Bosch, one of the EU’s largest employers, is committed to a €2bn (£1.6bn) investment in its European operations, seeking to retrain some of its 400,000 staff as the shift to electrification gathers pace, according to reports in the FT.
The parts supply giant has already spent €1bn in the last five years on programmes reskilling its legacy technology employees and is now committing to a similar amount over the next half decade.
It comes as Europe’s car industry continues to raise concerns about the continent’s plans for a shift to electrification.
CLEPA (the European Association of Automotive Suppliers) issued a release in December that detailed the potential for up to half a million job losses in “powertrain components production”.
Even if the estimated 226,000 jobs are created as a result of the shift to EV adoption, CLEPA still forecasts that there would be a net loss of 43% in employment.
Bosch has, in the past, also added its voice to criticism, with former boss Volkmar Denner urging the EU last year to “urgently rethink” its proposals in an attempt to conserve sector jobs.
Since then, however, Stefan Hartung (Denner’s successor) has told journalists that the manufacturer now “supports these [EU] targets without any ifs and buts”, insisting that Bosch would help make electric cars the majority market sector in Europe.
The conglomerate has reported sales of €78.8bn (£66.4bn) in 2021, a figure that exceeds pre-pandemic levels. "Our business performed much better in 2021 than expected,” according to Hartung, speaking at the presentation of the company’s preliminary business figures. “We were able to exceed our forecasts despite many challenges, such as cost burdens due to supply bottlenecks and price increases for raw materials.”
EV sales in Europe are still on the up, outpacing the previously favoured diesel in Western Europe in December 2021. Last year, Germany and France recorded 84% and 46% increases in electric car sales, despite the overall market being down by 1.7% from 2020 and the worst in 36 years.