Bosch in Argentina
As early as 1925 Bosch's exceptional reputation has reached South America. The story goes that every motorist in Buenos Aires, when asked about products from Stuttgart, would enthusiastically reply: ”¡No hay como Bosch!“ — which roughly means: "Nothing can match Bosch!”
Bosch products proved their quality and reliability in the exceptionally dense traffic in the Argentine capital. There were more than 80,000 vehicles on the city's streets-around. At that time only around 132,000 automobiles were officially registered in Germany as a whole.
Robert Bosch travels to South America
Bosch products then were not new for people in Argentina. As early as 1908, Carlos Pugni took over the marketing of Bosch products for South America from his base in Buenos Aires. After the First World War the entrepreneur Walter Stephan was the new representative for South America.
To get an idea of the business opportunities in South America, Robert Bosch decided to travel there himself in spring 1921. He recognized the enormous development potential that the continent offered and therefore the newly founded Robert Bosch S.A. opened a sales office with an installation and repair workshop in Calle Rivadavia. It also managed the company's affairs in Paraguay.
A difficult comeback
When the Second World War broke out, business plummeted. At the end of the war, Bosch again tried to establish a distribution network for its German-made products in South America and therefore established lnyecto Magnet S. A. (IMASA). In the aftermath of a political crisis in 1955 the new government placed IMASA under state control. It was not until 1956 that it was finally possible to place the business in Argentina on a more stable footing by establishing the company Aparatos y Accessorios S.R.l. (APAC).
First manufacturing facilities in Argentina
In 1967, Robert Bosch Argentina S.R.L. — as APAC had been known since the start of 1962 — dusted off earlier plans and commenced with small-scale production of spark plugs and sheathed-element glow plugs in Buenos Aires. In 1969, Bosch decided to build a new plant for the production of automotive equipment in northern Argentina.
When the facilities were opened in Tucumán in 1973, Bosch transferred production there from Buenos Aires and also began assembling in-line pumps for the Argentine market.
In the years that followed, Argentina found itself in an almost constant state of political and economic flux. For many years, therefore, stable business development was also impossible for Bosch. As a result, the company was forced to restructure its Argentine operations and close the plant in Tucuman in 1988.
Bosch in Argentina today
Today the Bosch Group has one industrial unit in Argentina, Bosch Rexroth S.A.I.C., and manufactures Large Angle Grinders. Bosch in Argentina supplies a wide range of products through the units Automotive Aftermarket, Power Tools, Security Systems and Thermotechnology.
In April 2017 a new building opened in Buenos Aires. It hosts the headquarters for Bosch for the south region of Latin America including the countries Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia.
As a historian, I have been working in historical communications at Bosch for over 20 years. I have been responsible for historical print media for the same length of time and am now also part of the online editorial team. In addition, I am the contact person for questions regarding the history of Bosch in the Americas, on the Iberian Peninsula and in the U.K. — for the latter, I am particularly happy, because I lived there for three years.