Bosch is a 135-year-old auto supplier that nonetheless keeps a steady eye on the future.
It has positioned itself at the center of key trends impacting the global auto industry today. That agility and forward thinking earn the German-based company the Informa Tech Automotive Group Tier 1 Supplier of the Year award. ITAG is the parent organization of WardsAuto.
Bosch has reinvented itself in the past year. It has restructured its organization and formed strategic partnerships and consortiums 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 vehicle electrification, yet still plays a vital role as a supplier for internal-combustion engines.
“What’s clear in the powertrain area is, there still is value to us being involved heavily in electrification and internal-combustion engines,” says Paul Thomas, executive vice president-mobility solutions for Bosch in North America.
It takes talent to do both, and Thomas (pictured, below left) says Bosch has that. “Our powertrain team is well-versed and able to adapt to multiple scenarios. It’s a great balance.”
He describes its ICE business as “core” and the electrification business as “evolving.” Bosch fulfilled $12.6 billion in electrification-related orders last year.
Bosch is involved in abating the microchip shortage that has plagued the automotive industry since 2020. It is investing more than $1 billion to expand semiconductor production at facilities throughout the world.
“We are one of only a few auto suppliers that can develop a semi-conductor from the start of a wafer to a device that can be placed in an auto,” Thomas says.
Judges for the Informa award note Bosch has moved aggressively on the sustainability front, pushing into hydrogen, maintaining an EV charging service in Europe, teaming with Volkswagen to establish battery production in Europe and pushing toward the use of cleaner-burning hydrogen fuel in ICEs.
The company’s goal is to not only become a fuel-stack supplier for fuel-cell electric vehicles but also provide hydrogen fuel itself. Accordingly, it has branched out into componentry development for electrolyzers that split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
The supplier’s position in advanced driver-assistance systems and full autonomy is well-established as a producer of camera, radar and lidar sensors.
It also recently acquired self-driving startup Five.ai. Judges lauded Bosch for building on its software-defined-vehicle base to deliver smart, secure mobility services to fleet operators, logistics companies and mobility-service providers.
Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch’s North American unit, says at a recent press conference: “For us, it goes back to our brand promise of ‘Invented for Life’ and the values that were established by our founder Robert Bosch.”
Steve Finlay is a retired Wards senior editor. He can be reached at [email protected]