IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Three uncertainties looming over the European auto industry


  • Vincent FRIGANT (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113)


The European automotive industry has once again entered a period of uproar. The crisis of 2008/2009 is far from over but probably marks the start of a new era that some observers are starting to refer to as the second automobile revolution. In this article, we will be trying to emphasize three major uncertainties that weigh upon the European automotive industry. The first relates to the future products that the sector is looking to manufacture and sell. This will involve questions about electric vehicles but also how internal combustion vehicles might be sold to more tone-deaf European consumers. The second section will revisit the outsourcing strategies that have arisen over the past 30 years, together with their increasingly obvious limitations. The final section will highlight the profound geographic recomposition that has taken place under our eyes over the past decade or so, and which speaks directly to the issue of Old Europe’s productive capacities in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Vincent FRIGANT (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113), 2011. "Three uncertainties looming over the European auto industry," Cahiers du GREThA 2011-34, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
  • Handle: RePEc:grt:wpegrt:2011-34

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aldo Enrietti & Pier Paolo Patrucco, 2011. "Systemic innovation and organizational change in the car industry: electric vehicle innovation platforms," ECONOMIA E POLITICA INDUSTRIALE, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2011(2), pages 85-106.
    2. 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.
    3. Bernard Jullien & A. Smith, 2008. "Industries and Globalization: the Political Causality of Differences," Post-Print hal-00293984, HAL.
    4. Michel Freyssenet, 2011. "The start of a second automobile revolution: corporate strategies and public policies," ECONOMIA E POLITICA INDUSTRIALE, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2011(2), pages 69-84.
    5. Gary Herrigel, 2004. "Emerging Strategies and Forms of Governance in High-Wage Component Manufacturing Regions," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1-2), pages 45-79.
    6. 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.
    7. Freyssenet, Michel & Jetin, Bruno, 2011. "Conséquence de la crise financière ou crise d’une forme de capitalisme : la faillite des Big Three," Revue de la Régulation - Capitalisme, institutions, pouvoirs, Association Recherche et Régulation, vol. 9.
    8. Peter Nolan & Jin Zhang & Chunhang Liu, 2008. "The global business revolution, the cascade effect, and the challenge for firms from developing countries," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(1), pages 29-47, January.
    9. Yannick Lung & Boleslaw Domanski, 2009. "The changing face of the European periphery in the automotive industry," Post-Print hal-00388014, HAL.
    10. Vincent FRIGANT (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113), 2011. "Egyptian pyramid or Aztec pyramid: How should we describe the industrial architecture of automotive supply chains in Europe?," Cahiers du GREThA 2011-27, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Automobile industry; electric vehicles; industrial architecture; carmakers; industrial geography; first tier suppliers;

    JEL classification:

    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • M21 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics - - - Business Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:grt:wpegrt:2011-34. 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: (Valerio Sterzi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.