Bosch, the German tech services and manufacturing company, said first quarter sales rose 12 per cent, well ahead of a 2017 target to grow sales by 3 to 5 per cent.

Speaking at the group’s annual press meeting, chief executive Volkmar Denner said the company was aiming to play a central role in reimagining mobility — “a mobility that is without emissions, without stress, and without accidents.”

The broader strategy is to “take our existing business forward, open up new areas of business, [and] occupy a technologically leading position,” he added.

The private group recorded €73.1bn in sales last year and it is the world’s largest car component supplier with nearly €44bn in revenue last year. It said it is making “heavy upfront investments” to safeguard the company’s future.

Bosch said it was working on about 300 “real driving emissions” projects to help reduce nitrogen-oxide emission — a key issue since the 2015 Volkswagen scandal, in which Bosch was accused of playing a role. It settled earlier this year, agreeing to pay $328m but without admitting guilt.

The company continues to see a bright future for internal-combustion engines and it will spend billions of euros improving them. In addition, it will invest €400m a year “toward achieving a breakthrough in electromobility.” Its focus is on battery research and development, including future battery-cell technologies.

“The company has already won more than 30 electromobility-related orders,” Bosch said. “In 2016, it won a further 11 in China alone, the world’s largest market for electromobility. From the start of 2018, the new Bosch Powertrain Solutions division and its 88,000 associates will offer all powertrain technologies from a single source.”

Meanwhile, Bosch is getting more involved in the Internet of Things, a market it says is growing by 35 per cent a year. By 2020 global revenue in IoT should be $250bn, it said.

As more things get connected, Bosch will invest in sensors, service, software, including artificial intelligence. It added: “Ten years from now, nearly every Bosch product will be developed, manufactured, or equipped with artificial intelligence.”

Photo: AFP

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