Germany's Bosch seeks to boost common-parts sales to Japanese carmakers
TOKYO Feb 22 (Reuters) - Germany's Robert Bosch GmbH is seeking to increase its business with Japanese carmakers and take advantage of their plans to increase the number of common parts across models, its chief executive said on Friday.
Japanese carmakers including Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co and Honda Motor Co are following the footsteps of German rival Volkswagen to increase "commonality", which is the proportion of parts that can be shared among various vehicle models. Bosch is a key supplier to Volkswagen.
Shared parts mean suppliers can produce a larger number of fewer parts, cutting the unit price. It also makes it easier for automakers to build a variety of vehicle size and shapes.
"For a company like Bosch, this is an advantage because it will increase the volume, which will also help us to reduce costs," Chief Executive Volkmar Denner told reporters in Tokyo.
"Parts of this volume, they have to come from different locations worldwide in order to fulfil local content requirements...We are established with R&D, with application, with manufacturing, in all markets of the world where vehicles are produced."
Toyota announced last year its shared-parts strategy dubbed "Toyota New Global Architecture". The first car to be fully developed under the programme is expected to be the revamped Prius for late-2014 release, analysts say.
Nissan has also been pursuing a shared-platform architecture called "common module family", with the first series of cars under the plan set to roll out this year.
Bosch, which supplies auto parts including anti-lock brake systems and electronic stability controls to Japanese automakers, saw business with them grow by about 8 percent in 2012, Denner said.
Bosch competes with Japan's Denso Corp for the title of the world's biggest auto parts supplier.
The German conglomerate said in January that it will not reach its long-term profit target this year after it booked heavy losses at its photovoltaic business in 2012.
"We cannot of course finance continuous losses forever. We have to find a solution," Denner said. "We know which direction we want to go, but today it's still too early to make any further announcement."
For 2012, Bosch expects its earnings before interest and taxes at around 1 billion euro ($1.32 billion), after seeing a 1 billion euro loss in the photovoltaic business.
($1 = 0.7563 euros) (Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Matt Driskill)
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