In the context of our growth strategy, we aim to make good use of the opportunities presented by the global automotive markets. At the same time, we intend to play a major role in the fundamental technological change occurring in the automotive industry, and to assume a leading role with digitization. This requires substantial investment in innovative products and new technologies, as well as in the expansion of our worldwide production network. In 2016, we therefore once again increased our investment in property, plant and equipment – as already announced in Annual Report 2015 – from an already high level to €5.9 billion (2015: €5.1 billion).
At December 31, 2016, financial obligations of €3.3 billion exist in connection with future investments in property, plant and equipment.
B.29 Investment in property, plant and equipment by division
|In millions of euros||% change|
|in % of revenue||3.8||3.4|
|in % of revenue||4.6||4.3|
|in % of revenue||3.7||3.0|
|in % of revenue||2.9||1.8|
|in % of revenue||2.3||2.5|
|Daimler Financial Services||37||30||+23|
|in % of revenue||0.2||0.2|
At Mercedes-Benz Cars, investment in property, plant and equipment of €4.1 billion in 2016 was significantly above the prior-year level (2015: €3.6 billion). The most important projects included the product ramp-up of the new E-Class models, preparations for the new GLE SUV and the successor models in the compact class, as well as new combustion engines and transmissions. We also made substantial investments in the reorganization of our German production facilities as competence centers and in the expansion of our international production network. The main areas of investment at Daimler Trucks in 2016 were successor generations for existing products, new products, global component projects and the optimization of the worldwide production network. Total investment in property, plant and equipment at Daimler Trucks increased to €1.2 billion (2015: €1.1 billion). At the Mercedes-Benz Vans division, the focus of investment was on the next-generation Sprinter, in particular for the expansion of production in the United States. The main investments at Daimler Buses were in new products and the modernization of production facilities.
Daimler Financial Services acquired Athlon Car Lease International B.V in 2016, thus making a strategic investment in the fleet-management business. Athlon is one of Europe’s leading providers of mobility solutions, especially for commercial fleet leasing and management. The entire fleet-management business is to be operated under the Athlon brand in the future. This will create one of the leading providers in the field of European fleet management with a portfolio of more than 360,000 cars and vans.
Furthermore, we capitalized development costs of €2.3 billion in 2016 (2015: €1.8 billion); this is presented under intangible assets. (See Sustainability and integrity)