The recent announcement that Bosch Mahle Turbosystems is up for sale demonstrates just how difficult it is to succeed in the mainstream turbo market that is already served by very well established OEMs. It’s hard to see that they did anything wrong. They were funded by two very large companies, they had a very large lead customer, a realistic timescale to profitability, and an early presence in China.
Bosch and Mahle formed the venture in 2008 when auto manufacturers were investing heavily in downsized, turbocharged engines as a means to meet ever-tighter emissions standards and maintain fuel economy. They were trying to break into a market dominated by Honeywell and BorgWarner. Despite the growth in the automotive sector, it is likely that they never captured more than 10 percent of the business, according to an article from Automotive News.
Here at Concepts NREC, we have worked with several engine and automobile companies that have looked seriously at starting turbocharger design and manufacture, before finally walking away. The decision was partly based on the recognition that the turbocharger is a high technology device requiring a lot of specialist understanding and experience, and partly an appreciation of just how competitive the market is. That is not to say that it cannot be done, but Bosch Mahle’s experience shows how difficult it can be.
Concepts NREC has been working in the turbocharger market for decades. We work with large OEMs and start-ups who serve the automotive, marine, locomotive and power generation markets. Our customers usually come to us looking for ways to provide more power, using less fuel with lower emissions. This is not a trivial request since turbocharger technology is over 100 years old. The companies that can develop new and novel ways to meet the demands of today's challenging market will stand a better chance at success.