تنوع محصول در صنعت خودرو: تجزیه و تحلیل های اقتصادی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|28272||2003||53 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||20970 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technovation, Volume 23, Issue 6, June 2003, Pages 461–513
The current tendency towards product differentiation in many areas of manufacturing is generally considered to be a positive phenomenon. What we have attempted to do here is to analyse the real degree of diversification that exists within the vehicles industry (in the case of all those models of cars, scooters and motorcycles for which we managed to find figures) by measuring global performance together with the use of statistical correlation. We have elaborated our figures using the technical specifications and prices available in the (Italian) market. This method enables us to evaluate the actual degree of diversification within the vehicles industry, and to calculate the price/global performance ratio, a real measure of the relationship between the global quality of a product and its price, in order to get a critical understanding of the technical and economic results.
The current trend in a great deal of consumer durable manufacturing is towards an ever-increasing diversification of products, designed to ensure greater market shares. This behaviour, partly dictated by the specific nature of demand in the industrialised world could, be justified from the commercial point of view in terms of the need companies have to gain a secure position in already saturated markets. The majority of consumers in fact give great importance to the choice of a wide range of different products and brands (Pindyck and Rubinfeld, 1996) and, as a consequence, the production of differentiated goods (to a lesser or greater degree) would guarantee a company a predominance over potential rivals, especially with regard to its specific product (Beath and Katsoulacos, 1991). The first important theoretical contributions to the analysis of product differentiation in markets characterised by imperfect competition can be found in the models created by Hotelling (1929) and Chamberlin (1933), which however lead to diametrically opposed conclusions: in the case of Hotelling, the result is the minimum degree of differentiation, while in that of Chamberlin the opposite is true, with maximum differentiation being achieved. Subsequent studies have broadened the conceptual aspects of the question, and led to the formulation of more complete models (Eaton and Lipsey, 1975, Dixit and Stiglitz, 1977 and Salop, 1979). As a result, companies are no longer solely interested in the tried-and-tested marketing strategy of creating an ‘apparent variety’ of goods, but also in looking for new production mixes which tend to constitute a ‘real variety’ of products once again considered to be of central importance within the modified competitive framework (Starr, 1982 and Clark and Wheelwright, 1993). The production of a greater variety of goods, characterised by increased managerial and operational complexity, thus leads to the development of new productive strategies (Perera et al., 1999). It remains to be seen, nevertheless, if and to what degree an increase in the overall level of diversification leads to a reduction in costs for the company (Kikuchi, 1996). The achievement of near technological perfection and the wider use of production procedures and methods, however, have led scholars to believe that the end result of such developments is the generalised standardisation of output which had previously been differentiated to a much greater degree. The consequent higher levels of overall productivity, constituting a considerable saving in terms of resources, and thus enabling further investment programmes to be got underway, would therefore seem to lead to both the creation of new products and other technologies (Abernathy and Utterback, 1975, Abernathy and Utterback, 1978, Sahal, 1981 and Metcalfe and Gibbons, 1989).
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
As we can see from the above examples, this method enables us to conduct a detailed technical and economic analysis of these two sectors. As we have repeatedly mentioned, however, there is clearly an interpretative limitation to this approach, which we have constantly taken into account here. This limitation consists in the availability of figures for product specifications, which in some cases are either sadly lacking or need to be bolstered and more widely employed. Our study has been guided by the conviction that we can demonstrate the applicability of such a method (re-enforced by the correlation analysis of data) not only at the theoretical level, but also at the assessment and decision-making levels. The use of figures pertaining to the Italian market may well prevent us for drawing more wide-reaching conclusions, but it does not, nonetheless, detract from their illustrative validity. Besides which, given the considerable difficulty encountered in obtaining technical data and prices, it was hardly possible to extend our study to other Countries. Should such detailed figures for other countries be made available, then our analysis of product diversification could take on a more clearly defined, substantial shape, and could prove capable of identifying global trends within the whole industry as a whole (which would probably be very similar to those seen in the Italian case). The result that appears to emerge is the increased capacity of manufacturers (perceived as part of one large industrial system) to ‘lead’ the market, since the other party, the consumers, are generally called upon to economically support this diversification of production. Industry’s considerable efforts to increase its own levels of flexibility regarding specific product characteristics (Lei et al., 1996), from the end of the 1980s onwards, have led to the emergence of a consistent degree of diversification among those models produced by the same manufacturer (and in particular, between bottom-range and top-range products). This has been highlighted in the case of the car industry in particular by Mertens and Ginsburg (1985). New management models, involving the use of just-in-time procedures and the standardisation of the better-known components—together with changes in the structure of company costs (with a reduction in the weight of labour costs and a rise in that of indirect costs) constitute the main causes of the compensatory effect between diverse products. This feature emerges in two ways, as a result of increasingly complex management and operations: 1. by burdening high-volume products with increased indirect costs (as a result of increasingly complex management); 2. by making lower volume, highly complex products appear more economically convenient. As a result, companies discover that they have to understand whether the advantage resulting from variety, obtained by means of the adoption of diverse productive and technological strategies, exceeds the cost of the complexity involved (Perera et al., 1999, Malagoli and Andretta, 2001 and Pfaffmann and Stephan, 2001). However, this diversification is much more limited than at first would seem to be the case judging by the information furnished by the manufacturers themselves concerning those models covering adjacent market segments, and is in fact virtually non-existent when it comes to different versions of the same model. Nevertheless, the market prices of different products rarely corresponds to their real quality (measured in terms of properties/features), but on the contrary, tend to be much higher than quality would tend to suggest, both in the case of different versions of the same model and that of different models altogether.