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Automobile Corporate Networks in Europe : Sectoral Specialization of Central and Eastern European Cities
Geography Young Scholars
The global automobile industry is made up of very large corporations and their various subsidiaries containing different functions that create complex locational structures. The networks formed by the 19 largest automobile transnational corporations constitute an automobile "oligopoly" representing more than 90% (OICA, 2012) of the world's production. Since the mid-1990s, Central and Eastern European cities have become attractive for transnational corporations and particularly for the production functions in the automobile sector. This leads to a crucial question. Are strategic functions (such as R&D) within these networks also located in Central and Eastern Europe, or is the region still manufacturing-oriented in the automobile industry? This paper focuses on the patterns and the main factors influencing the role of some of these new central and Eastern European cities that have become integrated in the global value chain of the automobile industry. By analysing the various locations of the specialized functions within the corporations, this study aims to extend the research on global value chains (Gereffi and Korzeniewicz; 1994, Sturgeon, 2000; Krätke, 2014). The spatial patterns of the various functions and the ownerships networks of the automobile industry are constructed in order to identify the cities supporting it. In particular, the way that national metropolises bring their national territories into the globalization of the automobile industry is addressed. For example, are there some specific advantages of capital cities compared to cities that have less integration in globalization terms?
City Networks, Global Value Chains, Global Production Networks, Transnational Corporations, Network Analysis, Automobile Industry
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