PLYMOUTH, Mich. — Mohammed Abraham since 2021 has been the regional president of the Chassis Systems Control division for Bosch in North America, a role that includes being the lead for customer sales in the region. This division develops innovative components, systems and functions in the field of braking technology, vehicle dynamics and occupant safety.
Abraham, with more than 20 years of automotive industry experience, has held several leadership positions at Bosch, including the Senior Vice President of Finance and Controlling for Chassis Systems Control Division in Abstatt, Germany, and Vice President of Finance and Regional Business Unit Leader at the Chassis Systems Control Division in North America.
What is your current role and area of responsibility?
I lead Chassis Systems Control as regional president in North America. Chassis Systems Control is a division of Bosch that focuses on braking technology, occupant safety systems and vehicle dynamic solutions. Our regional footprint includes six manufacturing facilities in the US and Mexico.
How would you describe your work/leadership style and why has it worked so well for you?
People are my top focus. They are the key mechanism for supporting our customers, developing new product innovations and delivering results.Over the course of these last two years, adapting to new working structures and global shortages, we’ve seen the core talent in our organization rise to the challenge from all levels and fill gaps to ensure business continuity. Sales teams became data analysts and supply chain specialists. Project managers adapted into crisis management roles. Senior leadership stepped onto the frontline.
When it comes to leadership, it’s about empowering People. When it comes to change, it’s about empowering Leaders.
How has the global Covid-19 pandemic impacted your operation? What will the brake world look like in light of the pandemic in the near term?
Covid-19 has highlighted the fact that the office is not the only place to work from.
As we have all worked to established online communication structures and working behaviors, it’s clear that the pandemic has reshaped the office of the future. The keys to that future are both digital infrastructure and physical spaces to support shared communication and collaboration. A hybrid approach will both accommodate and complement the new structures that individuals and teams have established.
What do you look for when evaluating top talent?
When evaluating top talent, I look for the following characteristics: Vision. Determination and drive. The ability to share credit as a team.
What is the best career advice you have been given?
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before the sound defeat.”
When building a strategy you must develop an execution plan as a team, anchored to key metrics that can accommodate variable market conditions and deliver results.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I look to my associates and team for inspiration. They drive our organization’s ability to support our customers and respond to the rapidly changing automotive landscape.
How do you see the industry evolving over the next five-10 years and do you have any bold predictions for us?
Over the next five-10 years, we will continue to see an acceleration in fuel cell and electric vehicle technologies. The heavy-duty truck market will have more of an impact on EVs than we realize due to increased weight specifications, ADAS features and the accelerated timeline for the electrification of government fleets.
Also, in order to create efficiencies and modularity across platform concepts, we see OEMs moving towards skateboard architectures. This enables flexibility for a modular chassis concept and by-wire designs. In the future, one architecture across multiple vehicle platforms will create the condition for designated use cases for each platform. If a vehicle only needs to drive 50 miles each day for urban parcel delivery, we can simplify the requirements across vehicle systems. We will see more platforms with targeted technologies relevant to the intended purpose of that vehicle’s daily journey, moving people and/or things.
What is the major challenge(s) facing your organization’s operations now, in the near term and the long term? (Repeat of question: What do you see as your biggest challenge right now?)
Today we’re seeing unprecedented disruptions to customer delivery due to supply chain instability and increases in the cost of raw materials. As an industry, we need to work to address structural capacity improvements both abroad and locally. Over the long term, localization will support decreasing and eliminating the logistics bottlenecks we see today.
More broadly, electrification presents an incredible market opportunity, but the challenge, from a braking solutions perspective, is that we need to account for additional brake actuation architectures. Today, the electric motor is used for regenerative braking. In the future, it will be used for actuation.
Brake by wire technology meets the specific requirements of the two major trends:
1. Electrification: higher NVH requirements, no actuator at firewall.
2. Automation: flexible interior and stowable pedal.
Bosch has the system competence for act by wire technology and is able to control the new actuators across domains to enable new safety standards and dynamics functionalities.
We see near-term movements towards true by-wire systems – both electromechanical and hydraulic based. As we consider increased levels of automation in L4+ platforms, we see new possibilities in vehicle design, new human-machine interface concepts, more flexibility in space and packaging, and improvements to NVH which should all drive towards greater safety standards.
What are the best opportunities for the company?
There is a great deal of discussion across the industry about operational efficiencies in vehicle development. With over 135 years of experience, across global manufacturing partners, Bosch understands the key challenges and risks for developing and delivering hardware and software. The opportunity we have is in supporting our customers through the discovery and development of new models, in addition to continuing to engineer state-of-the-art new braking systems – enabling a safe, sustainable and connected new mobility ecosystem.
The overall automotive world is being overwhelmed by the concept of autonomous/automated driving for both safety and efficiency reasons. How soon do you believe we will see truly autonomous commercial vehicles on the road?
Let’s be clear, commercial use cases for automated driving are already here. We see early leaders in the autonomous vehicle segment with live fixed route and/or geo-fenced applications tracking countless miles in different markets. Automated vehicles are moving goods in shipping yards, mining sites and agricultural fields. They are moving people on university campuses and in local communities, enabling rideshare and package delivery. In fact, of the L4+ automated vehicles tracking daily miles across each of these use cases, several are doing so with Bosch braking technology.
These early market leaders are key to developing the kind of regulatory, insurance, ethical and legal guidelines that we still need for mass-market adoption of automated vehicles. Each mile provides invaluable learnings for the industry and validation of the endless variables needed to answer the question: is it safe for mass-market adoption? Only when we can answer that question affirmatively will we see truly automated vehicles on the road.
Tell us something that most people might not know about you or your organization.
Bosch is not only the world’s leading automotive supplier but also well-positioned in power tools and consumer appliance technology. Our global footprint and manufacturing infrastructure help us deliver and learn across industries. Bosch’s investment in the fabrication of semiconductor chips at our new Dresden lab is a strategic step in future-proofing the supply chain for our customers.
Bosch is also 92 percent owned by a charitable foundation focused on reinvesting our profits towards the development of communities across the globe.