National supply chains have undergone a process of regionalization/internationalization of transactions in recent years, such that the question of their fragmentations is on the top of the research agenda. In a context of growing competition and greater cost pressures due to the regionalisation of the auto industry, carmakers face the dilemma between on the one side reliance on historical suppliers, and on the other side co-development of newcomers’ capabilities. The purchasing strategies of carmakers, as well for the buying of modules, components, parts and raw materials, as for the scale (global/local) of their value chains, greatly determine the development of national value chains. It is then crucial to understand how in America, Asia, and Europe, the value chains evolve over time through the leadership and the policies set by the carmakers. Is there a tendency of regional integration of transactions and national disintegration of production? How do product policies and organisational policies of carmakers interact, and how do these interactions affect the national value chains in mature and emerging countries? The question of regional integration of transactions also deserves to be linked with the strategies of suppliers. There is no need to say that mega-suppliers, such as their carmakers’ clients, are largely internationalized in terms of production, innovation and profitability. However, we know little about the innovation and purchasing strategies of these mega-suppliers, and their impacts on national value chains. Their competitive patterns, especially the way they position themselves on a scale of technology/profitability products, might say a lot about the evolution of global value chains. At the other end of the value chain, the SMEs are still important actors of their clients outsourcing policies, as well in terms of number as production coverage. Facing the regionalization/internationalization strategies launched by their traditional clients in mature industries, SMEs have to develop specific product and manufacturing policies to adapt themselves to the many requirements (technical, costs, fiscal, etc.) in their evolving environments. How do they deal with the dilemma between diversification of clients and products, and exclusive relations with a limited product portfolio? How do newcomers and traditional SMEs penetrate and expand on emerging production market? Eventually, the regionalization of transactions does not only affect the relationships between clients and suppliers on a country-level, but it also raises the question of the political measures to maintain/develop national supply chains and/or regional supply chains. This institutional aspect is central when we consider the national innovation systems thought and deployed to strengthen the supply chain. In national innovation system, suppliers can capture a wide range of resources that can be used by several companies. They can also guide the development of the national supply chains. The question is then to know how do countries react to the movements of carmakers and suppliers.
We welcome papers dealing with these various aspects of supply chain’ fragmentation in any country of the world, and in particular with those which can include comparative approach about the internationalization/regionalization of national automotive supply chains which impacts the structuring and restructuring of the industry at local, regional, national or supranational levels.
Concéption Tommaso Pardi
Administration Géry Deffontaines