ZF reported record sales of €36.4bn for 2017, up 6% over the previous year. Its adjusted EBIT was €2.3bn. The company announced it would increase its research and development budget by more than €2bn for 2018.

“The world of mobility is spinning at high speed,” said CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider at a press conference at ZF headquarters in Friedrichshafen, Germany. “We plan to provide our customers with pioneering solutions in all fields, which is why we will further increase our research and development spending.” He also added that a “start-up culture” could also fostered in big companies like ZF.

The higher R&D budget is aimed at advancing electric drives and the hybridization of transmission technology as well as vehicle safety systems and automated driving. The company also plans to continue investing in property, plant and equipment. In 2017, that was around €1.4bn). Two new plants for production of electric drive components are planned.

Scheider predicts organic growth in 2018 of around 5% for sales of €36.5bn. It forecasts an adjusted EBIT of 6% and an adjusted free cash flow of over €1bn.