Automotive

26 Results

 

Pay Attention To Your ‘Extreme Consumers’

Jill Avery and Michael Norton explain what marketers can learn from consumers whose preferences lie outside of the mainstream. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Can We Get To Where We Need To Go?

America's infrastructure woes and how to fix them were front and center at the recent summit, America on the Move: Transportation and Infrastructure for the 21st Century, led by Rosabeth Moss Kanter. Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Management Practices, Relational Contracts, and the Decline of General Motors

What led to General Motors' decline? Long regarded as one of the best managed and most successful firms in the world, its share of the US market fell from 62.6 to 19.8 percent between 1980 and 2009, and in 2009 the firm went bankrupt. The authors argue that the conventional explanations for GM's decline are seriously incomplete. They discuss a number of causes for the firm's difficulties, and make the case that one of the reasons that GM began to struggle was because rival Toyota's practices were rooted in the widespread deployment of effective relational contracts--agreements based on subjective measures of performance that could neither be fully specified beforehand nor verified after the fact and that were thus enforced by the shadow of the future. GM's history, organizational structure, and managerial practices made it very difficult to maintain these kinds of agreements either within the firm or between the firm and its suppliers. The authors also argue that at least two aspects of GM's experience seem common to a wide range of firms. First, past success often led to extended periods of denial: Indeed a pattern of denial following extended success appears to be a worldwide phenomenon. Second, many large American manufacturers had difficulty adopting the bundle of practices pioneered by firms like Toyota. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of this history for efforts to revive American manufacturing. Read More

Status: When and Why It Matters

Status plays a key role in everything from the things we buy to the partnerships we make. Professor Daniel Malter explores when status matters most. Open for comment; 9 Comments posted.

Detroit Files for Bankruptcy: HBS Faculty Weigh In

After a long period of economic decline, the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy protection last week. John Macomber, Robert Pozen, Eric Werker, and Benjamin Kennedy offer their views on some down-the-road scenarios. Closed for comment; 22 Comments posted.

From McRibs to Maseratis: The Power of Scarcity Marketing

In the new book Happy Money: the Science of Smarter Spending, behavioral economists Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton describe how money can buy happiness—but only if we spend it the right way. Closed for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Lessons from Running GM’s OnStar

Before teaching at Harvard Business School, Chet Huber ran the General Motors telematics subsidiary OnStar. Huber discusses how the lessons he learned in the field mesh with the lessons he teaches to students. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

When Business Competition Harms Society

In highly competitive markets, many firms are likely to bend the rules if doing so will keep their customers from leaving for a rival, according to new research by professor Michael W. Toffel and colleagues. Case in point: service stations that cheat on auto emissions testing. Open for comment; 10 Comments posted.

Customer-Driven Misconduct: How Competition Corrupts Business Practices

Competition is typically thought to generate many positive outcomes including lower prices and higher productivity. But competition can also lead firms to increase quality for their customers in ways that are both illegal and socially costly. This paper examines the impact of competition on the vehicle emissions testing market, and finds that firm misconduct increases with competitive pressure and the threat of losing customers to rival firms. These results have serious implications for policy makers and managers. This paper is among the first to empirically demonstrate that increased competition can motivate firms to provide illicit quality to avoid losing business. Read More

Japan Disaster Shakes Up Supply-Chain Strategies

The recent natural disaster in Japan brought to light the fragile nature of the global supply chain. Professor Willy Shih discusses how companies should be thinking about their supply-chain strategy now. Closed for comment; 16 Comments posted.

GM’s IPO: Back to the Future

General Motors reaches a milestone this week as it presents an initial public offering. HBS faculty discuss issues facing the automaker's revival. Read More

Ruthlessly Realistic: How CEOs Must Overcome Denial

Even the best leaders can be in denial—about trouble inside the organization, about onrushing competitors, about changing consumer behavior. Harvard Business School professor Richard S. Tedlow looks at history and discusses how executives can acknowledge and deal with reality. Plus: Book excerpt. Read More

A Golden Opportunity for Ford and GM

With Toyota caught in a downshift, competitors should make aggressive moves to capitalize, says HBS professor Bill George. For starters, they need to improve their auto lineups for the long term. He explains how Ford and GM can best navigate the industry landscape ahead. Read More

Tragedy at Toyota: How Not to Lead in Crisis

"Toyota can only regain its footing by transforming itself from top to bottom to deliver the highest quality automobiles," says HBS professor Bill George of the beleaguered automobile company that in recent months has recalled 8 million vehicles. He offers seven recommendations for restoring consumer confidence in the safety and quality behind the storied brand. Read More

Measuring and Understanding Hierarchy as an Architectural Element in Industry Sectors

In an industry setting, classic supply chains display strict hierarchy, whereas clusters of firms have linkages going in many different directions. Previous theory has often assumed the existence of the hierarchical relationships among firms, and empirical industry studies tend to focus on a single-layer industry, or a two-layer structure comprising buyers and suppliers. And yet, some industries have a multilayer structure with a multistep supply chain. Others comprise a cluster of complementary firms producing different parts of a large system. HBS professor Carliss Y. Baldwin and colleagues use network analysis to study multilayer industries both empirically (in the case of Japan) and theoretically and to explore how industries are organized at the sector level in an attempt to reveal the underlying rules that determine how industry architectures form and change. Read More

Where Cash for Clunkers Ran Off the Road

Marketing professor John Quelch says the federal government's "Cash for Clunkers" program was poorly run and failed to meet its main objectives, proving again the government has no business trying to shape consumer behavior. Join the discussion. Read More

GM: What Went Wrong and What’s Next

For decades, General Motors reigned as the king of automakers. What went wrong? We asked HBS faculty to reflect on the wrong turns and missed opportunities of the former industry leader, and to suggest ideas for recovery. Read More

The Challenges of Investing in Science-Based Innovation

Smart science-based businesses view today's economic turmoil as an opportunity to stoke up research and innovation for long-term competitive advantage, says professor Vicki L. Sato. How about your business? Read More

Finding Success in the Middle of the Market

Let's face it—the middle market isn't sexy. Sears isn't Victoria's Secret. But it can be very profitable to know how to play "midfield" adroitly, says professor and soccer enthusiast John Quelch. Read More

Why Global Brands Work

Japanese automakers create single products and brands for worldwide consumption, while Ford customizes products for local markets. You know who won. Why do global brands work? What makes them work? Professor John Quelch provides some answers. Read More

CEO Succession: The Case at Ford

When Ford Motor Company looked to replace Bill Ford as CEO, it turned not to another auto industry insider but instead to Boeing's Alan Mulally. We talk with Harvard Business School professor Joseph L. Bower to better understand Ford's move and the larger issues of CEO succession. Read More

HBS Cases: Porsche’s Risky Roll on an SUV

Why would any company in the world want to locate in a high-cost, high-wage economy like Germany? Porsche's unusual answer in a globalizing auto industry has framed two case studies by HBS professor Jeffrey Fear and colleague Carin-Isabel Knoop. Read More

American Auto’s Troubled Road

Harvard Business School faculty dissect where U.S. auto makers went wrong, and how they might again get on the road to growth. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

How Toyota Turns Workers Into Problem Solvers

Toyota's reputation for sustaining high product quality is legendary. But the company's methods are not secret. So why can't other carmakers match Toyota's track record? HBS professor Steven Spear says it's all about problem solving. Read More

How One Center of Innovation Lost its Spark

It's no secret that innovation is what has always made places like Silicon Valley and Hollywood so special. Creativity and expertise centered in one location, it seems, spurs yet more innovation at ever increasing speeds. But what happens when the well runs dry? Read More

Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System

How can one production operation be both rigidly scripted and enormously flexible? In this summary of an article from the Harvard Business Review, HBS Professors H. Kent Bowen and Steven Spear disclose the secret to Toyota's production success. The company's operations can be seen as a continuous series of controlled experiments: whenever Toyota defines a specification, it is establishing a hypothesis that is then tested through action. The workers, who have internalized this scientific-method approach, are stimulated to respond to problems as they appear; using data from the strictly defined experiment, they are able to adapt fluidly to changing circumstances. Read More