ICE age geography: Powertrain sourcing in Europe and North America

Type de publication:

Journal Article


International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, Inderscience Publishers, Volume 21, Number 4, p.322-343 (2021)



Assembly plants, Carmakers, Economics, Economy of scale, Engines, Europe, Motor vehicle, North America, Powertrains, Vehicle assembly, Vehicle engine, Vehicle powertrains, Vehicle transmissions, Vertical integration


We describe the location within Europe and North America of motor vehicle powertrain sourcing. A powertrain is comprised of the vehicle engine and transmission. In terms of the organisation of production, powertrain production typically is vertically integrated into a carmaker’s operations. At the industry level, we find the footprint of powertrain sourcing to be remarkably similar in Europe and North America. A key feature driving the industry’s geography is that powertrain plants in both Europe and North America co-locate with vehicle assembly plants, yet produce more units per year than vehicle assembly plants. For a specific vehicle producer, the geography of powertrain sourcing largely depends on the scale of its operations. In both regions, the plants producing engines and transmissions are more clustered than those producing vehicles. This clustering highlights a distinctive regional distribution of production at a time when the transition to electric vehicles is starting to take hold. Copyright © 2021 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

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