Title: Hybrids, diesel or both? The forgotten technological competition for sustainable solutions in the global automotive industry

Authors: Christian Berggren, Thomas Magnusson, Dedy Sushandoyo

Addresses: Department of Management and Engineering, Linkoping University, Sweden. ' Department of Management and Engineering, Linkoping University, Sweden. ' Department of Management and Engineering, Linkoping University, Sweden

Abstract: Rising fuel prices and tightening regulations to curb greenhouse gases and other emissions have changed the parameters of competition in the global automotive industry, introducing new uncertainties, increased variation and technological turbulence. Many studies focus on the potential performance of |alternative technologies|, from fuel cells to battery electric cars. This paper starts from the other end: the competition unfolding in the real marketplace between today|s most important fuel-saving technologies: the |new| gasoline hybrid electric vehicle versus the |old| but continuously evolving diesel power train. In the paper, these technological options are related to the evolution of the European and US markets and the innovation and sourcing strategies of Japanese and European manufacturers. A central finding is that the advent of the hybrid power train has intensified technological competition within the industry, but that it stands no real chance of replacing the evolving diesel in the foreseeable future. However, the competitiveness of technological trajectories must be distinguished from the fate of the firms engaged in these technologies. The paper ends with a discussion of the key factors influencing the outcome of this technology contest between the leading Japanese and European manufacturers.

Keywords: hybrid electric vehicles; HEVs; diesel engines; technological competition; greenhouse gases; GHGs; innovation strategies; sourcing strategies; fuel saving technologies; Japan; Europe; automobile industry; automotive technology; sustainable development; sustainability.

DOI: 10.1504/IJATM.2009.026395

International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, 2009 Vol.9 No.2, pp.148 - 173

Available online: 09 Jun 2009 *

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