€54 billion spent on R&D by EU auto sector per year, latest data show

Brussels, 8 June 2018 – According to the latest data, annual EU investment into R&D by the automobile and parts sector has risen by 7.4% to reach an all-time high of €53.8 billion.

This, and many other facts about the industry, were compiled by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) in its ‘Automobile Industry Pocket Guide’, published on the occasion of the association’s Annual General Meeting earlier this week.

This contribution makes the automobile and parts sector the EU’s number one investor in R&D – ahead of pharma and tech. It is responsible for 27% of the region’s total R&D spending.

Compared to other world regions, the EU auto sector by far leads the way in terms of R&D investment. Japan comes second in the global ranking with an investment of €29.8 billion per year, followed by the US with €18.5 billion. In fourth place comes China with €5.4 billion, or just one tenth of the EU’s annual spending.

In addition, over 8,700 automotive patents were granted by the European Patent Office last year.

“This level of investment into innovation shows how serious we are about further decarbonising and digitalising transport, thereby supporting the EU’s policy aims,” underlined ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert.

Other key figures contained in the new Pocket Guide include:

  • 13.3 million people – or 6.1% of the EU employed population – work directly and indirectly in the sector.
  • The 3.4 million jobs in automotive manufacturing represent over 11% of total EU manufacturing employment.
  • Motor vehicles account for some €413 billion in tax contributions in the EU15 alone – almost three times the total EU budget.
  • The automobile industry exported 5.9 million motor vehicles in 2017, generating a trade surplus of €90.3 billion for the EU.

Notes for editors

  • The 2018-2019 edition of ACEA’s ‘Automobile Industry Pocket Guide’ can be found online here: http://www.acea.be/publications/article/acea-pocket-guide.
  • The data on R&D investment by industry and region come from the EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard (European Commission, JRC/RTD).
Content type Press release
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