saves fuel by automatically stopping a car’s engine when the car is in neutral and restarting it when a driver applies pedal pressure.
But Bosch seems most interested in broadening its base beyond the automotive sector. Marks points to both industrial technology where the company dominates as an independent producer of wind turbines and thermal systems solar panels and geothermal heat pumps for the home as two growth areas. “We still see growth potential in automotive, but industrial technology has even more growth potential,” says Marks. “And then thermal systems, because North American households will have the need for more efficient heating and air conditioning systems. So we see tremendous growth potential there.”Finally, a joint venture with Siemens AG aims to bring Bosch products into as many kitchens as cars in the