EXCLUSIVE: UK: Bosch reviewing Welsh alternator production

By just-auto.com editorial team | 12 April 2001

Bosch is reviewing its production plans at its Welsh alternators plant, writes Robin Roberts.

The factory beside the M4 motorway near Llantrisant has lost orders from Volkswagen, which will impact on production in the second half of this year. The German car-maker remains the plant's major customer.

The 1,200 employees have been told some weekend shift working is expected to cease at that time.

Plant director Rick Nork said last night he believed the factory's future was secure but if the downturn continued he did not rule out having to make redundancies.

He added that Bosch was still recruiting specially skilled people and offering apprenticeships because it saw that as an investment rather than an expense.

In a company statement yesterday, Bosch said that it had suffered as car-makers tried to trim costs and move towards greater efficiency.

"Bosch is currently evaluating the best way to respond to this overall downturn in the automotive market and we are looking at all options," said the statement.

The plant was opened in January 1991 and has made 30 million alternators. It employs 1,200 staff on a 24-hour operation and has a sister plant in Balbao, Spain, which is also affected by the reduced Volkswagen orders.

Experts have predicted the current decrease in European car sales will lift in 12 months, offering hope for car-makers and their suppliers.

Tim Williams, chief executive of the Welsh Automotive Forum, said the Bosch announcement gave cause for concern but he was hopeful its implications would not be severe.

"We will be ready to assist Bosch in whatever way we can," he said.

Professor Garel Rhys, director of the Centre for Automotive Industry Research at the Cardiff University Business School, said, "Vehicle manufacturers are trying to ensure they get best value for money off the suppliers. This is an industry where you have to fight to keep work."

Robin Roberts is motoring editor of the Western Mail

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

IMS Corporate Profile - Robert Bosch GmbH

World automotive components: Market prospects to 2005