Business Models under Changing Markets: The Case Study of Bosch Transmission Technology

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2015)


Bosch, business models, business strategy, powertrain, transmission technology


The technological and organizational requirements of a multinational industry, such as the automotive one, influence not only the technological upgrading of its parts and components, but also their distribution and sales modes. This research explores internal elements of the firm behind decisions made due to dynamic changes in the market and resulting in changes of the existing business model. Among the elements identified by the research are: (a) the procurement requirements of the main clients; (b) the existence of regional agreements; (c) local tax regulations; and (d) the corporate business strategy.
Inter-firm business settings within the automotive parts and components industry are of particular relevance in this study due to the wide set of interrelations with business restructuring in the industry. Under this changing environment, business models represent an important source of competitive advantage. Employing a case study of the auto parts multinational Bosch Transmission Technology, B.V. and two of its affiliated firms (Kefico and Bosch Thailand), the research explores internal elements influencing changes and adaptations of existing business models due to changes not only in the market but also in environmental regulations and technological developments. In addition, aspects influencing firms’ decisions to change and restructure existing distribution channels and intra-firm trade are also analyzed.
Combining elements from the business strategy perspective, the business model literature, and the role of intra-firm trade and transfer pricing, the research describes the relationships between Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) powertrains’ OEMs, CVT, and CVT-belts manufacturers. The case study reveals how a demand by regional clients for local to local influences the type of procurement method implemented.
The study was designed in hopes of stimulating awareness of how changes in the market are closely interrelated to both the business strategy of the multinational and the business models of its subsidiaries. The research also analyzes the role played by external elements to the firm, such as regional and foreign trade agreements (FTAs) and local tax laws and regulations, in influencing product distribution arrangements. The case study indicates that in order to consolidate a distribution network with its main clients, a multinational should establish local facilities to be able to provide the required production volumes, after-market sales, and appropriate engineering services.

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