ElringKlinger AG

Research & Development

Among other things, ElringKlinger’s corporate philosophy involves being close to the customer, spotting trends early, and helping to actively shape new solutions. To this end, the Group invests a substantial amount in research and development every year - around 5% of its revenue. Deployed in a targeted manner, this capital expenditure underpins the strong competitive position enjoyed by the ElringKlinger Group.

Research and development ratio at 5.1%
In response to the far-reaching process of transformation in the automotive industry, ElringKlinger is focusing its research and development (R&D) activities primarily on solutions for alternative drive technologies. In 2020, R&D spending (including capitalized development costs) came  to EUR 76.1 million (2019: EUR 80.8 million). This corresponds to an R&D ratio of 5.1% (2019: 4.7%). Out of this total, the amount capatalized was EUR 12.4 million (2019: EUR 16.7 million), giving a capitalization ratio of 16.2% (2019: 20.7%). Amortization of capitalized development costs amounted to EUR 12.8 million in the financial year 2020 (2019: EUR 5.7 million).

Key figures R&D        2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
R&D costs (in EUR million)1 76.1 80.8 87.2 75.9 74.8
R&D ratio1 5.1 % 4.7 % 5.1 % 4.6 % 4.8 %
Capitalization ratio2 16.2 % 20.7 % 12.7 % 5.9 % 9.9 %

1 Including capitalized development costs
2 Capitalized development costs in relation to R&D costs, including capitalized development costs

Number of R&D staff increased in FY 2020

The ElringKlinger Group has established a strong culture of innovation. The company's R&D activities are highly centralized to avoid any loss of expertise. For this reason, the parent company has concentrated its development activities both in Germany - at its own sites and that of its subsidiary ElringKlinger Kunststofftechnik GmbH - and at the Group's US plant in Southfield, Michigan. ElringKlinger built up additional know-how during fiscal 2020, especially in the field of battery and fuel cell technology. As a result, the number of employees working in R&D as of December 31, 2020, stood at 623, compared with the 2019 year-end-figure of 611.

New patent applications above previous year’s level

ElringKlinger always seeks legal protection for new developments at both product and process level. The centralized patents department is tasked with protecting the company's technological expertise and intellectual property rights. In 2020, it applied for 86 new patents (2019: 81), the majority in strategic fields of the future.