Volkswagen nominates first 44 suppliers to FAST initiative


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.

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