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Bosch to push into motorsports niche

Big picture: Bosch Australia’s motorsport division is looking overseas as the German parts giant ramps up its involvement in categories such as the DTM German Touring Car Masters series.

Local parts-maker to push on with motorsport electronics despite failed takeover bid

11 Aug 2015

BOSCH Australia is to start making specialised motorsport electronics, some developed here, after failing to acquire an Australian company operating in the area.

Bosch launched a local motorsport arm little more than a year ago and its Australian president Gavin Smith has revealed in an interview with GoAuto that it will turn over more than $1 million in 2015.

“Which is good,” he said. “It literally started from nothing.”

At present the local motorsport operation is offering a range of cockpit and chassis products developed and made overseas, as well as engineering services using its Australian workforce.

However, Bosch Australia is planning to develop its own products and will also take over the manufacture of some of the imported products which do not sit comfortably in mass-production plants typically found overseas.

“When you are in a plant that is producing hundreds of thousands – or millions – of components, it’s a bit inconvenient to produce 50 of something,” Mr Smith said.

“When you are in a country where you are used to making thousands of something, you are kind of happy to have another 50.

“The high-volume plants that have been producing some of the motorsport components are quite happy for us to pick it up and do it here, and we’re pretty happy to pick it up because it is good for us as well.

“It’s low volume but it’s high value so we find that because our facilities are quite lean and flexible, we can offer good manufacturing support for motorsport electronics products.”

Mr Smith said Bosch Australia had tried to quickly gain a significant position in the motorsport market by buying an undisclosed Australian company, but could not pull off the deal.

“We also had a tilt at an acquisition in Australia in the motorsport field.

That, unfortunately, in the end wasn’t executed,” he said.

“So now we work on Plan B, which is to grow the motorsport business more aggressively with our own product rather by acquisition.”

Ultimately that would see Bosch Australia develop new products rather than simply producing motorsport products designed in Germany.

“If we look at the market where we will want to play in the future, we will need to develop product,” he said, adding that it will not just be for the domestic market.

“Globally, the motorsports market is huge. We are not worried about the domestic market. The Bosch group globally is one of the leaders in motorsport technology.”

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