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Paper info: Dedicated relationships between automotive suppliers and car constructors. Testing the Flagship / 5 Partners model

Title


Dedicated relationships between automotive suppliers and car constructors. Testing the Flagship / 5 Partners model

Authors


Dr. Bartholomeus P. G. Kamp

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 21st IMP-conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2005.

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Abstract


The Flagship / 5 Partners model (hereafter: F/5P model) claims that key suppliers arededicated exclusively to flagship firms and that flagship firms work on an exclusive basis withkey suppliers tied into their flagship-specific networks. As the F/5P model as a conceptualframework is partly rooted in empirical analyses of the automotive industry, it is an interestingchallenge to test its external validity i.e. on the European car industry. At the same time, itseems relevant to test its claim of exclusive buyer-supplier relationships as there are alsoscholars that refer to the existence of industry-wide suppliers and the fact that buyer firmsstrive to avoid lock-ins into and dependence upon specific supplier relationships. Confrontedwith these antitheses, this paper presents a test of the exclusivity presumptions of the F/5Pmodel based on a survey of buyer-supplier relationships in the automotive sector.Based on a sample of 32 car models the buyer-supplier relationships for a specific set ofautomotive components are analyzed.Results show that industry-wide client bases on behalf of suppliers and multiple sourcingrelationships on behalf of car constructors are a stronger empirical reality than exclusiveflagship firm-key supplier relationships. Outcomes also indicate that previously in-house partsof car constructors that came to stand on their own feet have successfully succeeded inestablishing client relationships with third party car constructors.Key words: buyer-supplier relationships, outsourcing, automotive industry.