Bosch is to buy the brake friction business of the Morse Automotive Corporation in Chicago which makes disc brake pads drum brake linings plus brake calipers, predominantly for North America.

The sale price wasn't disclosed but the unit, with 1,640 workers had sales of about US$157m in fiscal 2007.

The Morse business acquired will be integrated into the Bosch automotive aftermarket division, in a new unit called braking systems.

Morse Group will continue with its other existing aftermarket activities such as the brake caliper business.

"For us, the brake products business is a strategic growth area, and we consider brake pads to be a key element of this portfolio," said Bosch aftermarket chief Robert Hanser.

"The acquisition of Morse's friction business is our entry into the production of brake pads, as well as an opportunity to expand our position in the North American market in a way which is consistent with our overall strategy."

Bosch plans to take over existing contracts with Morse customers.