The European Components Industry: An Overview
Here, we are simply concerned to provide a general background, both theoretical and empirical, to the more detailed discussions in the later empirical chapters. The automotive components industry is a substantial one in both employment and turnover terms, but there is also a widespread perception that it is a sector under threat for a number of reasons (BCG, 1991), leading to rationalisation, concentration and internationalisation (Carr, 1988, 1993). The following section describes the sector from the available literature and information sources. Thereafter, we move on to consider the main forces for restructuring the sector. Finally, we outline a key determinant of change in the sector — the extent to which new buyer-supplier relations are being established (Cole, 1988). Here we compare the theoretical and idealised model with the evidence for actual practice by the various vehicle assemblers and the components sector. In what emerges, it is clear that great diversity is shown in supplier policies by the vehicle assemblers, and that, for each assembler, diversity also exists according to the component under consideration.
KeywordsSupply Chain Vertical Integration Automotive Component Supply Base Procurement Regime
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