The auto industry led all others in slashing r&d budgets in 2009, and Toyota lost its status as the world's biggest spender, according to a new report.
The auto industry cut r&d 14 percent last year to $73.1 billion, according to a study of the world's top 1,000 publicly held r&d spenders by consulting firm Booz & Co.
The cuts, which came amid a sharp downturn in revenue and bankruptcies at General Motors and Chrysler, were the deepest of any industry.
Overall, the top 1,000 companies spent nearly 4 percent less on r&d, the report says.
Still, r&d spending among the 78 automakers and suppliers included on the list remained healthy considering the steep sales drop, said Barry Jaruzelski, a Booz & Co. partner in Florham Park, N.J. Spending on r&d equaled 4 percent of total revenue, which was about the same as in 2008 and higher than in previous years.
"The auto companies are still spending more than they were in the first half of the decade," Jaruzelski said. "R&d was the last place they cut."
Toyota Motor Corp. cut r&d 20 percent in 2009 to $7.8 billion. That dropped the world's largest automaker from No. 1 to No. 4 on Booz's list, behind pharmaceutical company Roche Holding, Microsoft Corp. and Nokia Corp.
GM and Ford Motor Co. also cut way back.
GM fell from 5th to 11th on the list, cutting its r&d budget 25 percent to $6 billion.
Ford slashed r&d spending 33 percent, which was the biggest cut among the top 20 global spenders, to $4.9 billion. It dropped from 8th to 20th.
Among other findings:
-- Volkswagen was the only automaker on the top 20 list to increase r&d spending. Its $5.4 billion budget in 2009 was nearly 4 percent more than in 2008.
-- Honda spent $5 billion, an 18 percent drop from a year earlier.
-- GM spent the most among automakers on r&d as a percentage of its revenue, at 5.7 percent.
-- Denso Corp. spent the most on r&d among suppliers: $2.9 billion. Next in order were Continental AG, $1.9 billion; and Aisin Seiki Co., $1.1 billion.
The auto industry remained the third largest r&d spender, behind computing and electronics, and health care.