In the context of our strategy of strengthening our core business and with the transformation of the automotive industry, we aim to make good use of the opportunities presented by the global automotive markets. In this context, we always focus on the dynamically changing wishes of our customers. We therefore intend to play a major role in shaping the fundamental technological change taking place in the automotive industry, and to assume a leading role with the development of the future areas of CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services and Electric). This requires substantial investment in innovative products and new technologies, as well as in the expansion of our worldwide production network. In 2018, we therefore once again significantly increased our investment in property, plant and equipment – as already announced in Annual Report 2017 – from an already high level to €7.5 billion (2017: €6.7 billion).

At December 31, 2018, financial obligations of €4.3 billion exist in connection with future investments in property, plant and equipment.

At Mercedes-Benz Cars, investment in property, plant and equipment of €5.7 billion in 2018 was significantly above the prior-year level (2017: €4.8 billion), primarily due to the ongoing product offensive. The most important projects included the successor generation of the current C-Class and the product ramp-up of the new GLE sports utility vehicle. We also made substantial investments in the reorganization of our German production facilities as competence centers, in the expansion of our international production network, and in the worldwide production network for electric mobility. The main areas of investment at Daimler Trucks in 2018 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 amounted to €1.1 billion (2017: €1.0 billion). At the Mercedes-Benz Vans division, the focus of investment was on production of the next-generation Sprinter in Germany and the United States. The main investments at Daimler Buses last year were in alternative drive systems, new products and the modernization of the production network.

In addition to property, plant and equipment, we also invested in associated companies and joint ventures in the reporting period. Through targeted investments, we strengthened our position especially in the area of mobility services and in the development of a charging infrastructure for electric mobility.

Furthermore, we capitalized development costs of €2.5 billion in 2018 (2017: €2.8 billion); this is presented under intangible assets in Note 31 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

Daimler AR2018 B.27 Investment in property plant and equipment

B.28 Investment in property, plant and equipment by division

  2018 2017 18/17
In millions of euros   % change
Daimler Group 7,534 6,744 +12
in % of revenue 4.5 4.1  
Mercedes-Benz Cars 5,684 4,843 +17
in % of revenue 6.1 5.1  
Daimler Trucks 1,105 1,028 +7
in % of revenue 2.9 2.9  
Mercedes-Benz Vans 468 710 -34
in % of revenue 3.4 5.4  
Daimler Buses 144 94 +53
in % of revenue 3.2 2.1  
Daimler Financial Services 64 43 +49
in % of revenue 0.2 0.2  
Other financial commitments