Egyptian pyramid or Aztec pyramid: How should we describe the industrial architecture of automotive supply chains in Europe?
This article questions a terminology that is frequently used to describe automotive supply chains’ industrial architecture. Since vertical disintegration became a trend in the 1980s, this architecture has been represented using the image of the pyramid. Implicitly, authors have had the image of an Egyptian pyramid in mind, one that is pointed at the top and broad at the base. We will demonstrate that even if pyramids are an appropriate image, in the auto industry the Aztec variant, with its shortened peak and room for SMEs, is more accurate. The paper’s first section – with its more historical focus – explains the birth of the Egyptian pyramid. The section 2 puts forward the idea that the Egyptian metaphor is more misleading than informative. We start by demonstrating that overusing this metaphor will ultimately exclude a number of very strategic companies from analysis. This is followed by a presentation of the findings from a study of 750 French SMEs*, in which it is demonstrated both that some continue to maintain direct access to carmakers and also that the hierarchy of tiers comprising this supply chain features greater porosity than is commonly recognized.
|Date of creation:||2011|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Avenue Léon Duguit, 33608 Pessac Cedex|
Phone: +33 (0)18.104.22.168.75
Fax: +33 (0)22.214.171.124.47
Web page: http://gretha.u-bordeaux4.fr/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Vincent Frigant & Yannick Lung, 2002.
"Geographical Proximity and Supplying Relationships in Modular Production,"
- Vincent Frigant, 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.
- 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, November.
- U. Jürgens & Yannick Lung & G. Volpato & Vincent Frigant, 2009.
"The Arrival of Shareholder Value in the European Car Industry - A Case Study Comparison of Four Car Makers,"
- Ulrich Jürgens & Yannick Lung & G. Volpato & Vincent Frigant, 2002. "The Arrival of Shareholder Value in the European Car Industry A Case Study Comparison of Four Car Makers," Post-Print hal-00204249, HAL.
- Vincent Frigant & Damien Talbot, 2005.
"Technological Determinism and Modularity: Lessons from a Comparison between Aircraft and Auto Industries in Europe,"
Industry and Innovation,
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 337-355.
- Vincent Frigant & Damien Talbot, 2005. "Technological determinism and modularity : lessons from a comparison between Aircraft and Auto Industries in Europe," Post-Print hal-00153097, HAL.
- Richard N. Langlois, 2002.
"The Vanishing Hand: the Changing Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism,"
2002-21, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
- Richard N. Langlois, 2003. "The vanishing hand: the changing dynamics of industrial capitalism," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 351-385, April.
- Richard N. Langlois, 2001. "The Vanishing Hand: the Changing Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism," Economic History 0110001, EconWPA.
- Yannick Lung & Boleslaw Domanski, 2009.
"The changing face of the European periphery in the automotive industry,"
- Yannick Lung & Domanski Boleslaw, 2009. "The Changing Face of the European Periphery in the Automobile Industry," Post-Print hal-00384193, HAL.
- Alan O'Sullivan, 2006. "Why tense, unstable, and diverse relations are inherent in co-designing with suppliers: an aerospace case study," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 221-250, April.
- Damien Talbot & Med Kechidi, 2010. "Institutions and coordination: what is the contribution of a proximity-based analysis? The case of Airbus and its relations with the subcontracting network," Post-Print hal-00383257, HAL.
- 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.
- Asanuma, Banri, 1989. "Manufacturer-supplier relationships in Japan and the concept of relation-specific skill," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, March.
- Vincent FRIGANT (GREThA), 2011. "French mega-suppliers’ trajectories during the modular era: some evidences on Faurecia, Valeo and Plastic Omnium," Cahiers du GREThA 2011-20, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
- Ulrich, Karl, 1995. "The role of product architecture in the manufacturing firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 419-440, May.
- 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 443-87, September.
- Josh Whitford & Aldo Enrietti, 2005. "Surviving the Fall of a King: The Regional Institutional Implications of Crisis at Fiat Auto," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 771-795, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:grt:wpegrt:2011-27. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Emmanuel Petit)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.