Forecast Bosch: No Growth in Automotive Production in 2019

Ein Mechatronik-Auszubildender arbeitet am Austausch-Motor eines Porsche.
A mechatronics trainee is working on the replacement engine of a Porsche.

Both the diesel crisis and the trade dispute between China and the USA play roles.

Bosch, the largest automotive supplier, is not expecting much growth in global automotive production in the coming year. "We assume that the market will calm down," the outgoing head of the automotive division, Rolf Bulander, told journalists on Thursday. The outlook is cautious. He does not expect a downturn, but the market will "swing around zero".

In addition to the diesel crisis, Bulander cited the weakness in the Chinese market as the main reason. In China, the overall market for cars has been in decline for several months. Buyers have been holding back because of the weaker economy and concern about the trade dispute with the USA. According to Bulander, the threat of US tariffs on  German cars already had an impact. However, significantly higher tariffs would continue to influence the market.

As always, Bosch itself wanted its motor vehicle business in 2019 to be "substantially" ahead of the market. For the current year, Bulander expects the division to "sort itself in" at the bottom end of the forecast of two to four percent sales growth.

The diesel market share has stabilized. However, if it continues to fall, this may have an effect on employment at Bosch. In that case, it might be necessary to talk to the social partners, said Bulander. Bosch has a flexibility of about 10 percent through instruments such as working time accounts or temporary work.

Around 50,000 of the 402,000 jobs at Bosch that have recently been created worldwide depend on the diesel market, around 15,000 of them in Germany. The 59-year-old retires at the turn of the year and hands over the management of the passenger car business to Stefan Hartung, head of the building technology division.