Plastic Cars in China? The Significance of Production Location Over Markets for Technology Competitiveness

International Journal of Production Economics, Vol. 132, pp. 79-92, 2011

14 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2010 Last revised: 19 Oct 2013

Erica R.H. Fuchs

Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University

Frank Field

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Rich Roth

Materials System Laboratory

Randolph Kirchain

Materials Systems Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Date Written: January 31, 2010

Abstract

This paper demonstrates the significance of location-specific differences in manufacturing characteristics and in consumer demand for technology competitiveness. It looks, in particular, at the economic viability of emerging polymer composite automobile body technologies if produced in the United States (U.S.) versus if produced in the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) The results show that polymer composite bodies, when produced locally for the local market, are competitive for significantly fewer cars in the P.R.C (7%) than in the U.S.(29%). Despite consumer demand characteristics in the P.R.C. being more favorable for composites, differences in production characteristics between the two locations dominate the overall effect. These results suggest that in cases such as automobile bodies
where markets and manufacturing location are tightly coupled, firms may need to put as much emphasis on understanding the impact of local production differences on technology competitiveness as in understanding local markets.

Keywords: International, Product Development, Design for Manufacturing, Automobile

Suggested Citation

Fuchs, Erica R.H. and Field, Frank and Roth, Rich and Kirchain, Randolph, Plastic Cars in China? The Significance of Production Location Over Markets for Technology Competitiveness (January 31, 2010). International Journal of Production Economics, Vol. 132, pp. 79-92, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1545154

Erica Renee Fuchs (Contact Author)

Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Frank Field

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Rich Roth

Materials System Laboratory ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Randolph Kirchain

Materials Systems Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

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