Identifying Lead Markets in the European Automotive Industry: An Indicator-based Approach

Thomas Cleff, Christoph Grimpe, Christian Rammer

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    This paper presents an indicator-based methodology to identify lead markets in the European automotive industry. The lead market approach tries to explain why certain countries are better positioned than others for developing and launching new products. While much research stresses the role of excellence in technology and interaction among users and producers, the lead market approach focuses on the role of demand characteristics. Based on the concept of innovation design, a lead market is defined as a country where customers prefer that design which subsequently becomes the globally dominant design. We use an indicator-based approach which has been successfully employed for individual products as well as for various industries in order to identify lead markets in the European automotive industry. Employing five lead market factors, our results show that the EU is by far no homogeneous market for automobiles and national markets differ considerably in their lead market potential. The German market is found to be most promising to serve as a lead market, while other European countries with a strong automotive tradition like France, Italy, the UK, and Sweden score lower. Our findings suggest that firms from the automotive industry should exploit this diversity of market characteristics within Europe when developing and launching new products
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalIndustry and Innovation
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)496-522
    Number of pages27
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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