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Market Leadership in the Brazilian Automotive Industry: The Case of Marcopolo

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  • Luiz Ricardo Cavalcante
  • Bruno César Araújo
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    Abstract

    The aim of this paper is to analyze the factors that explain the industrial leadership of a Brazilian bus bodywork manufacturer (Marcopolo). From a methodological point of view, the paper was a case study based on bibliographic review and on in-depth interviews. The underlying hypothesis is that, at some point in the past, some idiosyncratic factors regarding Brazilian market led the large auto manufacturers to give up contesting Brazilian incumbents in these segments. Then, Brazilian companies managed to grow hand-in-hand with the Brazilian automotive market, and dictated the customer-supplier relationship patterns. Marcopolo had to develop technological and organizational capabilities related to stock management, and lean production principles of modularity and product platforms or families, very important to its CKD exports. Recently, Marcopolo found its own way to internationalization, especially towards developing countries (Marcopolo is present in all BRIC countries), through acquisition of existing plants, joint-ventures and involvement of local suppliers. In sum, Marcopolo’s strategies and decisions – going public, exporting and FDI – have been ahead of the Brazilian public policy discourse or market trends. These strategies were clearly riskier, but once succeeded, help to understand Marcopolo’s leading position. O objetivo deste artigo é analisar os fatores que explicam a posição de liderança de mercado ocupada pela Marcopolo, que é o principal fabricante brasileiro de carrocerias de ônibus. Do ponto de vista metodológico, o trabalho é um estudo de caso baseado em uma revisão bibliográfica e em entrevistas. A hipótese subjacente é que alguns fatores idiossincráticos relativos ao mercado brasileiro levaram as multinacionais fabricantes de veículos de grande porte a renunciar à competição com os produtores brasileiros no segmento de carrocerias de ônibus. Em relação ao conjunto do setor automobilístico, a fabricação de carrocerias de ônibus é um segmento relativamente intensivo em mão de obra, com menores níveis de faturamento e menos intensivo. em pesquisa e desenvolvimento (P&D), uma vez que as inovações tendem a ser incrementais. Essas características permitiram que as empresas brasileiras do setor conseguissem crescer em paralelo ao crescimento do mercado local e ditassem os padrões de relacionamento entre fornecedores e compradores. Para se tornar uma exportadora de veículos completamente desmontados (CKD), a Marcopolo precisou desenvolver capacidades tecnológicas relacionadas à produção enxuta, especialmente modularidade e plataformas de produtos ou famílias. Para desenvolver suas capacidades tecnológicas, a Marcopolo privilegiou as atividades internas de P&D e a integração vertical da cadeia de produção. Por outro lado, a cooperação da Marcopolo com universidades, centros de pesquisa e outras empresas do segmento de fabricação de carrocerias de ônibus não parece ser um elemento central para o acúmulo de capacitações tecnológicas e para a posição de liderança ocupada. Recentemente, a Marcopolo passou a enfatizar a internacionalização através da aquisição de plantas existentes, de joint-ventures e do envolvimento de fornecedores locais especialmente em países em desenvolvimento. Esses movimentos, no entanto, não se destinaram a ser uma fonte de novas tecnologias. Em suma, as estratégias e decisões adotadas pela Marcopolo estiveram à frente da retórica das políticas públicas adotadas e das tendências do mercado no Brasil. Essas estratégias foram claramente mais arriscadas, mas, uma vez bem sucedidas, ajudam a entender a posição de liderança da Marcopolo.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA in its series Discussion Papers with number 1906a.

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    Length: 48 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ipe:ipetds:1906a

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    1. Chris Freeman & Luc Soete, 1997. "The Economics of Industrial Innovation, 3rd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 3, volume 1, number 0262061953, December.
    2. Lall, Sanjaya & Teubal, Morris, 1998. ""Market-stimulating" technology policies in developing countries: A framework with examples from East Asia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(8), pages 1369-1385, August.
    3. Lall, Sanjaya, 1980. "Developing countries as exporters of industrial technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 24-52, January.
    4. Carvalho, Flavia & Costa, Ionara & Duysters, Geert, 2010. "Global Players from Brazil: drivers and challenges in the internationalization process of Brazilian firms," MERIT Working Papers 016, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    5. Collins, Robert & Bechler, Kimberly & Pires, Silvio, 1997. "Outsourcing in the automotive industry: From JIT to Modular Consortia," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 498-508, October.
    6. Pavitt, Keith, 1984. "Sectoral patterns of technical change: Towards a taxonomy and a theory," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 343-373, December.
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