Robert Bosch and Continental are the world's No. 1 and No. 4 automotive suppliers respectively, with broad portfolios that generate tens of billions in sales from automakers.
Now, their competition is moving into the area of in-vehicle computers that have the potential to control all the electronic and software-centric functions in the car.
Bosch said Wednesday that it had received 2.5 billion euros ($3 billion) worth of orders for vehicle computers since the summer, when it announced it was creating the Cross-Domain Computing Solutions division to bring together expertise in software, hardware and electronics.
"Vehicle computers have huge business potential for Bosch," said Harald Kroeger, the Bosch board member overseeing the new division, which starts formal operations in January. Bosch sees the overall market for software-intensive systems at 20 billion euros now, with annual growth of 15 percent over the next decade.