Title: Sustainability and diversity in the global automotive industry

Authors: Peter Wells

Addresses: Centre for Automotive Industry Research, Cardiff Business School, Aberconway Building, Cardiff, CF10 3EU, UK

Abstract: This paper argues that the automotive industry has reached the end of a prolonged period of technological monoculture that allowed and necessitated the kind of monolithic industrial structure, business models and operational practices currently in evidence. Using multiple micro-case-studies and examples from around the world, this paper will further argue that the future will be one characterised by technological diversity in which the solutions for automobility will vary according to spatially-specific requirements, embedded capabilities and strategy. Alongside this emergent diversity is considerable scope to dismantle existing barriers to entry to the sector and for new entrants to unleash innovative business models. These developments speak to the agenda of local economic revivalism under the rubric of cluster initiatives and similar policies. The contemporary economic crisis brings a unique historical opportunity to break the existing path dependency of the industry and thereby create a more sustainable form of automobility.

Keywords: industrial ecology; economic diversity; path dependency; business models; sustainability; automotive technology; technology management; automobile industry; sustainable development.

DOI: 10.1504/IJATM.2010.032630

International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, 2010 Vol.10 No.2/3, pp.305 - 320

Published online: 09 Apr 2010 *

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