Our last-year colloquium showed that manufacturers are engaged in a process of adaptation/reconfiguration of their activities, to various degrees, corresponding to the emergence of new territories, new consumption behaviours, and political incentives and sustainability of their product policies. In that respect, it is of much importance to examine policies of manufacturers, especially in contrast with their past trajectories, taking into account their product and R&D policies, commercial targets and manufacturing policies. The compromises of corporate governance might be reinvestigated, since one might expect that strong evolutions are still to come, especially when thinking about the internationalization of innovation capabilities. Their R&D management and innovation organisation led to the emergence within the automotive sector of "open innovation" experiments and practices worthy of full attention from social science researchers. The trajectories, compromises and actors taking part in these decision-making processes have to be questioned in terms of their impacts on the adaptation/reconfiguration processes.
Understandably, particular attention will be paid to the productive and commercial ramifications of manufacturers’ emerging country strategies. The same applies to examinations of the design activities that are starting to be located in spaces that used to be considered peripheral, or dedicated product policies that certain manufacturers are now developing. Lastly, although studies of large global carmakers from Europe, the United States, Japan or Korea will continue to play an important role in this analysis, studies of emerging market manufacturers that are independent or have ties to the aforementioned group are also welcome (i.e. Chana, Tata, FAW, Geely, Chery, Donfeng, Beijing Automotive and BYD). Studies focusing on these issues in the automotive industry (and even in other sectors) merit further exploration. The same applies to research into new forms of the international organisation of design activities associated with the rising power of Indian, Brazilian, Russian or Chinese design centres.
Concéption Tommaso Pardi
Administration Géry Deffontaines