SEOUL, Robert Bosch GmbH, a German engineering and electronics company, will strengthen its electrical powertrain business in South Korea as it expects the mass market for electric cars to take off in 2020, a company executive said Tuesday.

In 2017, Robert Bosch Korea Limited Company won 20 contracts to produce electrical powertrain systems worth a combined 5 trillion won (US$4.5 billion) and aims to win further deals in that market. In January, it set up a local team in Yongin, 50 km southeast of Seoul, for electrified powertrains.

"We believe in the coexistence of diesel, gasoline and electric powertrain systems for many years to come. We aim to be a leading player (in the powertrain market) and want to be able to offer our customers powertrain-related support from a single source with solutions for systems, components and services," Alex Drljaca, the regional president of the Powertrain Solutions division in Korea, said at a press conference in Seoul.

"Bosch is in discussions with its Korean original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for all types of electric powertrains," the company executive said.

For long-term growth, Bosch said it will continue to seek business opportunities in automated driving and connected mobility in Asia's fourth-largest market.

"In Korea, we have been supplying components for driver assistance systems for some years already, and we see growth opportunities here in the local market. We will work with our local customers for highly automated driving functions in Korea," said Frank Schaefers, president and CEO of Bosch Korea.

Citing connected mobility another growth market for Bosch, the executive projected there will be more than 450 million connected vehicles on the world's roads by 2025.

In the 2017 fiscal year that ended in December, Bosch reported sales of 2.1 trillion won in South Korea, down 9 percent from a year earlier, due to weak demand from the local automotive market.

Though the "economic and political climate in Korea remains uncertain," Bosch is betting on the powertrain business amid growing demand for solutions for reduced and zero emissions, the CEO said.

Looking ahead, Schaefers said the company aims to stabilize its business in the country Korea this year due to uncertainties in global markets. He expected sales in 2018 will remain at 2017 levels.

Bosch manufactures and markets products that include automotive original equipment, aftermarket components, industrial automation and mobile machinery products.

Source: Yonhap News Agency