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Bosch Plans to Expand Auto Plant in Saratov

With sales in Russia soaring, Bosch plans to open new assembly lines to make more of its spare car parts locally. Vladimir Filonov

Bosch is planning to localize more auto parts assembly lines in Russia following a profitable year during which the technology supplier saw its sales in the country jump 50 percent to almost 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion), the company reported.

The announcement about the expansion of Bosch's Saratov plant comes just a few years after the company had to cancel its plans to build a second auto production site in Russia due to the economic crisis.

Localization efforts will include building assembly lines for generators, starters, accelerators, oxygen sensors and electronic brake systems over 2013 and 2014 in Saratov. Diesel technologies will also be produced in Russia after 2014, but the location of the assembly is still not determined.

Walter Schopf, regional director for automobile component sales, could not say how much the expansion would cost or how many jobs would be created, but he estimated that sales will more than double after the final stage of expansion is complete.

Localization will help Bosch accommodate the Russian automakers' habit of making last-minute decisions about their own production lines, Schopf said.

"Our Russian customers are still planning on a very short-time basis, and sometimes products are already on the road when our customer decides that he wants to delay something or that he wants to shift from one product mix to another product mix," he said.

Schopf did not rule out that Bosch will build another auto parts plant in Russia and said the company is considering locations close to its existing clusters in Saratov, St. Petersburg and the Volga region.

The company currently has three production locations and has invested 46 million euros in its regional network in 2011, 50 percent more than in 2010.

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