Capital expenditure and research activities
Investment in property, plant and equipment
We will continue to invest heavily in the attractiveness and future viability of our product range and production processes in 2021. This applies in particular to the increasing electrification of our product portfolio and to the digital connectivity of our products and processes along the entire value chain. At the same time, we will continue the measures we have initiated to reduce costs and make more efficient use of resources. Against this background, we plan to invest in property, plant and equipment in 2021 at the prior-year level.
A main feature of investment in property, plant and equipment at Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans will be the product ramp-ups of the next-generation C-Class and the battery-electric vehicles on the EVA2 platform. In addition, we will push ahead with the development of alternative drive systems and will also continue to invest in conventional drive systems. Investment in property, plant and equipment at Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans is therefore also expected to be at the prior-year level.
Daimler Trucks & Buses anticipates a significant increase in investment in property, plant and equipment in 2021. Non-product projects will account for approximately 50 % of the total; infrastructure optimizations will be the main drivers here. The increase in the share of product projects is partially the result of strategically relevant activities in the areas of electric mobility and automated driving. Other key areas include emission standards and fuel efficiency for our conventional powertrains, active safety, and the completion of the Freightliner vocational product portfolio.
Research and development
With our research and development activities, our goal is to further strengthen Daimler’s competitive position against the backdrop of upcoming technological challenges. We are focusing on the strategic areas for the future of connectivity, automated driving, and especially the development of electric drive systems. We therefore expect our research and development expenditure in 2021 to be slightly above than the prior-year level.
At Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans, a large proportion of the research and development expenditure in 2021 will be for the renewal of the product portfolio. Research and development expenditure is expected to increase slightly compared with the previous year, mainly due to the successor series to the E-Class and the compact cars. The topics of digitization, automated driving and electric drive remain at the focus of our activities.
The Daimler Trucks & Buses division anticipates a significantly higher volume of research and development expenditure than in 2020. Its development activities will focus on new technologies, including for truck automation and connectivity as well as for electric drive powered by batteries and fuel cells. Another key area will be the development of successor generations of existing products, especially in the segment of heavy-duty trucks, as well as tailored products and technologies for important growth markets.