STUTTGART - Robert Bosch expects record sales this year, said Bernd Bohr, the head of the company's automotive unit.
"For 2011, we expect growth of at least 10 percent and thus would surpass the 30 billion-euro mark for vehicle technology for the first time. The drivers are mainly our products for environmental and accident protection," Bohr told Automotive News Europe in an interview.
Bohr sees risks ahead, such as a slowdown in China, the world's biggest car market, as well as rising raw material prices and growing economic volatility.
But he said Bosch will stick with its long-term goals."We are in an eight-year strategic planning period and are striving each year for pre-tax earnings of 7 percent to 8 percent. Doing that allows us to finance solid growth and innovations," he said.
To defend its reputation as innovative company, Bosch will spend more than 3.2 billion euros this year on research and development for the vehicle technology division. "That will clearly put us over the industry average. But we are also competing on multiple fronts," Bohr said.
Bosch expects low-cost cars to remain a key area of the company's business even though the Tata Nano, heralded as the world's cheapest car, has not met sales expectations.
"We see that manufacturers must generally adapt to the new segment. Above all, we consider this to be a tremendous arena for learning and for the simplification of technology in established markets. It is especially becoming a fascinating segment in China, less in the passenger car area than in mini-buses that will cost about $3,000. And if something must be done in Africa at some point, it will tend to be in the low-price segment."