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Crisis, Resilience and Survival
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Crisis, Resilience and Survival charts the evolution of the global automotive industry, revealing the pressures and challenges facing firms in this huge but turbulent realm of business. Long-term overcapacity and swings of the economic cycle mean that many car companies are in financially perilous positions. Yet failures of auto companies are rare, and many have bounced back from the brink. Using the concept of the 'survival envelope', Holweg and Oliver argue that the ability to design, develop, manufacture and distribute vehicles competitively is not the only factor in ensuring success. Using detailed analyses of two failures (Rover and Saab) and two near-misses (Chrysler and Nissan) they explore how scale, market reach and supportive stakeholder relations can make the difference between success and failure in this global industry. This book will appeal to anyone working in, or studying the auto industry, as well as those interested in corporate success and failure.


‘This book is essential reading for followers of the industry, including journalists and investment analysts. Using their decades of deep experience in analysing the business, the authors take an unusually sophisticated approach to their topic. They have crafted a book which avoids the usual temptation to oversimplify the complexities of an industry that is huge in scale, truly global and still growing, and offer powerful new insights to explain and even predict corporate resilience in the sector. A compelling yet very approachable book.’

Richard Parry-Jones CBE - former Chief Technology Officer, Ford Motor Company, and Chair, UK Automotive Council, 2009–2015

‘The automotive industry is undergoing the most impactful changes of the past hundred years; hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicles provide alternatives to the internal combustion engine, autonomous driving features are commercially available, and connected cars will communicate with one another. This book provides a framework for understanding the dynamics of the automotive industry and what factors cause companies to succeed or fail. It is factual and comprehensive; a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the future dynamics of this complex industry.'

Daniel Roos - Japan Steel Industry Professor of Engineering Systems, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Founding Director, International Motor Vehicle Program

‘Too often students of the auto industry resort to anecdote and subjective opinion in attempting to explain why some car firms succeed and others fail. Holweg and Oliver break this pattern by devising an integrated model of firm survival and failure which is comprehensive, logical, and - most importantly - objective. Readers can leverage this framework as they make their own predictions as to which OEMs will sink or swim in the coming years.’

Glenn Mercer - independent auto industry analyst, and former Partner, McKinsey and Company's Automotive Practice

‘This insightful book provides double value - first by providing a primer on the structural conditions and firm capabilities necessary for survival in the global auto industry, and second by examining case studies of both failure and resilience against that backdrop. Holweg and Oliver’s ‘survival envelope’ framework and ‘resilience index’ benchmark provide predictive power for assessing the future crises that will surely afflict this ‘industry of industries’. For as the authors cogently state, the core question revealed by their analysis is not ‘why are there so many crises at auto firms’ but rather ‘given the conditions under which they operate, why don’t more auto firms fail?’’

John Paul MacDuffie - Director, Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation (PVMI), Mack Institute for Innovation Management, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

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