Bosch has posted 2016 Group sales up 3.6% to EUR73.1bn (US$80.1bn), with EBIT totalling EUR4.3bn.

Sales of technology and services rose 12% in the first quarter and 11% after adjusting for exchange rates. All business sectors and regions picked up in the first three months of 2017, some significantly so, with Bosch aiming for sales growth of between 3% and 5% this year.

Of the company’s four business sectors, Mobility Solutions grew the strongest in 2016. Sales rose 5.5% to EUR43.9bn.

This year will see the launch of the Bosch Automotive Cloud Suite, a new platform for mobility services such as the wrong-way driver alert, predictive diagnosis, connected parking, and personal assistants. “The Bosch Automotive Cloud Suite is the key technological element for services related to the connected vehicle,” said Bosch chairman, Volkmar Denner.

“We will use it to connect drivers, cars, automakers, and providers of other mobility services. Bosch will make a new kind of mobility possible, a mobility without emissions, without stress, and without accidents.

“It’s no longer just a case of making better cars. We have to reinvent mobility.”

The Bosch chief added improving air quality in cities, where 70% of the global population will live by 2050, is a task industry, politics, and society must tackle together. Referring to the current debate about driving bans for diesel vehicles, Denner stressed both targets and policies for better air quality have to be technology-neutral.

“The creativity of our engineers must not be restricted to a particular technology by politics,” he said.

Bosch will also have a new operating unit for electromobility bringing together all the company’s activities in the area. In addition to investing in improving internal-combustion engines, the company is also ploughing in EUR400m each year towards achieving a breakthrough in electromobility. Most of this goes into battery research and development.

Bosch is researching both current and future battery cell technologies. The company has already won more than 30 electromobility-related orders. In 2016, it secured a further 11 in China, the world’s largest market for electromobility.

From the start of 2018, the new Bosch Powertrain Solutions division and its 88,000 associates will offer all powertrain technologies from a single source.

“Whether fuel or electricity, Bosch will drive the powertrain in the future as well,” noted Denner. “For our customers, we are and want to be the number-one partner for engineering and technology.”