This paper describes a practical application of software development for automotive electronic control units (ECUs) using a new method based on automatic code generation. Control algorithms for a gasoline engine were developed using a high level graphical block diagram environment. These algorithms were tested on the target hardware in combination with a hardware-in-the-loop vehicle simulator. In parallel, a demonstration vehicle was prepared using the same production compatible ECU. This ECU runs an OSEK compliant operating system and a hardware abstraction layer enabling easy transfer of algorithms between different hardware platforms. The control algorithms were implemented and tested on the vehicle using rapid prototyping tools. Finally, a production implementation of the control algorithms was created using automatic code generation including fixed point arithmetic for the Siemens SAB C167 microcontroller. The project was completed in less than 6 months and proved the dramatic speedup that can be achieved using state of the art tools. Examples are provided in which changes are made to the high level control algorithms and code is automatically generated for a production compatible ECU.