Introduction - The Automobile Industry
The origins of the industry are rooted in the development of the petrol combustion engine brought about predominantly in France in the second half of the 19th Century. The automobile industry became a significant employer and economic force after WWII, when the national economies were being rebuilt.
The manufacturing of automobiles spread all over Europe and the United States by the beginning of the 20th century, whilst the United States being the dominant producer largely because of the development of large scales production technologies. However, by the second half of the century, Japan and Europe also became major exporters and producers, and then in the late 20th century the automobile industry was global, mature and heavily consolidated. Most of the world’s automobile production in the 20th century included General Motors, Ford, Daimler-Chrysler, Toyota and Volkswagen.
General identifiable Trends in the Business Environment
Global convergence played a major role in the late 20th Century. After the Japanese entered the international automobile market in the late 1960’s, the national based approached disappeared in a couple of decades as cars were now being manufactured in one country and sold with peripheral changes around the world.
The virtual disappearance of the national assemblers which were squeezed out by the international giants was one of the forces that led to this change and there was also the standardization of markets across international segments pushed by regulatory forces at regional level and fueled by ever more intense.
The trend applied as much to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or auto assemblers as to parts suppliers. This trend was bound to put pressure on the mid-sized players that were not big enough to compete with half a dozen giants that dominated the industry, but were not small or differentiated enough to compete in a niche market.