Toyota is spending one million dollars an hour on R&D including forward-looking, leading-edge technologies and product development in activities associated with the environment, energy and safety.
The latest annual report from Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) confirms it invested 807.4 billion yen ($8.85 billion) on research and development in its financial year ended March 30, 2013.
This translates into more than $24 million per day or a little over one million dollars an hour â€“ an increase of 3.5 per cent over the previous fiscal year.
The annual report says the overriding goal of Toyota’s technology and product development activities is to maximise driving pleasure, comfort and convenience while minimising traffic accidents and environmental impact.
“By achieving these sometimes conflicting goals to a high degree, we want to open the door to the automobile society of the future,” it says.
Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said fostering innovation and ingenuity in the interests of customers has always been a cornerstone of Toyota’s success.
Cramb said Toyota’s R&D activities are dedicated to the development of stylish, affordable and high-quality vehicles – whether by refining existing systems or making leaps in new technology.
“This massive R&D commitment demonstrates that everyone at Toyota is driven to listen to our customers and to develop new ways to improve their experience,” Mr Cramb said.
“Such passion is evident in the work of our innovative designers and engineers and, ultimately, in the vehicles and services we deliver,” he said.
“Toyota is never going to stop trying to make ever-better vehicles for customers in Australia and around the world.”
Cramb said Toyota leads the way in anticipating and engineering the cars of tomorrow for today.
Last year, in the United States alone, Toyota companies were issued with 1,491 patents – more than any other automotive company.
During the development of the current-generation Prius, Toyota filed 1,261 patent applications worldwide.
TMC’s report says it is essential to continue making substantial R&D investments to preserve its competitive edge in technologies and vehicles.
Already the world’s leading producer of hybrid vehicles with 5.5 million sales globally, Toyota has stepped up its R&D and production capacity of nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion batteries.
It has also ramped up development on new battery technologies like solid state and lithium air, as well as devoting resources to chemistries beyond lithium, such as magnesium and other low-valence materials.
Work is also progressing on Toyota’s first commercially available hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle with a new mid-size four-door sedan concept to be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in November.
The hydrogen fuel cell will use core hybrid technology and will be a primary element of Toyota’s future mobility strategy.