Integration of external R&D expertise
In addition to our own internal resources, the expertise of our suppliers plays a key role in the development process and 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 are able to draw on external expertise primarily in creative processes, as well as 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. In addition, we are expanding our cooperation with subsequent series suppliers, as their expertise in the development phase of modules and components is particularly important.
Numerous patents submitted by employees
The large number and technical quality of the ideas submitted in 2012 demonstrate once again that our employees are an enormous source of innovation. In the reporting period, they applied for 4,313 patents –2,128 in Germany and 2,185 abroad. The main focus of these innovations was on the areas of modular infotainment, driver assistance systems, electric drive technology and lightweight steel design.