IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The geographical restructuring of the European automobile industry in the 2000s


  • Frigant, Vincent
  • Miollan, Stéphane


The paper seeks to provide a quantitative and macroeconomic picture of the new geography of the automotive industry in Europe. Since ten new members joined the European Union in 2004, automakers and suppliers have changed their location strategies and now view the whole of Europe as a single fully integrated space. Using data on employment, production, trade and foreign control of affiliated firms, the paper measures the East-West relocation process. The first section studies the motor vehicle sector, highlighting a sharp rise in the activity levels of Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC), as well as the specific role that Germany plays. It is crucial to remember that motor vehicle manufacturing remains a key traditional economic activity for some of the larger Western European countries. The second section looks at the automotive parts sector. The CEECs’ growth is particularly impressive when consideration is given to employment, a variable largely driven by foreign firms’ decision to export much of their local production. At the same time, the offshoring process remains more or less selective even if it often revolves around labour-intensive activities – explaining in turn the creation today of embedded East-West networks.

Suggested Citation

  • Frigant, Vincent & Miollan, Stéphane, 2014. "The geographical restructuring of the European automobile industry in the 2000s," MPRA Paper 53509, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:53509

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Vincent FRIGANT, 2013. "Une comparaison de l’internationalisation des chaînes d’approvisionnement automobiles allemande et française," Cahiers du GREThA 2013-09, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Cristina Castelli & Massimo Florio & Anna Giunta, 2011. "How to cope with the global value chain: lessons from Italian automotive suppliers," International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 11(3), pages 236-253.
    5. Jean-Bernard LAYAN & Jean-Bernard LAYAN, 2007. "Les Nouvelles Configurations De L'Espace Automobile Méditerranéen," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 25, pages 157-176.
    6. Adelheid Holl & Rafael Pardo & Ruth Rama, 2010. "Just-in-Time Manufacturing Systems, Subcontracting and Geographic Proximity," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(5), pages 519-533.
    7. 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.
    8. Klier, Thomas H. & McMillen, Dan, 2013. "Agglomeration in the European Automobile Supplier Industry," Working Paper Series WP-2013-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    9. Eric Rugraff, 2010. "Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Supplier-Oriented Upgrading in the Czech Motor Vehicle Industry," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(5), pages 627-638.
    10. Petr Pavlínek & Jan Ženka, 2011. "Upgrading in the automotive industry: firm-level evidence from Central Europe," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 559-586, May.
    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)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Vincent FRIGANT & Martin ZUMPE, 2014. "The persistent heterogeneity of trade patterns: A comparison of four European Automotive Global Production Networks," Cahiers du GREThA 2014-24, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    2. Frigant, Vincent & Zumpe, Martin, 2014. "Are automotive global production networks becoming more global? Comparison of regional and global integration processes based on auto parts trade data," MPRA Paper 55727, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Guillaume ASSOGBA & Samuel KLEBANER, 2015. "Vers un cadre d’analyse institutionnaliste de la politique de filière : Quelle cohérence pour la politique de filière française ?," Cahiers du GREThA 2015-26, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.

    More about this item


    automobile; Europe; deindustrialisation; relocation; offshoring; industry geography; auto parts industry;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • F62 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Macroeconomic Impacts
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

    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:pra:mprapa:53509. 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: (Joachim Winter). 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.