ICE Age Geography; Powertrain Production in Europe and North America

Publication Type:

Seminar Presentation


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2020)


Europe, Geography, North America, powertrain


The purpose of this paper is to describe the location of powertrain production facilities in Europe and North America and to explain reasons for striking similarities in the distribution of these facilities in the two regions. This paper focuses on the geography of powertrain production. The powertrain, which comprises the engine and transmission, accounts for approximately 21 percent of the value of a vehicle with an internal combustion engine (Menk et. al., 2012). Co-location between powertrain and final assembly plants is strong. More than one-half of North America’s final assembly, engine, and transmission plants are clustered within auto alley, a north-south region that extends south from Detroit to the Gulf of Mexico. Similar shares are clustered within a comparably sized region in Europe.
Median distances between final assembly plant and powertrain plants are similar within Europe and within North America. In both regions, the median distance to final assembly plant is approximately 500 kilometers for engine plants and approximately 750 kilometers for transmission plants.


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