Press Releases

German auto industry invests around 39 billion euros in research and development

Berlin, 22 December 2016

R&D investment increased by 13 percent – 110,000 employees in Germany

The German automotive industry has made a double-digit increase in its expenditure on research and development (R&D). In 2015 its worldwide investments in this field rose to 38.6 billion euros – around 13 percent more than in the previous year (34.3 billion euros in 2014). According to the European Commission, the German automotive industry accounts for one third of all R&D spending around the globe in the automotive sector. This makes it the world’s number one – ahead even of the Japanese and Americans.

Furthermore, four of the six largest R&D investors in the European Union are companies in the German automotive industry. German firms make up almost three quarters (74 percent) of total global R&D spending by automotive businesses based in the EU.

Spending by the German automotive industry on research and development at home was raised by more than 10 percent to 21.7 billion euros. Roughly two thirds of this came from the vehicle makers, and one third from the suppliers. The German automotive sector therefore once again accounts for the highest proportion of R&D expenditure in the German economy, at around 35 percent, and is way ahead of the next largest investors – electrical technology and mechanical engineering. This information is based on surveys by the Stifterverband association.

The figures also reveal that over the past ten years the German auto industry has nearly doubled its investments in domestic R&D (11.2 billion euros in 2005). “Our industry is characterized by never resting on its laurels. With a huge will to innovate and invest, the German automotive industry is pursuing the path to electric mobility and digital transformation – toward connected and automated vehicles. Conventional powertrains are being improved at the same time. The German automotive industry is tackling the topics of the future with determination. It thus makes a major contribution to safeguarding the competitiveness of Germany as an automotive location,” stressed Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).

The research and development divisions of the manufacturers and suppliers have a highly qualified workforce of around 110,000. That is 10 percent up on last year – which is the strongest growth since 2000. Of these 110,000 R&D employees (more than one quarter of all R&D staff in Germany) almost 60 percent work at manufacturers and just over 40 percent at suppliers.

Eckehart Rotter
Eckehart Rotter Head of Department Press

Tel: +49 30 897842-120 Fax: +49 30 897842-603
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