GENEVA - Robert Bosch GmbH is 'greatly worried' by automakers' demands for price cuts, Chairman Herman Scholl said.
Scholl said suppliers have faced price reductions of 2 percent or 3 percent annually for the past decade, despite rising investment costs.
Bosch said it had invested $2.3 billion in r&d and manufacturing equipment for four high-pressure diesel systems in the past five years.
'It is essential that prices paid must follow in line,' said a Bosch spokesman.
Scholl said Bosch is involved in negotiations with automakers to achieve prices that reflect the investments made, as well as rising commodity prices in the past year, particularly for electronics.
Bosch is the second-largest auto supplier in the world when ranked by revenue, and the largest auto supplier in Europe.
Scholl said despite sales growth in 2000, operating income in the company's automotive technology division remained unsatisfactory.
Bosch sales grew 12 percent in 2000 to $28.5 billion. One-third of the growth was because of exchange rate gains. Most of the remainder resulted from internal growth.
Automotive sales accounted for 71 percent of Bosch's revenue in 2000. For 2001, Scholl expects another 5 percent in nonautomotive growth, despite an expected slowdown in global auto production.
Scholl said that the total revenue growth will be higher because of the financial consolidation of the former Mannesmann Rexroth business acquired in December 2000.
At the Geneva auto show, Bosch showed its commitment to technology with a concept in rollover sensing. The system detects dangerous rotation in the vehicle at an early stage.
A yaw - or body roll - sensor and two acceleration sensors are built into the central airbag control unit. The system allows early activation of seat belt pretensioners, head protection airbags and safety bars, a Bosch spokeswoman said. Market introduction is planned during 2001.
Bosch said two of its most important recent product innovations, the electronic stability program and common-rail systems, have passed the 3 million unit mark in production. Bosch introduced the electronic stability program as an option on the Mercedes-Benz S class in 1995. It offers the system on almost 50 models in 16 vehicle brands.
Increasingly, the electronic stability program is being offered as standard equipment on new models - for example, on the Audi A4.
Bosch said it produced almost 1.5 million electronic stability program units last year.
Bosch expects to introduce its second-generation common-rail system in 2002.
The system features a high-pressure pump and a high-performance control unit.