The Bosch Group today announced that it reached its growth target for 2006 by achieving sales of $ 54.9 billion, a five percent increase over the previous year. Profit for the year was slightly down, with the pre-tax result at the lower end of the target corridor of between seven and eight percent of sales. The growth drivers were the Asia-Pacific region, the Consumer Goods and Building Technology business sector as well as the Industrial Technology business sector. “Our long-term strategy is paying off. We have been able to significantly expand our presence in Asia, and to strongly grow our business outside of automotive technology,” said Franz Fehrenbach, chairman of the Bosch board of management at a press briefing to announce the preliminary figures for 2006 in Stuttgart, Germany. All three business sectors of the Bosch Group made a positive contribution to growth in 2006, but the level of year-on-year growth of those contributions varied considerably. The Automotive Technology business sector, the main pillar of business at Bosch with a 62 percent share of total sales, grew by 3.5 percent to nearly $34.2 billion. Without consolidation effects, growth was one percentage point less. The highest growth was recorded by the Consumer Goods and Building Technology business sector, where sales grew by roughly 10 percent to nearly $13.8 billion. The Industrial Technology business sector also registered positive numbers, growing by more than seven percent. The transfer of the brake-disk business from Industrial Technology to the Automotive Technology sector resulted in sales of the former registering a five percent growth of $6.9 billion. In regional terms, Bosch had strong growth in Asia, with sales up 13 percent. In China and India, Bosch sales grew significantly, by more than 20 percent. Business in Latin America and in Eastern Europe grew by 14 and 13 percent respectively. Sales in North America and Western Europe increased more moderately by 4.5 and 3 percent respectively. In Automotive Technology, conditions worsened significantly. Selling prices that could be demanded fell by an average of three to four percent. At the same time, Bosch was faced with a further $300 million increase in already high raw materials prices, especially for noble and nonferrous metals. In addition, capacity utilization fell, especially in the North American plants, due to the considerable sales difficulties experienced by the major U.S. automakers. It was not possible to completely compensate for these developments with the strong growth in business in Asia and with cost reductions. “In 2007, there will not be any appreciable change in the business environment. It is above all the internationalization of our innovations that promises to generate considerable growth in the years to come,” Fehrenbach said. Bosch is currently working with Indian automakers on roughly 30 engineering projects for the application of diesel injection systems, and there are as many as 50 similar projects in China. In North America “clean diesel” holds a lot of potential. High fuel prices and the re-intensifying environmental debate will provide a significant boost to demand for diesel in the United States. The Bosch Group is a manufacturer of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology. In North America, the Bosch Group manufactures and markets automotive original equipment and aftermarket products, industrial automation and mobile products, power tools and accessories, security technology, thermo-technology, packaging equipment and household appliances. Bosch employs nearly 22,700 associates in more than 80 primary and 20 associated facilities throughout the region with reported sales of $8.4 billion in 2005.