Modular production and the new division of labour within Europe : the perspective of French automotive parts suppliers

Publication Type:

Journal Article


European Urban and Regional Studies, Volume 16, Issue 1, p.25 (2009)



Allemagne, équipementiers, Europe de l'Est, Europe de l'Ouest, France, Géographie, Geography, Suppliers


This article focuses on the emergence of a new international division of labour in the auto parts industry. Its first section examines the hypothesis that the shift to modular production offers a chance to modify value chain geography inasmuch as modularity causes new opportunities and constraints in geographic proximity terms. An analytical matrix is provided and applied to New Accession Countries, with special consideration being given to French suppliers' circumstances due to the requirement that host country characteristics and company specificities be analysed simultaneously. The second section tests this matrix using statistical data and culminates in a case-study. It will be demonstrated that New Accession Countries are being integrated with the rest of the Continent, due to firms' ongoing search for location-related advantages and because of a tightening/easing interaction that is associated with proximity constraints.

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