Ford R&D Kicks Ass. And….?

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

According to The Detroit News, Ford has the second highest research and development (R&D) budget of any company in the world. That's not the second highest in the auto industry. That's the second highest R&D budget of any company in all industries. Ford's $8b R&D budget is second only to Pfizer's, higher than Microsoft's or Johnson & Johnson's. The second place amongst automakers falls to Daimler (formerly DaimlerChrysler, née Daimler-Benz) with a $7.34b budget. The total places it as Europe's biggest spender– but only seventh overall. So let's see… what are we getting from Ford's massive investment in R&D? There's a "new" Taurus which is a Five Hundred with a blinged-out grille, a "new" Focus that's based on an eight-year-old platform, an entire brand that's nothing more than rebadged Fords, and a "luxury" car brand with a 10-year-old flagship model sitting on a 30-year old platform. Yep. Sounds like money well spent to me.

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  • Jthorner Jthorner on Oct 09, 2007

    "As Ford reduces from seven to two V6’s, extra investment there will be eliminated (etc)" The amount of waste in the Ford way of doing things over the years is just nuts. For years they made two different small block V-8 engine designs, one the "Cleveland" and the other the "Windsor" depending on which factory built it. On many models they were used interchangeably in production. Spare parts were different, repair procedures different, etc. It has always boggled my mind as to how Ford gets itself into these messes. How on earth the modern Ford company let itself end up with so many platforms and so many overlapping parts is a real mystery to me. I guess that top management simply wasn't doing it's job and was letting every little fiefdom do it's own thing. Recently I went looking for good used OE replacement speakers for my old F150 truck. You would think that common round speakers would have been shared between the truck and the Ford sedans of that era, but nope. The amount of savings to be had from rationalizing the product lineup is huge. Hopefully Ford also will stop wasting money on stupid projects like the Thunderbird, GT and Lincoln Blackwood. In a way Ford has made it's problems even worse with the acquisition of European brands. Not long after they bought Jaguar the management there convinced Ford that it would need to develop a complete new V-8 engine of it's own. That engine family ended up going into the Lincoln LS also. More recently Volvo wanted a V-8, and contracted with sometimes Ford supplier Yamaha to make them one, which engine is completely incompatible with the Jaguar V-8 and other Ford V-8s.

  • Mastermik Mastermik on Oct 10, 2007

    they should have stuck with just one luxury brand, and no more. Volvo would be perfect. Drop everything else.

  • Stuntnun Stuntnun on Oct 10, 2007

    to jthorner : i agree the blackwood was weird,i dont get who it was aimed at-70 year olds that wanted bling on a pickup? but the gt wasnt wasted,they get to take new technologies and apply it to the road,and what works trickles down into other vehicles(brakes,rubber,materials,fuel maps ect..)i know it stopped production but now theyre developing or maybe its out-the 60s version of the cobra (not mustage -the shelby aluminum body one)I cant believe im defending ford cause they do produce a lot a crap too. by your argument wouldnt 2 small blocks (windsor and cleveland) be enough choice back then? they were compatible in most fords that had a manufactures try to make it so they can share parts across platforms,if they didnt the car would cost alot more especially a low volume car.i think nissan offers the same six cyl. in every model almost.

  • Bbdhome Bbdhome on Dec 02, 2007

    Question. How much of that R&D is publicly subsidized? The lowest estimation of Pfizer $9 billion R&D budget being publicly subsidize is 40% and that's the lowest. It could be as high as 80% when you work out how much they spend on actual research of new developments/products. The last I checked Pfizer profit was about $8 billion, which is funny when the public could be footing up to $7.2billion in R&D alone not including massive tax cuts.