Modularity in Design and Production Relationships: A Field Study in Two Automakers

Flávio Issao Kubota*, Paulo Augusto Cauchick Miguel, Juliana Hsuan, Daniel Pacheco Lacerda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Modularity-in-design (MID) and modularity-in-production (MIP) relationship has been gaining the attention of scholars and practitioners along the years. However, the literature does not specify how this connection occurs and its implications. This paper analyzes the relationship between MID and MIP within the automotive scenario and investigates its main technical and organizational implications. Through an abductive, matched pair case study carried out in two large automakers, the study gathered data from interviews, on-site observations, and field notes from all interactions within the plants. The paper indicates that (i) both automakers prioritize modular design before modular production, characterizing a product-related approach, and (ii) the investigated automotive companies have different approaches when developing MID. One automaker focuses on product functionalities to develop the modules; the other company dedicates efforts towards a MID-MIP relationship through the industrial condominium concept. Results indicate significant propositions to be tested regarding MID-MIP connection, with original insights from two make-to-order (MTO) automotive companies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Issue number5/6
Pages (from-to)1589-1606
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Published online: 15 October 2022.


  • Modularity
  • Modular design
  • Modular production
  • Automotive industry

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