Bosch GmbH, in full Robert Bosch GmbH, German company that is Europe’s largest auto-parts manufacturer and one of the world’s leading makers of auto ignition, fuel injection, and antilock braking systems. The company also produces industrial hydraulic and pneumatic equipment, telecommunications equipment and systems, power tools, household appliances, radios, television sets, and audio-visual equipment. Its headquarters are in Stuttgart, and it has subsidiaries throughout Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Australia.
Robert Bosch (q.v.) founded the company in 1886 to repair electrical equipment. Two inventions—Bosch’s magneto and his partner’s spark plug—became the basis for the company’s line of auto parts.
Bosch’s company began selling auto parts to the rapidly growing American automotive market about 1900, and by 1914 two-thirds of the company’s sales were in the United States. However, the majority of its American businesses were expropriated by the U.S. government in 1918 during World War I. Bosch’s American operations were taken over again during World War II, but by the 1950s the company had resumed its sales to American and other foreign automotive makers and was expanding rapidly as the world’s consumer automotive market thrived in the postwar economic boom. In the 1950s Bosch also began diversifying into such areas as the manufacture of household appliances, power tools, and hydraulic equipment. The advanced fuel-injection systems developed by Bosch engineers from 1949 were widely adopted by automakers in the 1970s and ’80s because they reduced fuel consumption and minimized exhaust pollution. The antilock braking systems pioneered by Bosch also came into wide use on European and American cars during the 1980s and ’90s.
In the early 1990s, the company met a decline in revenues by large layoffs, but it subsequently regained its financial health. The company, whose stock was publicly held between 1917 and 1937, is now primarily owned by the Robert Bosch Foundation.
Bosch Products and Services
The Mobility Solutions business sector accounts for 61 percent of total sales. Its main areas of activity are injection technology and powertrain peripherals for internal-combustion engines, powertrain electrification, steering systems, safety and driver-assistance systems, infotainment technology as well as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, repair-shop concepts, and technology and services for the automotive aftermarket.
In the 2018 business year, the Industrial Technology business sector generated roughly 9 percent of total Bosch Group sales. The sector includes the Drive and Control Technology division, whose portfolio includes customized drive, control, and linear motion for factory automation, plant construction and engineering, and mobile machinery.
The Consumer Goods business sector contributed some 23 percent of total Bosch Group sales in 2018. Its Power Tools division is a supplier of power tools, power-tool accessories, and measuring technology. In addition to power tools such as hammer drills, cordless screwdrivers, and jigsaws its extensive product portfolio also includes gardening equipment such as lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, and high-pressure cleaners. One of the division’s focal points is convenient, high-performance cordless tools, and increasingly also web-enabled tools and services.
Energy and Building Technology
The Bosch Group also operates in other business areas that are not assigned to a particular sector.
Bosch Healthcare Solutions GmbH is a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH. The subsidiary was established in 2015 with the aim of developing products and services that improve people’s health and quality of life. The business offers customers connected products and services in the area of healthcare and medical technology.