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French mega-suppliers’ trajectories during the modular era: some evidences on Faurecia, Valeo and Plastic Omnium

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  • Vincent FRIGANT

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to present factual elements concerning the rise (decline) of French mega-suppliers. The study will focus on France’s three main mega-suppliers, all actors that have had a stake in carmakers’ modularisation strategies: Faurecia, Plastic Omnium and Valeo. Section 1 returns to the late 1980s and shows that the emergence of today’s mega-suppliers is rooted in this era and was piloted by French carmakers. Section 2 positions French mega-suppliers in a global hierarchy and distinguishes between two varieties: suppliers of simple parts; and module suppliers, with the latter constituting the focus for the rest of this text. Section 3 shows how module suppliers’ rise is rooted in their aggressive mergers and acquisitions (M&A) strategies. It also demonstrates differences between suppliers in terms of the two leading acquisition strategies that were observed. Section 4 explains why these companies’ profitability continues to disappoint, developing the idea that modular strategies imply a big rise in fixed costs, something that suppliers cannot knock onto sales prices. Finally, section 5 returns to companies’ internationalisation strategies and offers a typology for the different entities that mega-suppliers consolidate

Suggested Citation

  • Vincent FRIGANT, 2011. "French mega-suppliers’ trajectories during the modular era: some evidences on Faurecia, Valeo and Plastic Omnium," Cahiers du GREThA (2007-2019) 2011-20, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
  • Handle: RePEc:grt:wpegrt:2011-20
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    File URL: http://cahiersdugretha.u-bordeaux.fr/2011/2011-20.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Vincent Frigant, 2011. "Are carmakers on the wrong track? Too much outsourcing in an imperfect-modular industry can be harmful," International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 22(4), pages 324-343.
    2. Vincent Frigant & Yannick Lung, 2002. "Geographical proximity and supplying relationships in modular production," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(4), pages 742-755, December.
    3. 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.
    4. Vincent Frigant, 2007. "Between Internationalisation and Proximity: the internationalisation process of automotive first tier suppliers," Post-Print hal-00257463, HAL.
    5. Petr Pavlínek & Jan Ženka, 2010. "The 2008--2009 automotive industry crisis and regional unemployment in Central Europe," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 3(3), pages 349-365.
    6. Helper, Susan & MacDuffie, John Paul & Sabel, Charles, 2000. "Pragmatic Collaborations: Advancing Knowledge While Controlling Opportunism," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(3), pages 443-487, September.
    7. Anders Larsson, 2002. "The development and regional significance of the automotive industry: supplier parks in western Europe," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(4), pages 767-784, December.
    8. Timothy Sturgeon & Johannes Van Biesebroeck & Gary Gereffi, 2008. "Value chains, networks and clusters: reframing the global automotive industry," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 297-321, May.
    9. Vincent Frigant, 2009. "Winners and losers in the auto parts industry: trajestories followed by the main First Tier Suppliers over the past decade," Post-Print hal-00395403, HAL.
    10. François Fourcade & Christophe Midler, 2005. "The role of 1st tier suppliers in automobile product modularisation: the search for a coherent strategy," Post-Print hal-00262872, HAL.
    11. Yannick Lung & Boleslaw Domanski, 2009. "The changing face of the European periphery in the automotive industry," Post-Print hal-00388014, HAL.
    12. Vincent FRIGANT, 2011. "Egyptian pyramid or Aztec pyramid: How should we describe the industrial architecture of automotive supply chains in Europe?," Cahiers du GREThA (2007-2019) 2011-27, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
    13. Vincent Frigant & Jean-Bernard Layan, 2009. "Modular production and the new division of labour within Europe: the perspective of French automotive parts suppliers," Post-Print hal-00381341, HAL.
    14. Thomas Klier & James Rubenstein, 2008. "Who Really Made Your Car? Restructuring and Geographic change in the Auto Industry," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number wrmyc, January.
    15. Fujimoto, Takahiro, 1999. "The Evolution of Manufacturing Systems at Toyota," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195123203.
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    Cited by:

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    modularity; supply chain; industrial architecture; automobile.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment
    • N84 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - Europe: 1913-

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