This article examines the development of corporate research and development (R&D) in the automotive industry of East-Central Europe (ECE) in the context of the internationalization of corporate R&D generally and the automotive industry R&D specifically. Driven by large inflows of foreign direct investment since the early 1990s, vehicle assembly and the production of automotive components grew significantly in ECE. In my study I investigated the extent to which these increases in production have also led to the development of automotive R&D as an example of a higher value-added function of the automotive value chain. I conducted a more detailed analysis of Czech automotive R&D because of its prominent position in ECE. Despite modest growth, my analysis uncovered inherent weaknesses of automotive R&D in ECE and strong barriers to its future development related to its peripheral position in the European and global automotive production networks.