The restructuring of the tier 1 supply chain in Europe

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Kyoto (2014)


The analysis of supply chains has been increasingly applied to investigate the health condition of a industry and its definition normally coincide with a hierarchical set of firms linked at different level of a productive process ending with a final product (Gereffi et al., 2005). In vertical links (relations between suppliers of different layers) and even in horizontal links (relations between suppliers on the same layer) market power is unevenly distributed. But, beyond the traditional notion of power, defined as the capacity of pricing over marginal cost, what matters in modern supply chain analysis is the ability to influence technology and product characteristics, starting with the projected final results, and involving also intermediate components which deeply influence performances and quality appreciated by the customers.
Although worldwide, only the producers of telecommunication equipment have a internationalization more marked, for the automotive sector the organization of the production has supranational characteristics rather than that of the global type (OECD, 2013). In fact, contrary to the processes of globalization, in the automotive field, the localized production is still very important. High transport costs and political pressure induce the automakers and suppliers of first level to organize the production of downstream activities at the markets. In addition, the systems of production at local level are necessary in the processes of just-in-time, in the collaboration in the design and overall production of vehicle platforms (Van Biesebroeck and Sturgeon, 2010).
The regional organization of the production process in the automotive industry is evidenced in the analysis of the trade flows of intermediate goods that occur predominantly in each country of the supranational structure of membership, for which the countries of the EU import the majority of their intermediate goods from other European countries (OECD, 2013), even if, the nationality of the parent company does not necessarily makes reference to the same production area.
For all these reasons, the automobile industry is best suited to an analysis by sector in terms of regional value chain rather than that of global value chain by a breakdown for phases of the manufacturing cycle some of which corresponding to the tier approach.
This paper shows how the restructuring of the tier 1 in Europe in the last 12 years and above all during the ongoing crisis.

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