R&D investment up by 8 percent – 100,000 employees in Germany
The German automotive industry has again increased its spending on research and development (R&D). In 2014 its worldwide expenditure rose to 34.3 billion euro with year-on-year growth of 8 percent (31.8 bn euro in 2013). According to the European Commission, the German automotive industry accounts for one third of total global R&D spending in the automotive sector – which tops the rankings. Furthermore, the three largest R&D investors in the EU are all companies in the German automotive industry.
Domestic spending on R&D rose especially sharply in 2014 – climbing by a good 14 percent to reach 19.7 billion euro. That is 40 percent of the investment in R&D by German industry as a whole. For 2015 it is expected that the automotive industry will increase its domestic R&D investments by another 5 percent, pushing the figure up to 20.6 billion euro. This is based on information from the German promotional organization Stifterverband. “Germany is of huge significance for the strategically important research and development activities by the automotive manufacturers and suppliers. Whereas domestic passenger car production makes up one third of global car production by German group brands, our companies make over 57 percent of their worldwide R&D investments here in Germany,” underscored Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).
Roughly two thirds of R&D spending came from the automotive manufacturers, and another third from the suppliers, Wissmann added. “The German automotive industry is by far the largest investor in research and development of this country’s technology. This is where the know-how is created on which our international competitiveness is based,” the VDA president emphasized. Around 100,000 highly qualified employees currently work in the field of research and development at manufacturers and suppliers – 8 percent more than last year. “That is more than one quarter of all R&D staff in the business sector,” Wissmann stated. Of the 100,000 R&D employees, almost 60 percent work at the manufacturers and a good 40 percent at the suppliers.
The VDA president explained that alongside the continual optimization of classical internal combustion engines and the development of alternative drive trains, above all connected and automated driving was a major focus of R&D. “We expect a further increase in investment in research and development”, Wissmann said.