From a humble origin as a ‘horseless carriage’ manufacturing industry dating back to 1890s, the automobile industry has come a long way emerging as market leader in manufacturing activity, providing employment to one in seven people, either directly or indirectly. Hailed as the ‘industry of industries’ by the Management Specialist, Peter Drucker, the automobile industry (US) set standards in manufacturing activity by contributing mass production techniques during early 1910s. The Japanese soon followed by offering lean production techniques in the 1970s. Riding high on economical revival in many developing countries in Asia and Europe, the industry’s global output touched 79,9 million ...view middle of the document...
Thus the global automobile industry dominated by Europe, US, Japan, and of late by China and India, continued to have a significant influence on economic development, international trade, foreign direct investment and environment-friendly practices.
Global automotive sales are estimated to rise in 2012, and Toyota should benefit from this. Rising prosperity in emerging markets, led by China, should drive global demand, partly offset by relatively weaker European demand.
Michael Porter identified five forces that influence an industry. These forces are: (1) degree of rivalry; (2) threat of substitutes; (3) barriers to entry; (4) buyer power; and (5) supplier power. Like other industries operating under free market systems, viewing the automotive industry through the lens of Porter’s Five Forces can be helpful in understanding the forces at play.
1. Degree of Rivalry
Despite the high concentration ratios seen in the U.S. market, which typically signify that a lesser degree of competition is seen in the industry, rivalry in the U.S. and the global automotive industry is intense. Clearly, the concentration ratios do not tell the whole story. The automotive industry in the U.S. is no longer the playground of the Big 3 (GM, Ford, and Daimler Chrysler); global companies compete in the U.S. market, while U.S. companies have globalized themselves. In the 1980s, the Japanese carmakers Honda and Toyota entered a fairly disciplined U.S. market and have been very focused in growing their shares of the market. The great diversity of rivals in terms of cultures and associated philosophies has intensified rivalry in the industry. Market growth is slow in the established markets of the U.S. and Western Europe, and companies must fight fiercely to eke out gains or prevent losses in market share. However, growth is potentially huge in the rapidly industrializing nations of China and India; in these booming markets, companies could take advantage of the opportunities to reap handsome rewards. The degree of rivalry in the automotive industry is further heightened by high fixed costs associated with manufacturing cars and trucks and the low switching costs for consumers when buying different makes and models.
2. Threat of Substitutes
The threat of substitutes to the automotive industry is fairly mild. Numerous other forms of transportation are available, but none offer the utility, convenience, independence, and value afforded by automobiles. The switching costs associated with using a different mode of transportation, such as train, may be high in terms of personal time (i.e., independence), convenience, and utility (e.g., luggage capacity), but not necessarily monetarily. The exception to this statement occurs in the global urban areas with high population densities. In these areas, the substitutes available (e.g., walking, mass transit, bicycles, etc.) can be less costly than automobiles and thus alternative modes of transportation are...