The popularity of diesels has had a major impact on the European supply base - and Bosch, one of the pioneers in the diesel engine market, has been a clear winner.
Bosch is the market leader in Europe's diesel engine-management systems business.
The German supplier giant launched its common-rail systems in Europe four years ahead of the competition, says outgoing Bosch CEO Hermann Scholl, which "gained us a clear development lead," he adds.
Bosch has invested E4.6 billion in high-pressure diesel systems since the beginning of the 1990s, when vehicles equipped with diesel engines made up just 15 percent of the European new-car market.
Diesels are now fitted to just over 40 percent of new cars sold in Europe, and Bosch produced over 4 million common-rail injection systems last year.
Other engine management system suppliers have joined Bosch to win substantial business in the diesel sector. Siemens VDO Automotive produces a common-rail diesel injection system with piezo actuation for PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Ford.
By the end of 2004, Siemens VDO expects to have raised its share of the high-pressure diesel injector market to 15 percent. The supplier currently has 5 to 10 percent of the market, up from just a few hundred units in 2000.
In addition, Volkswagen announced at the end of March 2003 that it would source a new generation of high-pressure pump injectors for diesels from a joint-venture operation with Siemens VDO, called VW Mechatronic. The joint venture is expected to produce 2 million injectors a year by 2005.
Jose Maria Alapont, Delphi's president of international operations and vice president of sales and marketing, sees the share in Europe of new cars equipped with diesel engines growing to over 50 percent. He says further fuel economy gains will be achieved by new-generation piezo-actuated common-rail systems.
Delphi has contracts with Renault, Ford and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen for its common-rail product, and is expected to make an announcement soon concerning another contract in Europe for 2006.
Asia is an important growth area for diesels, says Alapont.
Delphi is supplying Hyundai in Korea with diesel engine management systems and has won its first contract for diesels in China.
Alapont says some customers are beginning to think of diesels for new engine designs in North America, too. But he acknowledges that it will take a long time for diesel engines to gain a big share of the US market.