The paper opens by mapping the changes in the global auto industry in the
1990s, showing how the rapid growth in sales and production between 1990
and 1997 came largely from the emerging markets rather than the Triad
regions (North America, the European Union and Japan). However, for some
of these markets the downturn that followed was substantial and prolonged.
The emergence of regional production systems resulted in regional
integration. This created opportunities for industrial upgrading in developing
countries with links to one of the Triad regions, where a major part of
production still takes place.
The paper then describes how the relationship between assemblers and
suppliers has changed. There is a growing preference for using the same
suppliers in different locations (follow sourcing), which limits the
possibilities for component supplying by local producers in developing
countries. However, opportunities in second-tier sourcing, where a global
reach is not required, do exist. The paper shows that developing countries can
increase the possibility of integration into the global value chains of
transnational automotive companies by opening up their domestic markets.
It concludes with emphasizing the importance of fostering networks of small
firms in developing countries as a means of entering new markets.