BMW plans to heavily invest in the next phase of its long and fruitful history. Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Nicolas Peter has revealed that the company’s research and development budget will be rising as a percentage of the firm’s overall budget in order to deal with the challenges posed by a rapidly changing industry.
In an interview with German outlet Boersen-Zeitung, Peter said that BMW will expand its investment in the following areas: electrification, CO2 emissions and autonomous driving.
“Reducing CO2 emissions, electrifying engines, and autonomous driving are the key challenges for our industry over the next years,” Peter said.
He also said that R&D spending would account for about 6 percent of sales this year, up from 5.5 percent in 2016.
BMW expects sales to grow slightly this year compared with the 86.42 billion euros ($96.82 billion) generated in 2016, suggesting R&D spending of more than 5.19 billion euros in 2017.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also pushes for larger automotive investments to be made in Germany, especially in the areas of battery cells manufacturing. In her weekly podcast, Merkel said “it would be desirable for Europe’s biggest economy to produce battery cells for electric cars locally and reduce dependency on Asian suppliers.”
“And if we are part of the research, also with regard to the prototypes, then I think it improves the outlook of bringing modern production of next-generation cells back to Europe and Germany,” she said.
In 2016, there were less than 80,000 electric cars on German roads, a number below expectations.