1. In the intensely competitive global automotive industry, what factors provide comparative advantage to nations? Give some examples of natural advantages and acquired advantages that nations possess in this industry. Comparative Advantage: (Country advantage) The relative efficiency with which a country can produce a particular product or service, compared to other countries. Examples:
◘ Saudi Arabia- oil
◘ Brazil- coffee
◘ Australia- wool
◘ United Kingdom- financial services
◘ Automotive industry: source from locations that can supply low-cost input goods (such as engines, tires, car electronics). Natural Advantages: fertile land, abundant minerals, and favorable climate- were the initial areas of focus for comparative advantage. Examples:
◘ South Africa has extensive natural deposits of minerals, it produces and exports diamonds. ◘ Canada has much agricultural land and suitable climate, it produces and exports wheat. ◘ Automotive industry: source from countries with abundance of factor inputs, e.g. steel. Acquired Advantages:
■ Over time, it has become clear that countries can also create or acquire new, comparative advantages, or such advantages emerge over time. ■ Each nation's bundle of advantages evolves over time.
◘ Japan originally built an automotive industry at home, but had to seek lower cost production factors in Southeast Asian nations, Mexico, and Brazil. ◘ Germany had to relocate much of its mass manufacturing to Eastern Europe, to secure lower production costs. ◘ HMC built a factory in Turkey in 1997, in India in 2000, (with second plant in 2007), and in China in 2002- main advantages of these locations is the availability of inexpensive, high-quality labor and proximity to the Middle East and Western Europe. ■ Nations attempt to overcome their inefficiencies relative to other countries, via modernization, reduction of excess capacity, training, and upgrading human resource skills. 2. Thinking in terms of factor proportions theory, what production factors are most important in the automotive industry? Based on your answer, what countries would appear to possess the most advantages for manufacturing cars? Justify your answer. ■ According to the Factor Proportions Theory, each country should export products that concentrate on its relatively abundant factors of production, and import goods that concentrate on its relatively scarce factors of production. ■ Factors of Production: resources used in the production of goods and services, including natural resources, labor, capital, and technology. ■ To gain a competitive edge, HMC must not only seek out inexpensive labor, it must also source from locations that can supply low-cost input goods (such as engines, tires, and car electronics). 3. As a nation, what competitive advantages does South Korea offer to home-grown automakers such as HMC? What are the specific national competitive advantages that have helped HMC succeed in the global car industry? ■ Competitive advantage- An individual company has a competitive advantage when it possesses one or more sources of distinctive competence relative to others, allowing it to perform better than its competitors. ■ Instead of FDI as in Canada, HMC began exporting to the U.S. market with the Excel as an economical brand at a $4,995 price tag. The car was soon a big success with exports rising to 250,000 units per year. ■ HMC introduced a "10-year warranty" program. ■ HMC built a factory in Turkey in 1997, in India in 2000, (with second plant in 2007), and in China in 2002- main advantages of these locations is the availability of inexpensive, high-quality labor and proximity to the Middle East and Western Europe. ■ Automotive industry labor costs make up only 10 percent of total operational costs. To gain a competitive edge, therefore, HMC must not only seek out cheap labor, it must also source from locations that can supply low-cost input goods...