Mobility Solutions

Brazil – land of cars Why the host nation is soon to become the world’s third-largest automotive market and why alcohol is an everyday aspect of driving in Brazil.

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  • March 31, 2014
  • Mobility Solutions
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press release

Automotive market: Brazil currently has some 200 cars per 1,000 inhabitants. Growth in the vehicle market will be driven by the rise of the country's prosperous middle class. By 2020, the number of newly registered vehicles could double to over 6.6 million, which would make Brazil the third-largest sales market behind China and the United States. Global third place is currently held by Japan.


Infrastructure: The country boasts the world's second-longest road network. More than 50 percent all goods are transported by truck, while buses are the primary form of transportation for people. Every day, 900,000 vehicles travel on just two highways alone, "Bandeirantes" and "Anhanguera," the two main routes between the metropolises of São Paulo and Campinas. Some 160,000 million light, medium, and heavy trucks were newly in 2010, as were 28,500 buses.

Powering cars with alcohol: In 1975, the Brazilian government launched the "Proalcool" program to produce biofuel from sugar cane, in order to reduce the country's dependence on oil imports. Since then, the registration of diesel vehicles with a load capacity of under one metric ton has been prohibited, so today's cars all run on gasoline and ethanol. Bosch developed FlexFuel technology especially for the Brazilian market to allow vehicles to run on either type of fuel, or any mixture of the two. Given the huge distances in Brazil, the world's fifth-largest country by area, diesel-powered cars would make an excellent alternative.

Commercial diesel vehicles: Two figures show how important truck haulage is in Brazil: around half of the total amount of fuel used on the country's roads is diesel. And in 2013 the market for trucks over six metric tons totaled over 140,000 vehicles – equal to the volume of the U.S. market. Bosch technology can be found in four out of five trucks and buses in Brazil. What's more, Bosch is developing dual-fuel systems in the south of the country that offer a unique solution for commercial vehicles, allowing their diesel engines to be run even when CNG or ethanol is added.

FlexFuel: This combination of gasoline and ethanol was developed by Bosch specifically for the Brazilian market. The system’s distinctive feature is that the exact mixture is variable. Today, around 90 percent of all passenger cars in Brazil are equipped with this flexible fuel technology. In 2013, the twenty-millionth vehicle featuring this technology was manufactured in Brazil. Other important markets for FlexFuel vehicles are the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Quote: “The FlexFuel complete system is a flagship technology from Bosch. Bosch is thus represented in more than 80 percent of all the Brazilian cars that use FlexFuel.”
Stefan Seiberth, president of the Gasoline Systems division of Robert Bosch GmbH

Outlook: In the next few years, the market for advanced vehicle technology in Brazil will continue to grow. A large part of the country's heavy-goods fleet is obsolescent and can no longer meet the growing needs of Brazil's economy. What's more, the fact that Brazil is in the process of introducing the Euro 5 emission standard for heavy-goods vehicles presents an additional technological challenge. Bosch already offers solutions that stay within these limits. Should the ban on diesel engines for cars be overturned, that market holds the promise of further growth.

"The Brazilian government has traditionally banned diesel engines in cars as a way of avoiding imports of fuel. But these days the country is in a position to be self-sufficient, and we are assuming that car drivers will soon be allowed to opt for diesel as well."
Dr. Markus Heyn, president of the Diesel Systems division of Robert Bosch GmbH

Mobility Solutions is the largest Bosch Group business sector. In 2015, its sales came to 41.7 billion euros, or 59 percent of total group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers. The Mobility Solutions business sector combines the group’s expertise in three mobility domains – automation, electrification, and connectivity – and offers its customers integrated mobility solutions. Its main areas of activity are injection technology and powertrain peripherals for internal-combustion engines, diverse solutions for powertrain electrification, vehicle safety systems, driver-assistance and automated functions, technology for user-friendly infotainment as well as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, repair-shop concepts, and technology and services for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch is synonymous with important automotive innovations, such as electronic engine management, the ESP anti-skid system, and common-rail diesel technology.

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 375,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2015). The company generated sales of 70.6 billion euros in 2015. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing and sales network covers some 150 countries. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs 55,800 associates in research and development at 118 locations across the globe. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”

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PI8439 - March 31, 2014

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