The Bosch Group reported sales up 7% in the first quarter of 2014 taking FY13 sales to EUR46.1bn (US$63.7bn) an increase of 3.1% over FY12.

The company noted in a statement that the figure included a EUR1.6bn exchange rate-related loss because of the strong euro.

Bosch reported a FY13 EBIT margin of 6%, or EUR2.8bn, helped by what it described as "positive developments" in its automotive business sector where sales grew 6.7% to EUR30.6bn.  Chief financial officer Stefan Asenkerschbaumer described this as "an important step" towards Bosch’s target of an EBIT margin of 8%. FY13 EBIT in the automotive business reached 7.7%.

The number of employees in the year increased by 8,500 to 281,000 and Bosch said it expects to hire 9,000 undergraduates globally in 2014.

Sales in Europe grew 2.2% to EUR25.5bn despite what Bosch described as "the ongoing difficult economic situation".

Sales in North America grew 3.5% to EUR7.8bn, helping to offset a 3.6% fall in South America to EUR1.7bn.

In Asia Pacific, growth was 5.8% to EUR11.1bn. Bosch noted growth was 13.8% when adjusted for what it described as "severe currency effects" in the region.

Bosch continued to invest 10% of sales – or around EUR4.5bn - in research and development and said it plans to continue expanding its R&D capacity this year. By the end of 2014, the supplier will have some 45,000 researchers and engineers on board with more than 2,000 additional researchers hired in Asia Pacific.