But Bosch executives said they are pressing ahead to invest in the North American business, particularly as automakers look to further localize supply chains in the wake of the headaches of the last two years.
“Are there challenges ahead? Surely. There are a lot of them,” said Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch in North America. “But despite these challenges, we remain optimistic about our prospects for Bosch in North America, and we continue to invest here in the region.”
As Bosch invests in its electrification offerings, it is also betting significantly on the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technology in the market. The supplier is separately investing about $1 billion in the development of mobile fuel cells by 2024, and plans on investing about $600 million more in components for hydrogen electrolyzers, which can split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles currently account for a tiny portion of new-vehicle sales in the U.S., and hydrogen fueling infrastructure remains in its infancy. Still, Bosch sees an opportunity for growth in heavy-duty commercial trucking as manufacturers such as Nikola come to market with hydrogen fuel cell trucks.
“The industry has to look at where it makes the most sense,” Thomas said. “And the most frictionless way to introduce fuel cell technologies is with a defined route or with a customer that knows where they need to find hydrogen to refill.”
Last year, Robert Bosch ranked as the largest original-equipment supplier in the industry, with 2020 sales to automakers of $46.52 billion.