Internal and external know-how

Integrating external R&D expertise

In addition to our own internal resources, the expertise of our suppliers is extremely important in our development process; it will help us to systematically advance our new model rollout in the coming years. The early-stage, close collaboration between our internal and external resources guarantees that we can successfully complete projects with the quality we expect in reduced development times. We draw on external expertise particularly in creative processes and in the area of virtual technologies and megatrends.

We also use external capacity for support services, downstream processes such as series management, and activities that are not customer-facing but generate improvements. We are systematically expanding our cooperation with subsequent series suppliers in order to be able to tap their expertise in the development phase of modules and components.

Numerous patents filed

In the reporting period, we filed 5,948 patent applications for employee inventions, around half of them in Germany. This large number and the technical quality of the ideas submitted in 2013 demonstrates once again the innovative power of our top team. The patents filed related mainly to innovations in the technology areas of modular infotainment, driver assistance systems, alternative drive technology and intelligent lightweight construction.