Gaining competences for innovation: differences between first movers and late movers in the Brazilian automotive industry

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Berlin (2010)


Automotive industry, Competence development, Emerging countries, First-Movers, innovation, Late-Movers


This study aims to explain the influence of the entry order of multinationals in the auto industry in Brazil on the capability building process of the subsidiary for product development. The analytical framework involves a discussion of advantages of the pioneer and of the follower, from the Economy science, and its application to the internationalization of enterprises, and the literature on capability building for product development in the sector. The case study was done through in-depth interviews in four automakers that undertake engineering activities relevant in Brazil: General Motors, Volkswagen, Fiat and Renault. The method used was the multiple case study. The results suggest that late movers burn steps in the capability building process, using the successful experiences of their older sisters. The results contribute, theoretically, to advance the discussion on empowerment of subsidiaries to innovation and product development, to the discussion of pioneers and followers in the international arena. In terms of practice, the results are relevant by identifying a "fast track” to the engineering team capability building in an industry where most subsidiaries still exerts this activity very slightly.

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