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The new competitive advantage of automobile manufacturers

Eric Rugraff (Institute of Technology Robert Schuman, University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France)

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Article publication date: 26 October 2012




The literature identifies different sources of competitive advantages. The purpose of this paper is to suggest that an efficient articulation of a Voice behavioral model and an Exit behavioral model can result in a sustained competitive advantage for automobile manufacturers.


The paper builds on the analytical framework of the global value chain literature to analyze how the combination of hierarchy, relational linkages and market linkages creates additional assets. The case of Volkswagen‐Skoda in the Czech Republic is used to illustrate the combination of Voice and Exit relationships.


The paper suggests that the competitive advantage of automobile manufacturers crucially depends today on the combination, on the one hand, of the “relational rent” provided by the cooperation with global suppliers, and on the other hand, of the “switching rent” provided by the absence of implication in the relationship with lower‐tier suppliers.


The paper represents an original research initiative that considers the combination of three types of linkages as the source of competitive advantage. The paper uses a case study to exemplify the declination and articulation of the three types of linkages.



Rugraff, E. (2012), "The new competitive advantage of automobile manufacturers", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 407-419.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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