It's no secret that the automotive industry taps its supplier base for the latest and greatest technologies. Yet, many of those suppliers don't have anywhere near the R&D dollars of automotive OEMs, and, as I've asked before, even if the suppliers come up with cutting-edge technology, will the OEMs pay for it?
Automotive OEMs have some pretty big R&D budgets, so one would think they could out-R&D almost anyone, but that's not the case. In a PwC survey of the 20 most innovative companies in 2014, Apple was #1 with an R&D spend of $4.5 billion. That won't surprise anyone. The #2 spot went to Google, with a whopping $8 billion spent on R&D. Only one automotive company landed in the top 10: Tesla Motors garnered the #5 spot, with an R&D spend in 2014 of $0.2 billion.
The PwC survey of the 2014 top 20 R&D spenders saw Volkswagen in the #1 spot, with an R&D spend of $13.5 billion. Toyota captured the #7 spot ($9.1 billion), GM came in at #11 ($7.2 billion), Diamler was right behind at #12 ($7.0 billion), Ford made the list for the first time in 2014 at #15 ($6.4 billion) and Honda brought up the rear at #17 ($6.3 billion).
In a similar survey from Boston Consulting Group, only four automakers—Tesla Motors (#7), Toyota (#8), BMW (#18) and Ford (#19)—landed in the top 10 of its 50 most innovative companies in 2014.