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The German connection: shifting hegemony in the political economy of the South African automotive industry


  • Justin Barnes
  • Mike Morris


Most value chain analyses remain at an abstract level, underplaying political economy issues and the importance of local context. The paper analyses the manner in which global automotive forces (the dominance of the German assemblers and their multinational corporation first-tier suppliers) combine with local institutional influences (the government's automotive industrial policy) to drive, shape, and restructure the trajectory of the South African automotive industry under the hegemony of the 'German connection'. It shows 'how' and 'why' the German corporations, unlike their American and Japanese counterparts, were able to successfully integrate their global value chains with local institutional and policy conditions and reap the benefits. Its conclusions both add to a general understanding of how governance (power, command, control) operates within producer-driven value chains and illuminate the political economy dynamics of German control underpinning the South African automotive industry. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Justin Barnes & Mike Morris, 2004. "The German connection: shifting hegemony in the political economy of the South African automotive industry," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(5), pages 789-814, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:13:y:2004:i:5:p:789-814

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    Cited by:

    1. Anthony Black, 2009. "Location, Automotive Policy, and Multinational Strategy: The Position of South Africa in the Global Industry since 1995," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 483-512.
    2. Akçomak, Ibrahim Semih & Bürken, Serkan, 2019. "The middle-technology trap: The case of the automotive industry in Turkey," MERIT Working Papers 006, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. Manning, Stephan, 2013. "New Silicon Valleys or a new species? Commoditization of knowledge work and the rise of knowledge services clusters," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 379-390.

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