42 000 customer opinions about 350 companies in 31 sectors
Bosch Car Services rank first among the independent automotive workshops
Every year, 16 500 Bosch Car Service partners in 150 countries maintain and repair about 50 million cars
Berlin – At the German Fairness Prize “Deutscher Fairness-Preis” tendered for the first time this year, Bosch Car Service workshops ranked first at the independent automotive workshops category. The organizers – the German Institute for Service Quality, Deutsches Institut für Service-Qualität (DISQ), and the news channel n-tv – asked German consumers to evaluate the fairness of companies towards their customers. A total of 42 000 customer opinions about approximately 350 companies operating in 31 sectors were collected and analyzed. Among the questions were: Does the company offer a fair price-performance ratio? Is there a transparent communication of product features, contractual services and prices? Can the customers trust the reliability of offered products and services? Apart from brand-linked and independent automotive workshops, companies operating in different sectors – reaching from computer manufacturers and cruise operators to travel business, online shops and insurance companies – were analyzed as well.
Concerning independent automotive workshops, the customers evaluated 13 companies. Six independent workshop concepts were analyzed after being evaluated by a sufficient number of consumers. According to the opinion of the costumers, Bosch Car Service workshops are particularly fair. Even at the partial analyses regarding reliability and transparency, Bosch Car Service partners were voted first. Dr. Uwe Thomas, president of the Bosch Automotive Aftermarket division, and Thomas Salender, spokesman of the Bosch Service Strategy Committee and representative for the Bosch Services, received the award in Berlin.
Bosch Car Service – one of the world's leading workshop networks More than 90 years ago, the Bosch Car Service full-service workshop concept was founded under the name of Bosch Dienst. On a worldwide level, it is thus the workshop concept with the longest tradition. In 2014, there are 16 500 Bosch Car Service partners in 150 countries; more than 1 000 of them in Germany. Each year, 50 million cars are maintained and repaired by the worldwide Bosch Car Service network – that is, three vehicles every two seconds. All together, the Bosch Car Service workshops have some 90 000 employees. No matter whether on the phone, at the vehicle reception or in cases of questions when handing over the vehicle, they have about one million contacts with customers every day. In China, the workshop concept grew more than anywhere else throughout the last years. By now, there are 1 600 Bosch Car Services and two Bosch Flagship Stores in Peking offering repair and maintenance services to car drivers and owners. State-of-the-art Bosch diagnostic and test equipment are standard at each and every Bosch Car Service worldwide.
Frankfurt – As a result of increasing connectivity, Bosch Automotive Aftermarket expects regional and structural changes in the business for vehicle replacement parts, car workshop equipment, and automotive services. “When it comes to innovative strength, international presence, and a willingness to invest, market players have ever-higher expectations,” said Dr. Uwe Thomas, president of Bosch Automotive Aftermarket, during a press conference at the Automechanika trade show in Frankfurt. “We aim to actively shape the changes ahead,” he said. Driver mobility is the main focus of Bosch strategy. This is why the company invests in developing new solutions throughout the entire value-added chain. These include everything from replacement parts, software, and diagnostic technology to the consistent broadening of the service offer. Increasing vehicle networking calls for the development of new solutions. However, this development must be supported with the right legislation. “Without the appropriate regulatory framework, many business models cannot evolve, as access rights and liability risks are not clearly defined,” said Thomas. New rules should take data protection into account, while at the same time enabling an open market for vehicle networking.
In 2013, Bosch Automotive Aftermarket continued to expand its automotive replacement parts, diagnostic devices, and workshop equipment businesses, especially in North America and Asia. For the current year, Thomas expects growth to be moderate. In Europe, Germany and France continue to drive growth, and markets in Spain and the U.K. are recovering well. Markets in North America, Japan, and especially China are currently very dynamic. Today, Bosch Automotive Aftermarket employs some 18,000 associates around the world.
Integration of SPX Service Solutions completed The company has significantly expanded its presence in North America, mainly as a result of the completed integration of SPX Service Solutions, the U.S. supplier that was acquired in 2012. “We have expanded and improved our diagnostics segment, and our independent business in the NAFTA region has been strengthened considerably,” said Dr. Hans-Peter Meyen, the Automotive Aftermarket board member responsible for diagnostics and development. Today, the Bosch “Automotive Service Solutions” segment plays an important role in the division’s growth strategy. “The more electronics are built in to the car, the greater the need for diagnostics technology. We meet this need with a well-structured portfolio of brands and products. The more electronic components are built into the car, the greater the need for diagnostics technology. We meet this need with a comprehensive portfolio of products and brands,” said Meyen.
Preventing breakdowns in advance Digital communication and data networking are playing an increasingly important role in workshops, for instance. In the future, workshops will be able to continuously monitor the status of customers’ vehicles and recommend a repair in advance if necessary. This will prevent vehicles from breaking down on the road, which is particularly important for commercial vehicles. Data networking also makes planning easier in the networked workshop, as employees’ work time is better organized and the required parts can be ordered at an early stage. All of this reduces down time and the costs of working on the vehicle.
Virtual x-ray vision As they move into the workshop, augmented reality applications also contribute to reducing costs. Such apps give smart phones and tablets x-ray vision of sorts: if workshop employees point their mobile devices at paneling in the vehicle, the corresponding app displays the components behind it. At the same time, additional information such as work instructions, required tools, or even training videos can also be shown. This makes the repair process easier, as subsequent work steps are clearly planned and unnecessary assembly work can be avoided. “For us, all of this is just the first step toward augmented reality. We see major potential for additional solutions, for instance in the areas of technical training or service,” said Meyen.
A broad range of products and services at the Bosch stand Bosch is presenting Robinair, the climate technology specialist it acquired with SPX Service Solutions, for the first time at Automechanika in Frankfurt. The company offers a broad range of products and services for the diagnosis, maintenance, and repair of vehicle air conditioning systems. The OTC brand is also displaying its diagnostic devices and special tools at the Bosch stand in Hall 9. The specialist brand Beissbarth is presenting its measuring and testing technology, while Sicam is showing its broad range of tire servicing devices. “The high number of brands and products highlights the Bosch strategy of always offering the best possible solutions for professional users. After all, we share the common goal of keeping drivers mobile,” said Meyen.
Allow me to wish you a warm welcome to our booth and to the Bosch Automotive Aftermarket press conference. Not only is this the first press conference to be given by an exhibitor at this year's Automechanika, it is also my first visit to the trade show since I became President of the Automotive Aftermarket division. Looking around our booth, I can honestly say that I picked a great year: just look at all the parts, bytes, and services that make up our outstanding offer.
Despite these firsts, I am not new to Automechanika or to our division. I joined Bosch exactly 25 years ago, and started out at Automotive Aftermarket. In the years that followed, my work at Bosch took me to different countries and divisions. But I have spent most of my time at Automotive Aftermarket. When I was offered the opportunity to head the division last year, I didn't hesitate for a second.
Bosch Automotive Aftermarket has seen very dynamic growth since Automechanika 2012. Take the acquisition of SPX Service Solutions, for instance. With it, we can further expand our global presence, especially in North America – the biggest market for parts, workshop equipment, and services. Automotive Aftermarket's workforce has also grown to 18,000 associates – an increase of more than 3,500. In part, this is the result of the acquisition. Today, we are present at 150 locations around the globe. This makes us one of the world's largest providers of parts, bytes, and services. And we are optimistic about the future.
As we look ahead, we expect to see moderate growth. This will be driven mainly by two things: demand in France and Germany, and a clear market recovery in Spain and the U.K. The market is also developing well in North America, Japan, and China. In contrast, growth has slowed in India, Latin America, and Russia. Despite this, our forecast for the year in progress is positive.
This is important, as a global and economically sound basis is essential for meeting the challenges of the future. Our field of business is in a period of major technical and regional change. Around the world, market players are becoming increasingly demanding in terms of know-how, innovation, international presence, and the willingness to invest. Only companies that can meet these demands will survive in the years to come. This is why we are not resting on our laurels despite our leading position. We are consistently tackling these challenges head on. Not only do we want to keep up with the changes ahead. As a market leader, we aim to actively shape the industry and influence others. In so doing, we continue to pursue our aim of enabling and maintaining mobility.
Drivers are always at the center of our strategic considerations. We see to it that they remain mobile. At the same time, we develop modern technology that drivers benefit from in a variety of ways. These include shorter repair times, more safety in road traffic, and greater comfort. So as you can see, we not only enable our customers' mobility, we also make it even better. To successfully meet the challenges of the future, understanding the customer is important. This is where we come in: we know what our customers want and offer them the solutions they need:
fast repairs at current market value with high-quality parts,
repairs carried out in modern workshops with well-qualified staff.
To this end, we invest in the development of new solutions throughout the entire value chain. These include everything from replacement parts, software, and diagnostics technology to our portfolio of services. The end customer's expectations are consistent: drivers around the world want the same thing – to remain mobile. However, different vehicle technologies and varying economic conditions call for a range of approaches. In emerging markets, for instance, we develop special solutions that aim to keep low-cost vehicles running. And we do this without compromising on the reliability and quality that Bosch stands for, also in the emerging markets. In established markets, solutions that reflect the current market value of vehicles play an increasingly important role. This is why we offer reconditioned parts as an attractive, high-quality alternative to new parts.
We also support workshops with innovative solutions that allow them to offer customers fast and affordable repairs. To this end, we increasingly focus on the possibilities of connectivity. After all, digital communication and networking are also making their way into workshops. This is why we are currently developing a range of technical solutions that will contribute to realizing our vision: the connected workshop of the future. With our support, the workshop of the future will be aware of a vehicle's general condition before a customer arrives at the workshop. In turn, this will enable workshops to offer vehicle owners preventive maintenance prior to the end of a component's service life. This will help prevent breakdowns and unnecessary downtime, which is especially important for commercial vehicles. Ultimately, this type of service will save time and money, and make workshops more competitive. At the same time, customers will get their repaired vehicles back quickly and thus remain mobile.
Scenarios like this one clearly show that the growing complexity of automotive technology is not frightening, it is an opportunity. With the help of tablet computers and databases, service employees learn to quickly identify and remove problems that would otherwise remain hidden. Indeed, technology allows us to create modern and attractive jobs in workshops. And jobs that incorporate advanced technology are especially important for young people.
Ladies and gentlemen, we at Bosch will not only use our software expertise to support the development of vehicle connectivity. We also aim to drive it forward. I am not exaggerating when I say that we are just at the beginning of a revolution. Just think of the new opportunities that will arise from vehicle networking and new telematics services. Especially for leasing companies, fleet managers, and vehicle insurers, for instance, all-new approaches are being developed that make cost transparency and control possible. With this information, maintenance appointments can be planned individually for each vehicle depending on the services needed, and made with a partner workshop. With our colleagues at Bosch Software Innovations, we have developed a solution that can be tailored to the specific requirements of our fleet management customers.
As you can see, when it comes to the car, networking offers a broad range of opportunities, both for drivers and professional workshops. However, there is a need for clear rules to determine
who vehicle data belongs to,
how data can be secured,
who can access the data, and under what conditions.
Developments such as eCall are a strong example of the potential that new technologies offer. From October 2017 onward, the European emergency call system will be mandatory for all newly developed vehicles in the EU. Car-2-car communication is another example. With it, vehicles can exchange safety-related data with one another. Transportation authorities in the United States are currently considering making the technology mandatory.
Without the right regulatory framework, many innovations and business models cannot evolve, as access rights and liability risks are not clearly defined. In our view, clear legal safeguards are urgently needed. These must consider data protection issues while at the same time enabling an open market for vehicle networking. In this regard, Europe's automotive industry has the chance to play a pioneering role in cooperation with the European Commission. Together, they can set standards for the entire industry. This is an excellent opportunity to create a decisive competitive advantage, and it should not be ignored.
With that thought, I'd like to introduce Hans-Peter Meyen, who will address some of the topics I've touched on in greater detail.