Manufacturing News

Bosch Chassis Brakes to add capacity in line with expected growth of China market

As China's auto market grows, global automotive brake systems supplier Bosch Chassis Systems Brakes continues its expansion in the country.

"Last year China's passenger car sales growth rate was over 50 percent -- our growth rate was more than that," said Markus Bube, regional president of Bosch Chassis Systems Brakes China, in an interview with Automotive News China.

In 2008 Bosch opened its own iron foundry in Dalian and the facility went through expansion in 2009. The foundry casts iron and aluminium callipers used in the production of brakes systems at the second Bosch Chassis Systems facility in Suzhou. The Suzhou facility also went through expansion in 2009.

"In 2009 we expanded and we expect to grow further this year," said Bube. "We plan to add more capacity at both plants."

In China the company supplies full brakes systems to over 25 customers. Bube declined to divulge customer names stating confidentiality agreements. But the drive is to develop locally for local automakers. "We want to support Chinese OEMs in their drive to go global," said Bube.

Bosch Chassis Systems has increased its local presence in terms of both staff numbers and facilities. "We have local R&D, local sourcing and for some products a localization rate of 95 percent," he said. At the end of 2009 Bosch Chassis Systems employed 1000 people at its two China facilities. That number is soon to grow.

"In 2010 we will continue to hire as the automotive market here is very strong and we are benefitting from its development," said Bube. 

The green trend

Bosch has the largest winter testing track in China, in Yakeshi in China's Inner Mongolia province, in addition to a test track in Suzhou to assist with product development.

In China, Bosch is already very active with companies developing electric vehicles. "It's a trend that will come -- we we have a strong local base as we see China at the forefront of development," said Bube. "All Bosch divisions are working together on E-mobility."

Bosch is releasing new products and versions of systems for electric vehicles in China. A Vacuum Independent Brake System for hybrid and electric vehicles will be rolled out in China in the next few years, says Bube.

Brake systems and other actuators in the engine compartment can only function with vacuum support. "The current brake system needs a vacuum which today comes from a combustion engine or mechanical pump. In the future it will come from an electric pump or from new innovative braking systems which are vacuum independent."Bube explains.

As the trend towards electric vehicles gathers momentum demand for regenerative braking is increasing. In regenerative braking the cars wheels act as generators, so that kinetic energy is reconverted into electricity as the car slows down. "With an electric motor you don't want to waste the energy -- you want to regenerate the energy. We already have systems with regenerative braking which we offer to the market." said Bube.

The green trend also includes the use of lighter metals. More aluminium in the braking system reduces the weight considerably. Braking systems are generically made with cast iron, but customers in China are increasing the amount of aluminium used to reduce the overall weight.

Bosch is also active with the development of low cost cars. "We have a large production portfolio for the economic car market." said Bube. Bosch's China Competence Center is the global center for research in to the economic car system.

In 2009 Bosch Chassis Brakes began supplying the braking system for India's Tata Nano car. "We share the development of the system here. We share some of the product designs as China is our global competence center for research into the economic car." said Bube.

In 2008 Bosch Chassis Systems Brakes sales in the Asia Pacific region accounted for 21 percent of total global sales. Figures for 2009 are not yet available. "We expect to see in 2010 further growth of the Chinese market." said Bube.

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