Episode 733 – OEM R&D Spending, Power-to-Weight: V-6 Ponycars

September 28th, 2011 at 11:00am

Runtime: 6:06

We take a look at which car company spends the most amount of money on research and development. Plus, a power-to-weight comparison with V-6 ponycars.

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This is Autoline Daily, but not the normal show you’re used to seeing. For the rest of this week we’re going to be showing you some of the best of Autoline Daily because we’re moving our studios to a brand-new building. So excuse our dust and please enjoy a couple of our favorite features. First up, let’s take a look at some important automotive numbers, then it’s time for a ponycar showdown. Enjoy!

Car companies can’t come out with new products unless they spend the money to develop them. So we dug through piles of annual reports to find out which automaker invests the most money in R&D, which is where the car companies book their expense for new product development. We also looked at which companies spend the most on R&D as a percent of total revenue. So let’s take a look, shall we? Seamus McElroy filed this report.

It’s no surprise to see that the top three R&D spenders are also the three largest automakers in the world, Volkswagen, Toyota and General Motors. VW spent over $9.2 billion last year which is close to a billion more than Toyota, which spent a billion and a half more than GM. Looking at the rest of the list, there isn’t much variation between where a company ranked in R&D spending and how much revenue it brought in for the year.

But if you look at R&D as a percentage of revenue, only VW remains in the top three. BMW and Honda jump to the top of the list, each spending 5.5 percent of revenues on R&D, with VW just a tenth back from both. Perhaps the biggest shock is how far Toyota falls, nearly out of the top ten. It spends just 3.8 percent of revenues on R&D. Ford also takes a tumble, barely staying ahead of Toyota. Of course, Toyota is about to launch a product offensive, so these numbers could climb.

With all the success Hyundai and Kia have had recently, it’s surprising to see both companies at the bottom of the list in both categories. Does this mean Hyundai-Kia could lose its momentum over the next several years with so little spent on research? Or does it mean they simply get more bang for their buck? We suspect it’s the latter.

Fiat and Chrysler are also at the bottom of the lists. Maybe Chrysler was holding back on spending while it was still partly owned by the U.S. and Canadian governments. If you combine R&D spending for the two, they’re still middle of the pack. And as a percent of revenue, they’re still at the bottom.

As promised, we’re doing more direct power-to-weight comparisons, and the next segment we’ve honed in on is ponycars . . . more specifically, entry-level, V-6-powered ponycars. We’ll get to the eights later.

We’ve collected vital statistics on the important cars in this segment and optioned them as closely possible. These are the cheapest SIX-CYLINDER versions available from their respective manufacturers. No options or extras included.

On the docket we have the Chevrolet Camaro LS, Dodge Challenger SE, Ford Mustang and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec. All of them are equipped with manual transmissions EXCEPT the Challenger. It’s auto-only with the V-6 engine. Also worth noting, the Genesis comes standard with a turbo four-banger. Getting into a six-cylinder model is a $4,500 price premium. It’s a rare day when a Hyundai isn’t the best value in a comparison test!

Front and center each car delivers more than 300 horsepower and in this department the 2011 Camaro is No. 1 by a narrow margin, with 312. As for torque, the Mustang takes top honors narrowly edging out the Chevy with 280 pound-feet. None of the cars have a big advantage in output; the real deciding factor in this comparison is weight.

Straining the scales at more than 3,800 pounds the Challenger is the biggest, roomiest and consequently heaviest car here. The Camaro is not far behind. Mustang and Genesis are featherweights by comparison, clocking in at hundreds of pounds less than the Dodge and Chevy. Let’s see what that means to the power-to-weight ratios . . . surprisingly, they’re all pretty close. The Genesis Coupe has the best score with the Mustang right on its heels. Predictably, the Challenger is the worst off, but again, not by a lot.

The story is much the same when it comes to pounds-per-pound-foot of torque. Look at those numbers. Even with six-cylinder engines these cars are performance machines!

As for fuel economy, the Mustang takes the gold, stickering at 19 around town and 29 on the highway. Amazingly, the Genesis delivers the worst numbers despite being the lightest car in this comparison. And this just shows you how fast things change in automotive business.

Well put, John! I couldn’t have said it better myself . . . Thanks for sticking around. Make sure you check back tomorrow for even more great content on Autoline Daily. We’ll see you then!

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57 Comments to “Episode 733 – OEM R&D Spending, Power-to-Weight: V-6 Ponycars”

  1. tj Martin Says:

    Oh !

    Almost missed the caveat about this being moving week/ repeat shows .

    SOOooooooo . I guess I got nothin !

    Back to the new instrument and a new book as well .

    ” Infinite Jest ”

    Contrition for all the short books and magazines I’ve had my nose in of late .

    Oh wait . I do got somethin !

    A few of you ( HtG ) might get a kick out of reading this ;


    Now what to do first ? Book or Instrument ?

    Hmmn :(

  2. tj Martin Says:

    And this ;


    The JEEP the JEEP He’s doing it Again *

    ( * bonus points for anyone who can figure out the original song title and group this is a parody of )

  3. HtG Says:

    tj, if you don’t practice at least an hour a day you’ll lose your Fingerspitzengefuhl. Go practice. How many times do I have to….

  4. HtG Says:

    BTW Is it an accoustic guitar? And have you priced violins and bows? HS!

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ, the Liberty, being such a proficient off-road performer, could accidentally set off the airbags due to so much bouncing and bumping against it’s rock-hard chassis, if driven hard by those 22 yr old chicks who like it rough!

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    Steely Dan “Back, Jack Do it again”????

  7. tj Martin Says:

    Best use of a Rolls Royce ever filmed ;


    @ HtG #4 You answer my question and I’ll answer yours :o ( yup I’m getting up HtG nose again )

    FYI – # 3 – three hours is usually my minimum .

    @ pedro – # 5 – Or maybe its just because its such a pile of garbage , quality wise

    And # 6 . Not even close !

    Hint 70′s slightly obscure English Prog Rock band

    Hint # 2 Who ever gets this really knows his/her Prog bands !

    Hint # 3 They were considered the UK’s version of a kinder , gentler Frank Zappa .

  8. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Violin bow prices

    Yeeesh !

    I’ve seen more than a few who’s price tags exceed that of the GLK’s MSRP by a healthy amount !

    Fact is one I ran across would of bought you an SLS !

    Personally I think this whole obsession by the Classical Community over antique Violins and Bows is in reality a lot of genuine Hype . Sure Strads are nice violins , but so are mnay being built today . Fact is some of the new ones sound better live and in the studio than the Strads of old .

    The Classical World needs to pull its head out of the past if its ever to survive into the Future .

    PS ; Gabriel Kahane’s ” Where are the Arms ” Chamber Pop , American Lieder , what ever you want to call him , its brilliant music from one of our best new talents ( heavily endorsed by John Adams by the way , which is who turned me onto the young mans music )

  9. HtG Says:

    In Re viols. Some Strads should be chopped up for firewood according to my cuz. I’ve heard him testing different ones from Francais years ago, and do they ever sound different. It’s the collectors that drive up prices, kind of like old cars that will never again be driven.

    So you’re a geiger then, tj?

  10. HtG Says:

    ps I saw your old Ferrari last night. It was waiting outside for its owner to have dinner. In black. Now that’s a cool looking car, next to modern cars.

  11. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    1) Vas ist das Geiger ?

    2) Ferrari 365GTC4 . What color pray tell ( my old one is in your area last I’d heard ) And yes its still a stunner to this very day . Too bad no modern Ferrari will carry its age that well ! Back when Pininfarina designed CARs instead of F1 Pastiches .

    3) Yer Cous is spot on . I know many an engineer on the classical side of the recording industry that Cringe every time a Strad enters the studio .

    Did you catch the documentary about Strads on Ovation ? All these young up and coming soloists whining and complaining that they can’t own a Strad as if the Instrument made the player . Going so far as to think they’ll have no career without a Strad . Guess they never heard in Music History 101 that Paganini despised Strads in his day playing his biggest competitors instead .

    What these Kids need to get their head around is to first off forget this unsubstantiated prejudice for Strads and against new Violins , Buy the new violin they like and live with it , finding all its nuances and subtleties and working with them rather than wishing it was a Strad .

    But its not just the collectors that keep the myth of the Strad going . Its the Aficionados and Classical Music Snobs as well as if any of them could tell the difference from the audience !

    The Ivory Tower/ Academy keeping its steely grip on Classical Music , crushing more talent than they ever supported .

  12. tj Martin Says:

    Well as to # 2 here’s the answer


    FYI ( HtG ) Prog is where many a talented classically trained composer/musician ran to when the ” Academy ” in the 70′s was flat out rejecting anything that was not either Standard Repertoire or dared to even resemble a melody .

    Thppppt to the Academy .

  13. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Mea Culpa

    Missed your reference to the 365GTC4′s color . Not mine . It wasn’t black .

  14. HtG Says:

    Geiger is Deutsch for violin player, tj.

    The F was very crisp, with those sharp lines. Mi Piace.

    I recall my cuz talking about a guy making new violins that were very good. He’s no snob,likes to play all different styles. (I have a really dirty story about a festival in Switzerland, but I’d have to be drinking to tell it.) I also recall him telling a tale about Glen Dictorow, leaving a lesson holding a newly commissioned score, and saying, ‘see this? It’s not music, it’s sh*t.’ And out he walked to perform it at Avery Fischer.

  15. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Nien ich bin Kein Geigenspieler , aber netter Versuch

    If its any consolation though , violin was my third instrument in Conservatory :o

    Sounds like me and the Cous i’d get along mighty fine . Fact his he’d probably get a real kick out playing my stuff

  16. tj Martin Says:

    New Corvette Spy Photos

    Well since John and the crew are on hiatus , here’s a bit of news from the other auto_______


    This is it gentlemen . And form the looks of it GM has managed NOT to screw it up with the C7 ( seeing as how the C6 was such a brilliant piece of work )


    This has been Tj Martin , the AutoAnarchist coming to you from the wilds of Kansas City , subbing for John and Co . whilst their new digs are getting finished .

    Hee Hee

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    From a no-go to a working mule so fast!! Are you sure this isn’t some kind of custom C6? I would call it evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

  18. HtG Says:

    Uh oh DC, tj isn’t going to like this report about the importance of EVs.


    Full tank, check
    Slim Jims and Skoal, check
    NASA issue diapers, check
    You depart at sun up, tj

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    Then make sure ALL electricity is made from sources other than oil otherwise what’s the point?

  20. cwolf Says:

    tj: Don’t know why it has taken so long for it to dawn on me,but I think you can help me. I inherited a fiddle from my bro-in-laws father and had it gone over and tuned. Only weeks after its return,the thin wood bridge located inside that is wedged between the back and face fell out. I’m sure I can put the part back where it belongs with a little effort,but how tight does it have to be and what is its function? Resonance? I am a 100% musical moron,but always had a fancy for a fiddle.I wish you could have heard that guy play old country folk tunes! Simply impossible to stop your foot from tapp’in. I can only wish.

  21. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    Thats the sound post that’s become dislodged and a DIY job that ain’t . Everything , even in the most basic fiddle is absolutely critical in repositioning it , with potential consequences ranging from the fiddle sounding really bad to it self implode/exploding ( seriously )

    Its purpose is two fold ;

    1) To equally distribute the sound between the top and back
    2) to provide extra support to the top to compensate for the tension of the strings on the top

    Honestly cwolf , part of Conservatory training includes Instrument maintenance , so technically I know how to do it right , but knowing the critical aspects of the sound posts placement and what can happen if I blow it , I wouldn’t even attempt it

    Especially if its an Antique Fiddle ( more fragile due to age )

    This is a TAKE IT TO A PRO situation cwolf , especially in light of the fiddle being a valued heirloom .

  22. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    FYI Take it to someone other than the person you just got it from as obviously he either didn’t check the sound post or placed it incorrectly .

    Ask at the local Music College/University program to find a competent Luthier that specializes in Violins , especially older ones .

    I know this will be an extra cost taking it to another luthier , but again it’ll be worth the effort .

    Rock On ( Fiddle On ) my friend

  23. HtG Says:

    If I may add an amateur’s comment, cwolf. Don’t hold the fiddle by the body, but rather let it hang by the scroll. You can mess the thing up, especially if the sound post isn’t doing the work intended. You should have seen my cousin’s eyes light up when I very delicately mishandled his precious(and I mean it) violin.

  24. tj Martin Says:


    WTH am I supposed to be going there HtG ?

    You think I’m gonna try and talk sense to the Brain Addled Mercenary bunch in DC ?

    I’d rather try to talk sense to all the H/K Hamsters out there to convince them to spend their money more wisely

    At least that’d have a 0.0000032 chance of succeeding , whereas the DC bunch is ONLY concerned with the state of THEIR back pockets , with logic and the needs of the people playing ZERO part in their E/V decisions .

  25. tj Martin Says:


    Even handling the Violin by the body ( which is wrong as you say ) shouldn’t of dislodged the sound post had it been installed correctly , so this one’s on the luthier , not cwolf .

  26. HtG Says:

    While I don’t dispute your arguments on the feasibility of EVs, tj, I reason from them that the govt has made a judgement that oil dependency is such a threat to the US that battery tech and electricity supplies must be developed further. Outside of the risk to oil supplies due to political factors, we send so much money overseas to pay for oil that our balance of payments are listing badly to the side. We are the Saudi Arabia of Coal, in the words of Amory Lovins; I believe we will use our coal just like the Chinese who also have it in abundance, and as we have seen, are eager to get EV tech.

  27. Wayne M. Brehob Says:

    John, maybe I should just give up, but I am too stubborn for that. My view is that there it is a waste of time to talk about peak engine torque. The car responds to torque at the drive wheels and that is engine torque times gear ratio, so talking about engine torque without accounting for gear ratio is meaningless. On the other hand, Horsepower says it all, so just give horsepower and forget torque.

  28. cwolf Says:

    tj: Perfect! My sister-in-law has her degree in voice(opera-yuck!)@ BGSU and still donates her time to the dept. I’ll seek her help. O.K- what in the heck is a luthier? The fiddle has decorative inlay on the back, but it ainn’t no strad! Is this problem really that important? Enlighten me!
    Thxs HtG.

  29. cwolf Says:

    @tj: It seems your feelings towards H/k mirror my own. My better sense has guided me thus far, but how can one argue with all of which they achieve, over and over again? They seem to have the Midas touch, but my gut still tells me otherwise. Your 2 cents,please!

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Exactly. You get maximum acceleration, and best top speed at the horsepower peak rpm of the engine. With proper gearing, the result is the same with 400 lb-ft of torque at 2000 rpm, or 200 lb-ft at 4000 rpm.

  31. cwolf Says:

    @UAW members: I read that King borrowed 200 mil. from the union till or from the retirement account and word has it that the union has a spending problem equal to the auto makers delema. To worsten the matter,it has been noted that the UAW/GM deal is not as rosey as claimed. As a result of tricky wording on behalf of the UAW,the retirement fund monies may and can be reduced to a fraction expected by retires and paid off in a paultry lump sum without notification of the work force. The UAWs quest and desperation to gain much needed due payers seems more and more that they are willing to sacrifice all those who believed and shaded in the unity and sacrifices made over the years. So much for SOLIDARITY!

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    At this point, H/K is at the top of the game in things that you see without driving the car, as showcased in the video of Winterkorn linked yesterday. Things go downhill when you drive the car. I suspect a Golf still drives better than an i30. Give Hyundai a couple years, though.

  33. pedro fernandez Says:

    One thing at a time,guys, first they improved build quality, then engine efficiency and next it will be driving dynamics. In other words, the best compromise of all 3 factors in on complete car line-up.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …and most Americans wouldn’t know good driving dynamics if they experienced it. If the did, half of the cars sold wouldn’t be trucks as is now the case. Hyundai knows what they are doing in setting their priorities.

  35. pedro fernandez Says:

    #34 or minivans or big, sloppy suv’s

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    Guys, other than expensive German cars, what do you consider to be a car with decent driving dynamics I may find at a rental place?

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Camaros and Mustangs are not bad, if anybody rents them. MINIs are are good, especially for a front drive, if anybody rents them.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #35, I was including minivans and SUV’s as “trucks” to say that trucks make up half the U.S. market.

  39. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    Luthier = the guy who fixes repairs and makes string instruments

    Value here isn’t the point . You want this one done right so’s the instrument will last .

    FYI the sound post in a Violin is the MOST critical non fixed ( not glued ) fixture on the entire Violin affecting both sound and structural integrity .

  40. tj Martin Says:


    Mustangs – Hertz

    Camaros – Budget

    MINI’s – Nobody

    Challenger- Enterprise

    Check as well in the area you’re renting to see if the local Hertz has any of the ZHZ C6 Corvettes on the lot . That’d be a major hoot ! Was for me !

  41. tj Martin Says:


    No its because they ( the Democrats ) are heavily invested in E/V companies because when Obama got elected they were all sure his E/V policies would go thru making them very very rich

    Ooops . Guess they like Obama forgot to ask the engineers what they thought .

    Notice the Republicans ( invested in Oil ) and the Tea Party folks ( jess plain ole igorant ) aren’t on the E/V bandwagon .

  42. tj Martin Says:

    AutoAnarchist News

    Well as to the UAW . it looks like FORD is about to have a Strike called on them ( NYTimes & TTAC )

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeh, some Hertz lots have the ‘Vettes, and they definitely have good driving dynamics.

  44. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    H/K two cents

    Rented both . Thought both were crap . Even all the magazines reporting the wandering the suspensions do over each and every bump and road joint . Interiors looked nice and felt like crap .

    Seats in both were left over Spanish Inquisition torture devices

    Tons of Do Dads ( electronic crap etc ) with ZERO quality

    Me thinks all the hype about Winterkorn ( VW ) etc being scared over H/K’s quality is in truth , propaganda coming direct from Hyundai/KIA HQ

    Notice in the interviews since Winterkorn is neither affirming or denying the stories , which leads me to believe they’re BS

  45. tj Martin Says:

    # 43
    They still got em ?


    Me loved the ZHZ for ten days and could use another ten to boot

  46. tj Martin Says:

    FYI pedro . if they’ve got the ZHZ where you’re going that hatch will easily swallow ten days of luggage for two with room to spare !

    DO IT Pedro ! You won’t regret it !

  47. tj Martin Says:

    Till the morrow gentlemen

    This is the AutoAnarchist signing off for today , September 8th 2011

    Good Night and Good Luck

    ( brought to you by ………. well …………. nobody )

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    I’ve never seen a Mini at a rental place, I think the best I’ve rented for dynamics was a Volvo 260 back when. Felt solid like a rock.

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’s possible that no one would want to rent MINI’s because some of the controls are strange, and would need either instruction from the rental place, or reading the owner’s manual.

  50. julius lambert Says:

    The fuel economy of the Hyundai,if you shove a lot of oxygen into a cylinder,then here comes more fuel or else a hole gets burned in the piston.Yes you have more power.The only vehicle that beat high fuel consumption[TURBO]was the Buick GNsin the 80s.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ll have to take a KIA test drive when I get to Florida in a few weeks. There is a conveniently located dealer. From what I keep hearing, I won’t be impressed with the drive. It will be interesting to find out how well the new H/K’s are doing after 15 years and 250K miles, but I think I’d rather take my chances with a Corolla or Civic, or even my very complex Prius.

  52. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    The reason no one rents MINI’s is because Rental Companies chose their cars based on Manufactures promotions e.g. the Manufacture heavily discounts the car to get it into the Rental line up , hoping it will lead to future sales

    And …… hey ……. it works .. Thats how the Mrs and I became acquainted with the GLK if you remember

    MINI , with their consistently high sales and never having enough stock has no motivation to sell cars at a discount to Rental companies as they have no need for further promotion beyond their Ads

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’s good for MINI buyers that they artificially limit supply by having only a handful of dealers. That keeps resale values up.

  54. HtG Says:

    Yeah what’s up with those resale values? Why are people so keen to buy a used Mini?

  55. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    FYI #51

    Even if your Prius were to fall apart around your knees , spew up battery acid like an Icelandic Volcano , and crap out in the middle of a major Interstate at peak Rush Hour ( all of which I doubt it’ll ever do ) you’d still be better off with it than to even consider a Hyundai/KIA

    Any Toyota , even a half dead one’s better than a new H/K any day .

    Eeesh :( the memory of both the Hyundai Sonata and the KIA Sorento rentals shifting left or right at least 4 inches over every expansion joint on the Interstate , on a windless day and at the speed limit ( 65 ) makes me cringe . And oh those seats . Took almost a month for my back to recover .

    Heck the wifes freaking Matrix rides/handles and is built better than both .

  56. tj Martin Says:


    Silly HtG ! MINI’s are for ………..

    But seriously , because new they’re not exactly cheap new and a lot of people out there really want one . Took M-B KC all of three weeks to sell mine at full price .

  57. tj Martin Says:

    Guess what ?

    The AutoAnarchist just got some major sponsorship

    All to be revealed on todays ALD , along with some car news and ( uh oh ) an AutoAnarchist opinion .

    ( oh dear Olivia , another AA opinion column , better send the kids out of the room before it comes on , remember last time the kids read his Opinion Column they had nightmares about Sarah Palin and GWB for three long months )