Japan’s auto industry is ramping up R&D investment to defy the once-in-a-century technological disturbance generated by electrification, connectivity and autonomous driving.
Automotive companies seized the top four slots for the greatest amount of total R&D spending this year in a survey of Japanese companies published July 23 by the Nikkan Kogyo business daily.
It is a measurement that more recently has been intensely inclined to electronics and consumer goods companies.
Japan’s largest investor in the future this year was Toyota, with an R&D budget of 1.1 trillion yen ($10.13 billion) in fiscal year 2019, according to the Nikkan Kogyo.
On the second place was Honda, which earmarked 860 billion yen ($7.92 billion).
Nissan was on the third place with 550 billion yen ($5.06 billion), and the Toyota-affiliated global supplier Denso was the fourth-highest spender at 520 billion yen ($4.79 billion).
Their spending overtook that of Japanese high-tech firms like Sony, Panasonic and Toshiba, which were known to set the global standard for electronic gadgetry and digital creativity and innovation.
Automakers are increasing their R&D investment to bring some of that tech know-how in-house as they race to implement software systems and artificial intelligence to cars.
Sony had the nation’s fifth-biggest R&D budget; Panasonic was seventh.
Measured in a distinctive way, Denso took top honours in Japan’s auto sector.
Denso spent the biggest amount on R&D as a percentage of overall revenue. Its budget represents 9.5 percent of sales, thrashing the other automakers and suppliers at the top of the list.