Merging an Upmarket Car Manufacturer into a Global Player: Effects on Product Properties and Brand Identity

DS 61: Proceedings of NordDesign 2010, the 8th International NordDesign Conference, Göteborg, Sweden, 25.-27.08.2010

Year: 2010
Editor: Andreas Dagman; Rikard Söderberg
Author: Almefel, Lars; Michaelis, Marcel
Section: Design Issues
Page(s): 117-128


While striving for profitable business, automotive companies adopt product platform strategies. Thus, many different car models are based on common technology, components and even architecture. As a result, benefits of scale are attained in several ways, but intrinsically, such strategies are prone to result in products that customers perceive as similar. In this paper, the issue of platform commonality versus model distinctiveness is explored by following up two cross-brand platform cases within one automotive group. Specifically, the aim is to investigate how an upmarket brand is influenced by a cross-brand collaboration following a merger into a global player. Findings were brought to light adopting a qualitative systems approach, including the use of in-depth interviews, internal and external written sources, and the physical product. A central recommendation that precipitates from the study is to consider a platform strategy that supports the use of common solutions across models of distinct brands, however, without imposing the use of a specific architecture.

Keywords: Automotive industry, platform, product properties, empirical study

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