Maintain new truck market leadership and expand service offering in our European markets.
We aim to maintain the strong market leadership positions that we have achieved in the European markets by leveraging our strong brands and remaining at the forefront of technological innovation, while increasing the benefits we provide to our customers by growing our service offering. We believe that we can differentiate our products through technological leadership that translates into superior customer benefits. To maintain our technological leadership position, we continue to invest significantly in research and development. Our research and development costs in 2011 were €120 million, or 5% of our new truck and hydraulics sales and 3% of our revenue. We believe this level of investment to be higher than what most of our competitors spent during that period. Our research and development pipeline includes innovations to address major technological trends, including fuel cell drive systems, hybrid trucks, lithium-ion technology and enhanced ergonomics. We strive to continuously broaden the range and increase the quality of the services we offer and develop for our customers, including solutions for fleet management, intra‑logistics processes, efficient goods flow management and IT systems. We intend to increase our market share and coverage in our after sales business in particular by targeting our significant installed base. We believe that our full product and service offering increases our value proposition and helps to strengthen customer loyalty.
Tap full market potential in growth regions.
We intend to exploit our excellent position in important growth markets in order to benefit from the increasing demand in those markets. We plan to continue introducing more tailored products into specific markets including China, India, Brazil and Russia and to strengthen our local product distribution and manufacturing network. We strive to leverage our diverse product portfolio to cover the premium, value and economy segments as the emerging markets continue to grow. We seek to further increase our local product offerings and expand our sales and services network in key growth regions. We aim to achieve this through targeted investments in local manufacturing capacity, product research and development and sales presence. This also includes targeted acquisition of dealers in markets important to us, and, opportunistically, acquisitions of small local or regional manufacturers. Our joint venture with Voltas Material Handling, gives us a good entry to the economy segment of the Indian material handling market. The Indian market for material handling is still one of the most underdeveloped among the major growth countries, and thus holds a lot of growth potential. The combined strengths of Voltas, with its good market reputation and long-standing experience in India, coupled with our know-how in material handling, will provide the starting point to participate in that growth.
Further improve market penetration through our multi‑brand strategy and sales and service networks.
We leverage our multi‑brand strategy, with our Linde, Fenwick, STILL, OM, Baoli and Voltas brands, to reach a wide range of regions and customers as well as the economy, value and premium market segments. We believe that this results in increased sales due to our ability to better address customer needs in their specific locations. For example, in order to be able to realize the potential of the important growth markets of Asia and South and Central America, which generally have lower technological requirements and are more price sensitive, we added Baoli, a local Chinese manufacturer, to our group as a fifth brand in 2009, to focus on the economy segment in China and also to leverage this product offering in other markets. In 2011, we added the Voltas brand to increase our presence in the Indian market. We will continue to explore selected external growth opportunities and seek to maximize our growth potential by utilizing the different strengths of our six brands, allowing us to present multiple options to our competitors, thereby increasing our overall market share. This effort will be assisted by the continued exploitation of our existing service network in order to drive new truck sales and after sales revenue.
Reduce costs by exploiting group-wide synergies and achieving operational excellence.
We strive to approach the market through our separate brands, maximizing our potential market share, while simultaneously working across our brands to achieve synergies and reduce costs in operations by implementing best practices throughout our group. While historically the various entities were largely managed separately, we are now focused on exploiting group-wide synergies while maintaining the distinctive identities of our brands. For example, our quality and production controls and logistics units are now managed by a central operations team in order to create uniform standards and make expertise available across our group. In addition, we plan to continue improving our production footprint across the group. We are able to efficiently manage resources through a shared procurement organization and a joint research and development unit which enables the bundling of resources and more efficient capacity utilisation, while still maintaining independent brand support where appropriate. We will continue to optimize our systems and processes, and we are also in the process of implementing and running standardized IT systems and platforms in order to continue to improve margins.