Inderscience Publishers

From adaptation to complete vehicle design: a case study of product development capabilities in a carmaker in Brazil

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The paper is concerned with the technological activities accomplished in multinational subsidiaries of carmakers in Brazil, particularly with their involvement in Product Development (PD) and the related acquisition of technological capabilities. It has been found that carmakers have been following different PD strategies, presenting a variation of PD capabilities that justified the definition of a specific typology according to their levels of complexity. An in-depth case study has been carried out about the Meriva project (GM Brazil), which has been one of the most complex cases of PD performed by a Brazilian automotive unit ever. Amongst its findings, there has been a change on the quality, complexity and responsibility of the activities the Brazilian engineering has carried out, qualifying some of the subsidiaries to play a major role on automotive global PD.

Keywords: multinational corporations, Brazilian carmakers, automobile industry, product development competencies, technological capabilities, vehicle design, industrialising economies, Brazil, automotive assembly

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