Research and Development

Germany Named Europe's Research King

Volkswagen leads the world when it comes to research and development.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    If Germany doesn’t invest more in technology, it could lose its edge in the automobile industry as tech giants such as Google are gaining ground in self-driving cars.

  • Facts


    • The 46 German companies included in the study spent a total of $59.6 billion (€53.9 billion) on research and development last year.
    • German R&D spending grew by 8.1 percent last year, twice the rate of the rest of Europe.
    • Volkswagen finished top of the 1,000 companies in the study, investing $15.3 billion in innovation.
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Germany led Europe in research and development spending last year, according to a new study obtained by Handelsblatt.

For the fifth year in a row, global companies increased their research and development spending, reaching a record level of $680 billion (€618 billion), according to the study of 1,000 publicly traded companies by consulting firm Strategy&, a subsidiary of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The 46 German companies included in the study spent a total of $59.6 billion, more than the combined net profits last year of the 30 companies listed on the country’s leading DAX index. Spending on research and development grew by 8.1 percent in Germany, double the rate in the rest of Europe.

More than half of Germany’s spending on research and development was in the automobile industry, for which Germany is well known. Volkswagen outspent the rest of the world, investing $15.3 billion in innovation, a growth of 13 percent. The firm reportedly has 10,000 employees working on autonomous driving technology and networking cars with smartphones.

Volkswagen doesn’t plan to cut its research spending in the aftermath of the diesel emissions scandal, which will cost the automaker billions. Research into hybrid, electric and hydrogen drive systems will only grow in importance, according to sources at the company. It will release details about its 2016 R&D budget at the end of November.

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