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Internationalization and Specialization in the European Automotive Components Sector: Implications for the Hollowing-out Thesis


  • David Sadler


SADLER D. (1999) Internationalization and specialization in the European automotive components sector: implications for the hollowing-out thesis, Reg. Studies 33 , 109-119. This paper explores two questions: the geographical conditions associated with an altered relationship between automobile assembly and component firms in Europe; and the ways in which automotive component firms have restructured their operations on a global basis. The first section reviews the interplay between positional balance and spatial reorganization, highlighting the significance of the strategies of leading component manufacturers. These strategies are reviewed in depth in a subsequent section, which pays particular attention to processes of internationalization and specialization. A further exploratory section asks whether-in the light of these trends-a process of hollowing-out might be taking place within the European automobile industry. It is concluded that important issues to be addressed include the balance between investment flows into and out of Europe, and the extent to which component firm internationalization is aimed at serving new growth markets outside Europe. SADLER D. (1999) Internationalisation et specialisation des equipementiers de l'industrie automobile: les consequences pour la these relative a la notion d'evidage, Reg. Studies 33 , 109-119. Cet article cherche a aborder deux questions: en premier les conditions geographiques qui sont associees a un changement du rapport entre les entreprises de montage et les equipementiers de l'industrie automobile en Europe, et en deuxieme les facons dont les equipementiers se sont restructures sur le plan mondial. La premiere partie fait la critique de l'interaction entre l'equilibre et la reorganisation geographiques, tout en soulignant l'importance des strategies des equipementiers les plus importants. Il s'ensuit une partie qui cherche a approfondir ces strategies et qui porte notamment sur les processus d'internationalisation et de specialisation. A la lumiere de ces tendances, une autre partie exploratoire examine si, oui ou non, un processus d'evidage a lieu au sein de l'industrie automobile europeenne. En guise de conclusion on affirme que les questions importantes a aborder incluent le flux net d'investissement a destination de et en provenance de l'Europe, et l'importance de l'internationisation des equipementiers dans le but de servir de nouveaux marches porteurs a l'exterieur de l'Europe. SADLER D. (1999) Internationalisierung und Spezialisierung im europaischen Sektor der Kraftfahrzeugsteile herstellenden Industrie: Implikationen fur die These einer Aushohlung, Reg. Studies 33 , 109-119. Dieser Aufsatz untersucht zwei Sachverhalte: die geographischen Bedingungen, die mit einer veranderten Beziehung zwischen Kraftfahrzeugbau und Bestandteile herstellenden Firmen in Europa zusammenhangen, und die Art und Weise, mit der Autobestandteile herstellendeFirmen ihreOperationen auf globalerGrundlage umstrukturiert haben. Im ersten Teil wird das Zusammenspiel von Stellungsgleichgewicht und raumlicher Umorganisierung besprochen, wobei die Bedeutung der Strategien fuhrender Hersteller in der Branche der Kraftfahrzeugbestandteile betont wird. Diese Strategien werden sodann im folgenden Teil einer grundlichen Untersuchung unterzogen, die ganz besonders auf Internationalisierung und Spezialisierung eingeht. Ein weiterer Forschungsabschnitt beschaftigt sich - angesichts dieser Tendenzen - mit der Frage, ob moglicherweise eine Ausho ¨hlung stattfindet. Es wird geschlussfolgert, dass wichtige fragen anzugehen sind, einschliesslich des Gleichgewichts von Investierungsstro ¨men von und nach Europa, und dem Ausmass, in dem die Internationalisierung von Firmen, die Kraftfahrzeugsbestandteile herstellen, darauf abzielt, neue Wachstumsmarkte ausserhalb Europas zu bedienen.

Suggested Citation

  • David Sadler, 1999. "Internationalization and Specialization in the European Automotive Components Sector: Implications for the Hollowing-out Thesis," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 109-119.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:33:y:1999:i:2:p:109-119
    DOI: 10.1080/00343409950122918

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    Cited by:

    1. Bolesław Domański & Krzysztof Gwosdz, 2009. "Toward a More Embedded Production System? Automotive Supply Networks and Localized Capabilities in Poland," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 452-482, September.
    2. Frigant, Vincent & Zumpe, Martin, 2014. "The persistent heterogeneity of trade patterns: A comparison of four European Automotive Global Production Networks," MPRA Paper 60199, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Justin Barnes & Raphael Kaplinsky, 2000. "Globalization and the Death of the Local Firm? The Automobile Components Sector in South Africa," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(9), pages 797-812.
    4. Gill Bentley & David Bailey & Stewart MacNeill, 2013. "The changing geography of the European auto industry," Chapters, in: Frank Giarratani & Geoffrey J.D. Hewings & Philip McCann (ed.), Handbook of Industry Studies and Economic Geography, chapter 3, pages 67-96, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Humphrey, John. & Chen, Martha., 2004. "Upgrading in global value chains," ILO Working Papers 993698523402676, International Labour Organization.
    6. Frigant, Vincent & Miollan, Stéphane, 2014. "The geographical restructuring of the European automobile industry in the 2000s," MPRA Paper 53509, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Thomas Klier & Daniel McMillen, 2015. "Plant Location Patterns in the European Automobile Supplier Industry," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 558-573, December.
    8. Vincent FRIGANT & Martin ZUMPE, 2014. "Are automotive Global Production Networks becoming more global? Comparison of regional and global integration processes based on auto parts trade data," Cahiers du GREThA 2014-09, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
    9. Stephan Manning & Silvia Massini & Carine Peeters & Arie Lewin, 2012. "Global Co-Evolution of Firm Boundaries: Process Commoditization, Capabilities Development, and Path Dependencies," Working Papers CEB 12-009, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    10. Marie-Claude Bélis-Bergouignan & Vincent Frigant & Damien Talbot, 2003. "L'inscription spatiale des modèles industriels," Post-Print hal-02385401, HAL.
    11. Kemal Türkcan, 2011. "Vertical Intra-Industry Trade and Product Fragmentation in the Auto-Parts Industry," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 149-186, June.
    12. Vincent FRIGANT, 2011. "Three uncertainties looming over the European auto industry," Cahiers du GREThA 2011-34, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
    13. Petr Pavlínek & Pavla Žížalová, 2016. "Linkages and spillovers in global production networks: firm-level analysis of the Czech automotive industry," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 331-363.


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