German industrial group Robert Bosch posted 2004 sales growth that showed it was the world’s largest car parts maker.
Revenues at its automotive division increased roughly 7% to 25.3 billion euros ($32.93 billion U.S.) in 2004, as the Stuttgart-based company overtook U.S.-rival Delphi for the first time, according to a Reuters report.
However, the company did warn that growth would slow and declined to confirm its 2005 margin goal.
After reporting a 10% rise in overall group sales to 40 billion euros in 2004, Bosch said it expects 2005 turnover to grow at two-thirds the pace of last year.
Moreover, chief executive Franz Fehrenbach declined to confirm the company’s target of improving its pretax profit margin to at least 7% this year due to the increase in raw materials prices and the decline of the dollar.
“We were for the most part insulated from the rise in input prices last year due to long-term supply contracts,” said a spokeswoman. “This rise will first really impact us in 2005.”
Privately held Bosch improved its earnings margin to over 6% before taxes in 2004 from 5% a year earlier.
Automotive suppliers across the industry have been feeling the squeeze as carmakers attempt to push prices lower, while steel companies ratchet theirs higher.
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