Bosch bullish on car sector as EEC rounds into form
The Thai unit of German car parts maker and industrial services firm Robert Bosch Ltd is optimistic that Thailand's healthy economic growth will spur further development of the local automotive industry.
Managing director Joseph Hong said the 2018 outlook has brightened after many research houses revised up forecasts for Thai GDP, making growth likely for Bosch this year.
Bosch did not reveal raw numbers for its projections.
Mr Hong said the country's automotive industry has seen better circumstances in terms of overall car output.
The government's Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme is coming together with the Industry 4.0 initiative, he said, adding that the two policies are showing good progress in upgrading Thailand as an investment destination.
"After the 2018 EEC Act was implemented last month, it has cleared a pathway to doing business in Thailand, while the EEC scheme itself has got a good response from investors, and the Board of Investment has amended related laws to facilitate investors," Mr Hong said. "The new EEC movement will increase investor confidence, and for us it is the clear policy to move the country forward in the long run."
Bosch concluded its fiscal 2017 with 12.8 billion baht in consolidated sales in Thailand, registering robust growth of 7.5% in the local currency compared with the previous year's level.
Thailand is one of the top revenue-generating markets for Bosch in Southeast Asia, primarily based on strong growth of the automotive business.
In 2017, Bosch recorded investment of 1.6 billion baht across all business sectors in Thailand. Combined with investment in 2016, the company sank €90 million into the country.
Bosch established its market presence in Thailand in 1923 through authorised distributors. In 1991, the company set up its first legal entity to directly operate in the country.
Today, Bosch runs four business divisions here: mobility solutions, consumer goods, industrial technology, and energy and building technology.
Bosch runs three plants in Thailand. It makes automotive components at Amata City Industrial Estate in Rayong, packaging machinery and hydraulic equipment at Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate in Chon Buri, and fuel injectors at WHA Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate in Rayong.
The number of associates employed at Bosch in Thailand reached 1,400 in 2017, registering an increase of 10% compared with the previous year.
Mr Hong said Bosch is making significant investments in electric powertrains while it continues to develop innovations in combustion engines to increase efficiency and reduce emissions.
Developments continue in the field of automated driving. Bosch's driver assistance systems are expected to generate €2 billion of the group's revenue in 2019. Some 4,000 of Bosch's engineers are working on automated driving solutions.
In 2017, the company won 20 electrical powertrain contracts valued at €4 billion. Bosch expects the mass market for electric vehicles to take off starting in 2020.