Dorchester County’s Robert Bosch Corp. plant has some bragging rights today.
“We are now the largest manufacturer of fuel injectors in the world,” said Al Dhaene, co-plant manager at the Dorchester Road plant. “We have the capacity to produce 40 million fuel injectors a year,” he said.
Bosch, which already produces more than 30 million gasoline fuel injectors a year at its local plant, was the scene of a celebration Friday. Dhaene and other Bosch executives officially opened the company’s new $60 million, 182,000-square-foot building that houses manufacturing operations for its diesel fuel injection system.
The addition of the diesel line will make the company the world’s top producer, Dhaene said.
The diesel fuel injector system is designed to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. Bosch already has begun manufacturing them here for use in General Motors’ trucks.
The company added 200 employees as part of the expansion to reach 2,100 workers.
An additional 250 hires are planned over the next two years.
Bosch also produces anti-lock brake systems and diesel pumps at the plant.
Gov. Jim Hodges said Bosch has helped make “South Carolina part of the new technology … of the auto industry in the world.” He said Bosch is the largest German manufacturer in the state with its plants here and in Anderson and Sumter. “It’s the economic engine that makes us grow,” he said.
Kurt Liedtke, chairman and chief executive officer of Robert Bosch Corp.’s North American operations, said the Charleston area plant was chosen for the expansion because of its track record. “This plant in Charleston is one of the best and highest performing,” he said.
He said diesel fuel injector systems are the rage in Europe, with 40 percent of new car registrations being passenger vehicles with diesel engines. Bosch began producing it in Europe in 1997, supplying Fiat and DaimlerChrysler.
Bill Byrd, chairman of Dorchester County Council, said that in the past decade the county has had more than a billion dollars of new industrial investment. “Of that amount, Robert Bosch’s investment represented 40 percent of that total,” he said.
Bosch began operations in the Charleston area in 1974. It has expanded the plant six times.