One of those outgoings is research and development, which can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, so when a manufacturer develops a new platform, they had better get it right.
Mazda has plenty of experience getting it right and hopes the 2013 Mazda CX-5 will be no different. It's the first in a line of cars using Mazda's new production techniques, and the new SKYACTIV range of engines, too. The CX-5's platform will be used in the upcoming Mazda 3 and Mazda 6 replacements, Mazda's biggest sellers.
Work on the CX-5 crossover started only two years ago. That's a relatively short development phase, and programme manager Hideaki Tanaka is perhaps understating a little when he describes it as a big challenge. Knowing it wouldn't just be used for the CX-5, the team had to consider all the fixed engineering points and flexible points, given that each car on the platform will vary in dimensions.
Mazda has made sure the car will retain some of that "Zoom Zoom" spirit in the way it drives. "The ride and handling are very nice with a significant advantage over its competitors," says Tanaka.
The SKYACTIV engines and transmissions will also ensure it's one of the cleanest, as well as the most fun.
That sounds like a lot of targets to hit. Maybe building cars isn't that easy after all...