Title: Modularity in cooperative product development: the case of the MCC 'smart' car

Authors: Michael Stephan, Eric Pfaffmann, Ron Sanchez

Addresses: Department of Business Administration BWL 01, Institute of Technology and Innovation Management, Philipps University Marburg, Am Plan 2, D-35037 Marburg, Germany. ' Deutsche Bahn Intermodal, Railion Deutschland AG, Rheinstrasse 2a, D-55116 Mainz, Germany. ' Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics, Copenhagen Business School, Kilevej 14A – 3rd Floor, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark; Division of Engineering and Technology Management, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Abstract: This paper investigates the relationships between the product development processes, modular product architectures and a modular interfirm organisation. We use the case of Micro Compact Car (MCC), the company that developed and produced the |smart| city car and is now a division of Daimler. We examine the ways in which the company applied a revolutionary approach to outsourcing, early supplier involvement and quasi-integration and a |modular| organisation. The paper also suggests some deficiencies in MCC|s initial approach and proposes a framework for assessing architectural capabilities in product development, intended to improve the organisation of collaborative modular development projects.

Keywords: development partnerships; interfirm collaboration; modular architectures; modular organisations; modular product development; outsourcing; quasi-integration; cooperation; Micro Compact Car; smart cars; automobile industry; early supplier involvement; modularity; automotive product development.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2008.019385

International Journal of Technology Management, 2008 Vol.42 No.4, pp.439 - 458

Published online: 10 Jul 2008 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article