With over one-fourth of all-newly registered cars globally from China that has hundreds of millions of potential customers, the Chinese automotive market is at the heart of the global automotive industry. China also remains the world’s largest automotive market ahead of Europe and the US with sales of 23.7 million cars. In 2018, Bosch’s OEM sector increase sales in China by one percent to 10.5 billion euros, accounting for 22 % of mobility solutions global sales. Bosch benefitted from strong demand for electromobility and driver assistance solutions as well as brisk business in the CV technology space, riding on a three percent rise in sales to 4.4 million vehicles in 2018.
At Bosch, the outlook for 2019 is that of a tough year in the Chinese automotive market. With 170 vehicles per 1,000 people in China, there is still scope for vehicle unit sales to grow. However the company feels the brakes will stay on this year. Bosch maintains 23 manufacturing sites in China, offering employment to nearly 34,500 associates. In addition to 5,600 researchers and engineers are working on new mobility solutions. According to Bosch, the Chinese automotive market holds a promising future along with new energy vehicle (NEV) solutions.
Vehicles featuring battery, fuel cell and plug-in hybrid powertrains have grown by more than 50 % in 2018, corresponding to 1.26 million NEVs sales. Previously, the Chinese government has provided generous subsidies for alternative powertrains; however, this has been rolled back and the government plans to phase out its subsidies in the long term. Despite these factors, Bosch believes the future of automobiles in China belongs to NEVs. The company has been approaching the future powertrain technology in an open minded manner. Bosch will continue to improve the internal combustion engine even though at present it is the market leader for electromobility in China. Bosch's sales in the NEV segment has doubled between 2017 and 2018, further laying down the company’s foundation for growth in China. Further, Bosch is also slated to begin production of the e-axle in Taicang this year. The e-axle combines power electronics, engine and transmission in one compact housing. It also started the production of the 48-volt battery in Wuxi last year.
Globally, the electromobility segment is also attracting new players to the automotive market. In China this pattern corresponds. A separate unit of Bosch has been working on serving these new customers entering the automotive market, who have a singular common demand for system solutions rather than individual components. For Bosch, doing business with these players offers sales potential worth billions of euros. Bosch has further entered into a development alliance with chassis and automotive technology expert Benteler, in a bid to keep up with future trends in electromobility. This alliance focusses on rolling chassis, driveable modular platform that can be used flexibly for car bodies. Further, the alliance will also help better understand the demands of such a concept on Bosch’s products and systems like powertrains, braking and steering while also improving their integration. The development alliance will also help the company perform a precise analysis of the market for rolling chassis. Benteler will present a prototype of the rolling chassis at its booth at Auto Shanghai 2019.