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‘Meltdown cost us four years’

autos Updated: Jan 06, 2010 22:05 IST
Sumant Banerji
Sumant Banerji
Hindustan Times
‘Meltdown cost us four years’

A day after the world's largest carmaker, Toyota Motor, expressed its bullishness about the Indian market, head of the world’s largest auto component-maker, Robert Bosch GmBH, reiterated how India is becoming the centre of low-cost innovations. In an interview with Hindustan Times, Bosch chairman Bernd Bohr disusses recession and how it is changing the world order.

On recession

Last year was a tough year for us and our sales were down 20 per cent. This was on the back of a torrid Oct-Dec 2008, which brought our sales for the year down 8 per cent. It was worse for us because even as automobile sales went down by 10 per cent, manufacturers corrected inventories and production was down 17 per cent.

On outlook and demand coming

This year we should grow by 10 per cent, but it will only be in 2012 that we will attain the 2007 levels. So the meltdown cost us four years. It was more difficult this time because every market went down at the same time. So we could not even adjust.

Now the main drivers of demand are emerging markets. The recession has shifted focus there. By 2018, I believe markets such as China, India, Thailand and Brazil will account for more than developed markets such as Japan and the US.

On the Tata Nano project

The biggest differentiator for the Nano project was the level of flexibility for everybody involved. With price in mind, we pushed ourselves hard, thought out of the box. We did away with a lot of processes and components not needed for the basic functions of a four-wheeler.

For example, a normal car in Europe involves 5,500 software parameters... for Nano there were only 1,750. After the Nano, we went back to other cars and now we make them with only 3,500 processes.

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