Old and new spaces of the automotive industry: towards a new balance?

22nd International Colloquium of GERPISA

4 Juin 2014 - 09:00 - 6 Juin 2014 - 17:00

Kyoto University

Yoshida Honmachi, Sakyo-Ku

Kyoto, Japan

Date limite pour l'envoi des propositions: 
13 Jan 2014 (Journée entière)
Date limite pour la soumission des papiers: 
20 Avr 2014 (Journée entière)

Having put the emphasis on Europe during our two last colloquiums, this year’s colloquium in Kyoto will shed light on the overall tendencies in the Asian automobile industry. Asia appears as the main “driver of change”, in terms of sales and production volumes, and from the point of view of firm strategies, local policies, industrial policies, innovation (technologies, products, organizations), etc. Besides, the main ambition of the 22nd international colloquium of GERPISA is a deepening of our understanding of the restructuring/structuring processes, and their relationships with one another (codeterminations and mutual influences). The reshaping of the international automotive industry since the mid-2000s can not be fully grasped without taking into account these factors, at firm, supra national, national, and regional levels. For instance, it is important to understand that industrial policies in emerging markets can greatly influence local, domestic and international profit strategies of global carmakers and suppliers. It also appears that these trends have a deep impact on the reconfiguration of national automotive industries’ structures and organizations. To that extent, the role of newcomers in the overall restructuring of the industry has to be analyzed from the viewpoint of balance of power. Furthermore, this role not only reconfigures the power relationships within the industry, but also the productive organization and the patterns of transactions at several levels of the industry. From this perspective, the colloquium has for its second main target, from a more theoretical standpoint, the grasping of the interactions between institutions, markets and organizations, and how they relate to the formulation of local and global equilibriums.

We group these three main dimensions – Asia as the main driver of change; restructuring/structuring processes and their determinations; and the evolutions of the balance of power as a result of such a process –, into the 6 main themes below, and we call for communications accordingly. We also draw your attention to the special issue of the international journal IJATM that will be based on a selection of the best papers presented during the colloquium, including the winner of the young author’s prize (vii).

i) Automobilisation of societies, new and used car markets, and business opportunities in the industry
ii) New powertrains and new forms of mobilities: global tendencies, politics and markets
iii) Carmakers at a crossroads: new product architectures and new productive organizations?
iv) Supply chains under pressure: internationalization and division of labour
v) Industrial policies as a lever of change? American, Asian, and European industries in perspective
vi) Employment relationships: competencies in transition?
vii) IJATM special issue (GERPISA colloquium) and the young author’s prize


New powertrains and new forms of mobilities: global tendencies, politics and markets

Theme N°: 

The global car industry faces multiple challenges in terms of structure and organization, since the debate on alternative fuels and powertrains. Questions range from rethinking the industrial value chain to changing demand, and/or support measures from politics and urban planning.
The two main aspects we are thinking about in our international network (since sustainable transport and new forms of mobility has become an integral part of GERPISA’s research agenda), deal with the newcomers in the industry and their impacts on the “traditional” business models on the one hand, and the blurring of the boundaries between public transport and private transport on the other hand. If new mobility patterns entail regime change, we need to describe how and why it is linked to the current relocation dynamics in the global automotive industry, how politics are linked to the recent economic crisis and existing patterns in Japan, Europe, the US, and emerging markets. In that respect, and as a part of our research agenda, we are about to theoretically and empirically examine the transformations of the existing automobile system. To which degree do new powertrains – and their use through new “sustainable” mobility services – transform the sector’s structure and institutions, new markets and business practices? How do OEMs react to this challenge, which patterns of collaboration and innovation emerge? Based on which concepts can we grasp the scope of technological, societal and political transition we are facing? How to evaluate the rise of national and regional support schemes, how do they operate, what explains success or failure? What is the role and impact of public (environmental or transport) politics in shaping the integration of new and old technology? Directly linked with this dimension, there is also a need to reassess the construction of mobility policies. Traditionally, the conception of mobility led to a clear-cut boundary between public and private transport. Following the increase of intermodality, this boundary is weakened from several viewpoints. This entails fundamental research questions in terms of the structures of both industries (private and public transport) and their interconnections. How do carmakers and suppliers deal with this reorientation, from technological and business models viewpoints? What are the levers and the constraints to this development? What about the urban planning configurations in emerging and traditional countries?

This year’s conference is going to look deeper into these issues in a global comparative perspective, and we invite papers that reflect and describe these new developments in the existing automobile system. Possible trajectories of transformation can emerge locally all over the world, and we need more comparative case studies. While in 2013 this thematic section looked at the European side focusing on how to intelligently combine existing instruments and/or new products, this year’s conference at Kyoto specifically invites contributions focusing on markets outside of Europe and North America. Examples are experimental projects that combine electric or low carbon cars in local transport systems, responding to mobility needs and behavior. We invite research analyzing OEMs’ strategies, the involvement of new players from different sectors. Innovations range from services, data transfer, and charging infrastructure to light material and design. They include firm practices such fleet management, terms of decision making processes and management, but also new ways of user integration and innovation: what is new sustainable urban vehicle, and where? How will it be used? Which consequences for the sector? Case studies on different global regions addressing these issues are welcome.

Carmakers at a crossroads: new product architectures and new productive organizations?

Theme N°: 

Carmakers are still “at the top of the automotive industry”. However, their perimeters of responsibility (R&D, powertrain & stamping, assembly and distribution) and of influences (raw material, components and dealer networks) evolved recently, greatly determining the structuring/restructuring processes of the industry. Taking these shifts into account, the main objective here is to grasp the nature and the degree of these evolutions for the main carmakers and their localizations. We especially highlight three main parameters that will require our attention.
First, in terms of product policy, there is a need to assess not only the new products (car segmentation, kinds of innovation according to the localizations, etc.), but also the new product architectures, which means the way these products are designed, manufactured and sold. How are the standards of innovation set? Is there an overall tendency in the auto industry which leads to more open standards set at the industry level, and no longer locked into the carmakers’ divisions? And how does this translate into the way components are designed and built in different national industries? Do we observe for instance a general trend towards more standardised modular components? Such questions will help us think about the perimeters of carmakers’ responsibilities and influences, but will also help us in understanding the way these evolutions transform the geography of production and innovation. The choices made between integration and externalization, domestic and foreign production, vary greatly according to the prices of components and raw materials on the one hand, and to the interest rates on the other. However, we might also think about the nature of the incentives and burdens due to national specificities in traditional and emerging industries. How the structuring and restructuring processes is transforming the geography of production? Do “bottom up” strategies and innovations such as Logan create new markets and/or transform old ones? How these processes affect and/or are affected by the way carmakers build their mid-term and long-term strategies in terms of product, innovation and localization policies? Do we observe phenomena such as re-localization of production? Is there a risk of building new over-capacity in some emerging countries such as China? What are the implications in terms of volumes, production costs and localization strategies, of the general trend towards “over-quality” in the design of products? How do cars meet their markets? Often overlooked, but directly linked with these two first dimensions, the structure of corporate control of carmakers also requires our attention. Is the control of companies changing? Who controls companies today? And how does it matter? How do traditional carmakers change their structures of governance, and how do newcomers build them? Are there any new forms and tools of governance that fundamentally reshape the traditional modes? Which is the role of the so-called external experts in this process? How do we characterize them? Which interests do they represent and how do they affect the internal governance of each strategic domain (design, marketing, strategy, human resources, value chain, etc.)?

Taking into account these three main dimensions – product architectures and perimeters of influences and responsibilities of carmakers; structuring and restructuring processes, and their impact on the geography of production and innovation; corporate governance and control patterns –, we call for communications that give us a better understanding of the trajectories of carmakers in a rapidly evolving industry. Whether based on monographs, international and/or national comparisons, historical comparisons, the communications are expected to focus on the way the carmakers trajectories shape and/or are shaped by the structuring/restructuring processes of the overall industry.

Fichier attachéTailleAccèsDernier téléchargement
2014GERPISAColloquium_callfor_communications.pdf335.11 Ko2313il y a 3 jours 14 heures
B._JETIN_paper_2014.pdf612.55 Ko2813il y a 1 semaine 16 min

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