Home-grown companies Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra were the biggest spenders on research and development in 2016-17 among the 25 automakers in India which together invested Rs. 6,344 crore, latest industry data showed.

The five biggest spenders on R&D were Tata Motors, M&M, Maruti Suzuki India (MSI), Honda Cars India and Ashok Leyland, according to the data sourced from SIAM and CMIE.

While the home-grown players have to develop technology mostly on their own, the likes of MSI and Honda Cars India rely heavily on their Japanese parents for new products.

In 2016-17, Tata Motors invested Rs. 2,100.1 crore in R&D despite reporting a loss of Rs. 2,619.2 crore. Similarly, M&M invested Rs. 2,075.8 crore in R&D, which was 40.02% of its gross profit that stood at Rs. 5,187.5 crore.

The country’s largest carmaker MSI’s R&D spend stood at Rs. 640.4 crore in 2016-17, amounting to 6.44% of the gross profit which stood at Rs. 9,941.3 crore during the period under review.

Although the company has set up a centre at Rohtak in Haryana to scale up R&D activities in India, it is still heavily reliant on parent Suzuki Motor.

Likewise, Honda Cars India invested Rs. 549.7 crore in 2016-17 although it incurred a loss of Rs. 98.9 crore. Commercial vehicles major Ashok Leyland put in Rs. 389.5 crore in R&D or 23.39% of its gross profit of Rs. 1,665.5 crore in 2016-17. VE Commercial Vehicles, a joint venture between Volvo Group and Eicher Motors, invested Rs. 268.6 crore while Force Motors spent Rs. 113.4 crore in R&D activities in 2016-17.

Two-wheeler makers

The leading 25 manufacturers invested a total of Rs. 6,344 crore in R&D, which was 35.04% of the total gross profit of Rs. 18,106.6 crore made by the companies in 2016-17.

In the two-wheeler segment, Hero MotoCorp led the R&D investment in 2016-17 with Rs. 701 crore followed by Bajaj Auto which put in Rs. 367.6 crore.

TVS Motor Company invested Rs. 244.7 crore followed by Royal Enfield at Rs. 128 crore. The leading 15 two-wheeler firms put in a total of Rs. 1,479.1 crore for R&D during the year under review.

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