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Full year 2023 results now available; VW has largest R&D expenditure

The world’s major car manufacturers’ financial results for the January-December period of 2023 are now available.

For Japanese automakers with a fiscal year ending in March, we used the figures for the fourth quarter of 2022 (January-March 2023) to the third quarter of 2023 (October-December 2023) as reference values for comparison with European, US and Korean automakers.

A comparison of the performance of the companies in US dollar terms shows that sales increased by double digits for the manufacturers, as product price increases due to inventory shortages in the previous year continued even after the inventory shortages had been resolved.

On the other hand, although the operating profit figures for Japanese-affiliated companies are for reference only, the composition of the profits of Asian manufacturers, whose exchange rate fluctuations (Japanese yen: from 132 yen in Dec 2022 to 141 yen in Dec 2023) were larger than those of European and US manufacturers, boosted their profits significantly. However, if exchange rate factors are excluded, it is difficult to say that profits are better for Asian automakers than for Western automakers.

In terms of research and development expenditure, VW was the largest contributor with USD 24.09 billion, up 19.3% on the previous year. It was followed by M-Benz (up 21.3% to USD 11.06 billion) and GM (up 1.0% to USD 9.90 billion).

In the automotive industry, the key to competition for the next generation is seen as financial and technological strength. Simply put, it will depend on how to increase sales and profitability and promote technological development.