Bosch has posted 2019 sales revenue down 0.9% to EUR77.7bn (US$84.4bn) as the manufacturer “steels itself” for a 2020 recession.

“We are in an unprecedented situation,” said Bosch deputy chairman, Stefan Asenkerschbaumer.

“The challenges are formidable. This is reflected in our first-quarter figures. They already show the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. “Bosch Group first-quarter sales fell 7.3% year-on-year, and by 17% in March alone.

“We see a similar picture in our Mobility Solutions business sector, with a 7.7% fall in the first quarter and a 19% drop in March. Even if production has been ramped up again in China, and European industry is preparing for a ramp-up of its own, we have to steel ourselves for a severe global recession over 2020 as a whole.

“The actual extent of the drop in economic output can still only be guessed at. Our assumption is it will be significantly steeper than the roughly 1.5% fall we experienced in the 2009 recession.

“In automotive production, our current expectation for 2020, based on the effects that are currently apparent, is it will fall at least 20%.”