Between Globalization and Regionalization. What is the Future of the Automobile Industry?

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Reference of different versions of the text

Freyssenet M., Lung Y., Entre mondialisation et régionalisation. Quelles voies possibles pour l’internationalisation de l’industrie automobile?, Actes du GERPISA, Mondialisation ou régionalisation ?, n°18, novembre 1996, pp 7-38. Éditions numériques, gerpisa.univ-evry.fr, 2001, 172 Ko; freyssenet.com, 2006, 556 Ko.

Freyssenet M., Lung Y., Between Globalization and Regionalization. What is the Future of the Automobile Industry?, Actes du GERPISA, Mondialisation ou régionalisation ?, n°18, november 1996, pp 39-68 . Digital publication, gerpisa.univ-evry.fr, 2001, 164 Ko; freyssenet.com, 2006, 550 Ko.

Freyssenet M., Lung Y., « Between Globalisation and Regionalisation : What is the Future of the Motor Industry », in Humphrey, J., Lecler, Y., Salerno, M. (eds), Global Strategies and Local Realities: The Auto industry in Emerging Markets, Macmillan, Basingstoke, and St Martin's Press, New York, 2000, pp.72-94.

The first and second versions are downloadable. This presentation page is also printable. Please, go to the end of this page. The second and the third versions are the same, less some graphics and tables.

Abstract

If the challenge facing automobile producers in the 1980s was how to change their industrial model, that of the 1990s will probably be how to reorganize themselves internationally. Of course the internationalization of the automobile industry is nothing new, having been one of the industry's characteristics since its inception, and international trade has accounted for a higher proportion of sales than it does today at several periods in the past (Bardou, Chanaron, Fridenson, Laux, 1997; Tolliday, 1996). History therefore reveals that this kind of change can ebb and flow, in part due to the economic, political and social tensions that it engenders (Hirst, Thompson, 1996). Incapable of creating by itself the rules which might assure its growth and longevity, it first caused the reaction of protectionist policies during the 1930s, and, later, national policies of 'autocentric' growth in the context of the pax Americana during the post-war boom. Globalization has neither been achieved nor is irreversible nor is unavoidable.

Yet the current tendency towards internationalization differs from previous phases, in particular the one during the 1970s and 1980s analyzed by GERPISA during one of the initial research projects of the network (GERPISA, 1984), in part due to the global context of deregulation and the emergence of new growth poles but above all because of its origins. The clash between the industrial models used by companies and between national growth models to which we have been witness over the last twenty years has destabilized employment relationships and in turn the markets of many mature countries, including those of countries which have benefited from this confrontation. Companies can no longer rely upon markets that are relatively predictable both quantitatively and qualitatively.

They are therefore faced with the following choice. Either they organize themselves in such a way that they can remain profitable in an unstable international economic environment while they await a possible homogenization of competitive conditions in terms of products, capital and labour, or they seek out local and regional economic spaces where they can recreate the conditions of regulated growth. Which process will win out? The analysis of international trade does not yet permit us to arrive at a clear conclusion. It is therefore necessary to undertake a detailed description of the internationalization trajectories that are currently being followed by companies (producers, suppliers, distributors) in order to identify their actual strategic choices and to understand the outcomes. If what we have said is correct the question of future paths towards internationalization is obviously an essential one for companies in the automobile industry.

It is also an important question in scientific terms if we are to understand what is happening and what is going to happen in the automobile industry. Either companies are going to adapt or transform their socio-productive model as a function of the new global context and the regional spaces that are being created, or they are going to focus on the spaces that contain or may in the medium term contain the preconditions for the continued functioning of their existing model, or alternatively they will misunderstand or underestimate the choices before them, as a result of which their performances are likely to be seriously compromised. An understanding of the actions and outcomes of the actors who make up the automobile industry in all its aspects (organization of production and employment relationships) therefore requires an understanding of the concepts and paths towards internationalization that each of them is following.

Content

Internationalization: the 'Fin de Siècle' Challenge Facing the Automobile Industry
The Recomposition of the Global Economic and Political Space
Financial globalization
The liberalization of automobile trade
The process of regional integration
The emergence of new automobile countries
The Globalization of Competition
The saturation of the 'mature' markets
New automobile markets
Industrial reorganization
The destabilization of employment relationships
Internationalization to Reduce Costs and Increase Variety
The vogue for 'decontenting'
The reorganization of distribution
Pressure on wage costs
Pressure on the supplier industry
The internationalization of production
The evolution of the automobile product
Internationalization Strategies Meet up with New Uncertainties
How will the traditional markets evolve?
Modifications to regulations
The destabilization of employment relations
Issues relating to emerging countries
Which Strategies of Internationalization?
The scenarios
A plurality of strategies of internationalization
The Organization of a New GERPISA International Research Programme
The trajectories of internationalization of automobile companies
Emergence of new automobile spaces
Convergence or divergence of markets and employment relations
Convergence or divergence in productive organisation and work-place relations
Conclusion
References

Key words

Automobile, Automobile industry, car makers, growth mode, profit strategy, productive models, employment relationships, productive organisation, product policy, labour, market,
Fusion, acquisitions, alliances, separations of firms, internal growth, external growth, globalization, regionalization, internationalization, emerging countries, ASEAN, MERCOSUR, ALENA, EU, commonalization, economies of scale, platform, variety, cost reduction, innovation, flexibility, decontenting, car distribution, wage costs, supplier industry

Concerned disciplines

Economics, Management, Geography, History, Political Science, Sociology.

Writing context

Contribution
to personal questioning
to scientific reflexion of research laboratory or network
to national and international scientific debate
to diffusion of scientific results
to implementation of scientific results

References, commentaries, critics

Curent relevance

See also

Possible purchase websites

http://www.gerpisa.univ-evry.fr/
http://www.palgrave.com

Last presentation page updating

2006.12.15

Date of the putting on line of the downloadable versions of the text

2006.12.15, Freyssenet M., Lung Y., Entre mondialisation et régionalisation. Quelles voies possibles pour l’internationalisation de l’industrie automobile?, Actes du GERPISA, Mondialisation ou régionalisation ?, n°18, novembre 1996, pp 7-38. Éditions numériques, gerpisa.univ-evry.fr, 2001, 172 Ko; freyssenet.com, 2006, 556 Ko.

2006.12.15, Freyssenet M., Lung Y., Between Globalization and Regionalization. What is the Future of the Automobile Industry?, Actes du GERPISA, Mondialisation ou régionalisation ?, n°18, november 1996, pp 39-68 . Digital publication, gerpisa.univ-evry.fr, 2001, 164 Ko; freyssenet.com, 2006, 550 Ko.

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