Structural changes in the automotive industry in Australia: a review of user-producer relationships

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Riemens, W.


International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, Volume 2, Number 1, p.101-125 (2002)



A central focus of this paper is the changing structure of the Australian automotive industry and the challenges and opportunities ahead. The paper stresses the importance of national policy that transcends merely subsidising industries and technologies. The concept of complexes is introduced to focus on both the current strengths and weaknesses in the industry, as well as to point at drivers of industrial development. The major factors putting pressure on component manufacturers in Australia are market-related and include mergers, recession in Asian markets, excess capacity and the reduction in vehicle platforms. In addition, growing globalisation of the local manufacturers’ operations is evident in global sourcing and continuing rationalisation of relationships with supplier firms. Environmental and safety regulations, new selling methods and increased consumer demands intensify pressures for innovation within the automotive industry. The research therefore investigates the extent to which interlinkages between assemblers and their suppliers and between suppliers and supplier firms are developed in response to these global challenges. It demonstrates that in some areas there is evidence of improved partnerships between the users and the producers, particularly in areas where Australia already has a competitive advantage. Governments have a clear role in supporting industry by providing the research infrastructure as well as through raising standards. © 2002 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

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