Innovation and growth in the UK vehicle customisation industry

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The evolution of the automotive industry has two great moments that can be considered watershed in its history. A detailed explanation of this industry in terms of globalised phenomenon is also given in this research. The use of secondary sources has been used for the explanation of concepts in customised vehicle industry. The limited number of literature was available in this area how the research has highlighted some in depth explanation of the overall vehicle industry’s innovative aspects. Therefore survey was conducted to analyse the perception of people regarding customisation of their vehicles.

Key words: Vehicle, innovation, automation, UK, customisation

Chapter One: Introduction


Customers have been able to modify earlier but this was limited to the high-end market. Waiting phases for delivery were lengthy, resulting in discontented customers. The producers have to be agile enough to build cars and distribute them at short notice. Thus, the idea of quick response time and quick delivery of products came into being (European Commission, 2007). The concept of build to order, which deducts the inventory by more than half, is an objective that most producers would like to attain; however, the prizes surely are not easy to attain. An overhaul of the production processes would be a need to achieve the status that computer companies like Dell or Gateway have achieved on the field of Internet-based modification. Compounding the problems are non-producing problems that include the stress of local dealers, the lack of openness of the supply chain to short time demands and the abstracted product cycles. The ensuing topics give a perception into some of the usual issues that the automobile industry confronts that shows that there are hurdles in the way of internet based business (European Commission, 2007).

The UK auto industry has distorted itself in the last decade from a sector with stormy labour relationships and a deprived standing for excellence and output to one that is fully modest. Independent exterior dependability surveys put UK manufactured cars at the top of the positions, and output and work dealings are amongst the best in the world (OECD, 2008). Awaiting the effect of the worldwide financial disaster, the manufacturing was lucrative and self‐supporting in Europe and in the UK. This research presents a detailed analysis of how innovation has helped the customised vehicle industry grow in UK and defines perception of people regarding the customisation of vehicles (OECD, 2008).

Research Aim

The aim of this research is to analyse the innovation and growth in the UK vehicle customisation industry while conducting a survey on how consumers perceive customisation of vehicles.

The research focuses on answering the following objectives:

  • To develop an understanding of the automation industry worldwide
  • To examine the recent trends and dynamics of vehicle industry
  • To observe the role of innovation in vehicle customisation
  • To analyse the innovation and growth in the UK vehicle customisation industry while conducting a survey on the perception of people in customising their vehicles.


Internationally, the industrial sector in general; and in particular, the sector automotive and auto parts, since the seventies has experienced deep process and accelerated evolution, which has impacted so important in the global economy, especially in the countries development (Utterback, 2003). Among the main features observed worldwide, highlights the increasing globalization of economic activities on expansion flow of international trade; the opening of financial markets; and increased technology transfer in parallel with a strong increasing trend towards “transnationalization” of economic agents (Utterback, 2003).The large assembly companies such as Daimler Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Volkswagen and others, also known as Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) have raised their supply strategies to achieve lower production costs globally. From the perspective of global production, this group of companies has brought it new models of logistic articulation of production, which have allowed controlling the degree of dependence and independence in a context of horizontal integration with each member of the production system highly fragmented (Utterback, 2003).

Justification of Research

Technology and contemporary organization performance have distorted the shop floor setting, and product skill holds frivolous materials, wounding edge project examination and imagining tools and the wide use of combined electric systems to spread digital switch to most purposes of the car. But all is not as rosy as this picture paints, and the UK industry has fragilities and faces significant challenges (Steedman, McIntosh and Green, 2004).


The level of innovation and competitiveness of automobile manufacturers is determined by the relationship and interdependence of its portfolio of essential shared skills with its network of suppliers that are strategic, technological, personal and organizational nature that are the foundation that determines the architecture of the structure-strategy-innovation (Sperling and Gordon, 2009). These skills are concentrated not scattered, and give rise to a core of generating skills innovation. Part of competitive advantages achieved by these manufacturers, arise from the evolution of these dynamic skills adapted to the changing environment influences getting the best opportunities from that relationship (structure-strategy) that maintain the industrial fabric formed, mainly by the network providers. It is clear that knowledge is the true core competence automakers, and competitive advantage is manifested clearly in control exercised by the manufacturers on the level of subcontracting that maintain with suppliers (Sperling and Gordon, 2009).

Chapter Two: Literature Review

2.1. Introduction

The global automotive industry continues and exciting rate and come across with the astounding challenges and opportunities faced by the motor industry. However to meet the challenges and task the awards are launched by SMMT that is ‘award for automotive innovation’. These awards were given to raise the spirits and to distinguish the innovation, concepts and new development and expertise that can enhance the appearance of the UK automotive industry (Pil and Holweg, 2004).

Automotive industry made advancement from the concept of three- point seat belt to the air bag and electronic stability control. This industry is now become a persistent producer and modernizer of new techniques and products for the sake of harmless motoring. Europe is the largest investor of automotive sector and they mostly invest in research and development and invest about 20 billion per year and make this industry developed and more supportable for the upcoming vehicle for 21st century (Pil and Holweg, 2004). In the words of Pil and Holweg (2004) it is observed that as he result of fragmentation of production, automatically causes an intensive process of “outsourcing” (outsourcing), intensifying creating business networks through integrated supply chains. In the automotive sector in particular, the new schemes of articulation logistics require that every link in the chain operates on the basis of a homogeneous system of production, subject to uniform specifications and using parts and intermediate inputs purchased anywhere in the world. In this sense, availability of components in the automotive site assembly, supply management, and control of inventories acquired paramount importance (Whisler, 1999).

In order to modernize and transform the transport system this industry is engaged in wide variety of work and techniques which will make the roads harmless for drivers and permit the advance flow of traffic (Jetin, 2003).

Intelligent Transport System

To make road safer they introduced Intelligent Transport System (ITS) this new innovation provide a communication between vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to applying these techniques and system road accident, harmful emissions and the problems of overcrowding also diminish (Jetin, 2003).

Nowadays ITS have been used in management of urban and motorway traffic and their control system, in route navigation system and in electronic toll collection systems. In UK, annovITS provide the direction to research and development and give the single platform to discuss and think altogether (Jetin, 2003).

In order to advance the safety of roads Intelligent Speed Adaption (ISA) system is introduced. This new technology apprised the driver to limit the speed according to the road on which they travelled and automatically reduce the speed of the vehicle (McAlinden et al 2003).

This industry introduce the another system that is E-call, which automatically alerts the emergency services of the accident site and this system is  extensively used in other countries as well. However to improve the safety of the vehicle Driver Assistance System is introduced which is somehow similar to Electronic Stability Control and Emergency Brake Assist, these system perform automatic function which didn’t interact with driver.By the continuous co-ordination and hard work between all investor these systems are implemented in vehicles (McAlinden et al 2003).

Anthony Baxendale, manager of advanced technologies and research, MIRA. He is the Chartered Engineer and graduated from Imperial College, Heriot Watt University and Henley Management College. He is responsible for research programmes that are focused on low carbon and intelligent mobility technologies. He was formerly a director of innovITS, the UK National Centre of Excellence in Telematics and he is also the chairman of the European Car Aerodynamics Research Association (McAlinden et al 2003).

2.2. Innovation in the automotive industry

Automotive industry shows outstanding records in innovation and technologies. They invest 4% (20 billion) in research and development (R&D), they are the largest investor in R&D in EU and one-fifth of Europe private expenditure are covered by this industry and their investment results are very much cleared. In car productions remarkable revolutions are made in 20th century with the overview of assembly line which than transform into modular platform and then robots are also seen. Historic improvements were made in functions and designing of vehicle which provide ease, safety, consistency along with less costs. From 20th to 21st century innovation has increasingly show advancement in environmental and social changes (Oxford Economic Forecasting, 2006).

European Commission (EC) plays an important role in innovation in the automotive industry. By the time of 1993, European Emission Standards was introduced to control vehicle exhaust emission. But in 2014 this industry adopts 6 generation of these standards (EURO6), and this trend was being strictly followed. Set up of these trends and standards reduce the exhaust emission of vehicles. Thought the concern about the global warming and environmental effects this will put in to mind to produce such vehicles which emit less carbon (Oxford Economic Forecasting, 2006).

From the previous studies it shows that transport running on road are 20% responsible for the emission of CO2.  European Union Commission figure out that 12% of this percentage was contributed by passenger cars. Regardless of the fact, industries contribute to develop cars that emit less CO2 but still this emission increased due to the increasing numbers of cars on the roads more journeys carried out. In European Commission transport is the major sector where CO2 still rising and become a major problem. So government again strictly involved meeting the targets and reducing the CO2 emissions and in 2007 they setup a new legal framework for CO2 emissions. This has created the further pressure on automotive industry in order to stay in business (Oxford Economic Forecasting, 2006).

European Union plays a main role in promotion close relation between car companies and their supplier and also involve in competitive strategic research (Oxford Economic Forecasting, 2006). They also have concerned of public funds and also create logical and dynamic strategies to plan for transportation, research and innovation. To creating and achieve the task many investors from across the different European cultures this give a good management. European citizen should proud of this organization. To achieve the goal various organizations was set up which includes EUCAR, ERTICO, EARPA, CLEPA and various others. All of these organizations have different unbiased objectives that are mainly attentive to meet up the levels and demands not only on public level but also on private level (Oxford Economic Forecasting, 2006).

Framework 7 will soon be coming as a latest European Union Framework program for research and innovation. This programmed has collaboration with research and development projects in transport since 2007 and is funded about €4billion. Anthony Baxendale own company taking active part in it and achieved benefit in exporting capabilities in global markets (Technology And Innovation 2015).

From such outcomes society also get advantage of it. Many of the technologies and development were made to reduce accidents and save life during winters. Such innovation includes stability control and ABS. However other skills and technologies include SAFESPOT. In this technology cars able to share information on road conditions, alerting others drivers as well those who drive recklessly approach hazards such as black ice. In present strictness government struggled to put on European research and development and the next EU framework program for research and technologies (horizon 2020) shudders off in 2014  (Technology And Innovation 2015).

European legal frameworks strength improvement and collaboration substitute by research and development funded programs for goods. They are responsible for the progress to made harmless, greener and innovative technologies and became world leading car industry. These techniques and innovation are not just for existing issues but also to meet the eco-friendly environment. This doings also enhance our economy by spreading such capabilities to global markets. EU funding frequently in for condemnation but on the contrary this play a key role in achievements and invest public money to prevent losses and secure future of EU automotive industry and extensive transport through inventions and new technologies (Utterback, 2003).

2.3. Interdependent industry

Due to fluctuating customer trends, the big car manufacturers are not able to stay on top of customers’ tastes, so there aren’t the ones who are making a lot of income in this area. The typical manufacturer is a small business that is best suited to stay on top of the trends and tastes of the consumer. But in spite of being profitable, the industry has not been resistant from the financial downturn (Utterback, 2003).

And because of the interdependency of the industry, the economy has had a domino effect on different businesses that are associated together.  They were hit hard when the economy downturned as most of the products we offer are not necessary items and are discretionary income. Because they build most of their products in the United States, the downturn has not only affected us, but our local suppliers as well. The good news was that they did not need to import large quantities of products from overseas which allow us to keep our inventories in line (OECD 2008).

Prais (2001) believes that modifying has three categories:

The “Younger crowd”, who have bought a used car or truck and desires to individualize them, might go on to buy several accessories at once if they have some additional money.

Secondly, the “over-50 crowd” who can now meet the expense of the car they have always desired and want to do different things to make their car look rare. That purchaser might go to a dealership and order a car with the products already installed, or leave the dealership and instantly want to accessorize the car.

And the third category is people who desire to have products that can make their car safe and roadworthy.

Prais states that over the last few years, he has seen a renaissance in older cars being accessorized as consumers desire to keep their vehicle for longer instead of buying new one. As for George Barris, now in the 80s, his compelling love of styling cars is still predominant to all who meet him.  And just like the modifying industry, George shows no signs of slowing anytime soon.

Custom vehicles are considerably modified vehicles and these are modified accordingly Vehicles are customized either for better performance or for styling statements. The change in the shaping of car has been done from many years to up till now. Basically old cars and vehicles are customized nowadays. Supplementary carburetors, high compression heads and dual exhausts were adding for instance modification of the vehicle. Swapping of engines has also done in light body vehicle. People customized their vehicle by painting its body with funky colours which was attracted by the people  (OECD 2008).

Customization of vehicle came in to existence when people are getting bored of theirs routine vehicle and this can be done by exchanging headlamp rings, bumpers, grilles, tail lights and chrome side strips in addition with excavation of head and tail light. Basically vehicle bodies were changed by cutting, welding, removing bits in order to give new shape and smoothness to the cars (lead has been replaced by Bondo) (Sperling and Gordon, 2009).

There are the three ways by which the industries reshaped the old cars into new that are

  • Sectioning
  • Channelling
  • Chopping

By means of chopping roof become lower, sectioning made the body thinner from top to bottom and channelling cuts the notches so that the body touches the frame to lower the whole body.

If we talk about the customization styling different themes are present like rat rods, street rods and in modern style. In rat rod imitate the car like 50s, 60s, 70s, while in street rods shaping the car in American styling with heavy engines like the cars in 30s, 40s. Modern styling can be done to make the car attractive (Custom cars 2015).

Automotive industry is the wider range of companies and organization that are involved in the designing, manufacturing, repairing and selling of vehicles. It is the most revenue sector of economy. This industry has been enjoying strong growth and is quite profitable. From the initial level, three influential forces are roiling the auto industry these are (Sperling and Gordon, 2009):

  • Alteration in consumer demand.
  • Increase regulatory requirements for safety and fuel economy.
  • Enhance the availability of data and information.

2.4. How UK Automotive Company Works?

In the last decade, raging labour relations and poor reputation for quality and productivity UK industry has transformed itself. Now UK built vehicle that are top rank and show productivity and the labour relations are among the best in the world. This industry was profitable and self-sustaining in Europe and in UK (Leitch, 2006).

Modern management and technologies including cutting edge design analysis, lightweight materials, integrated use of electronic systems, digital control functions in their vehicles. Besides these advancements and technologies UK automotive industry faced substantial challenges.

In order to achieve highly integrated industrial system they provide exceptional values and convenience to consumer worldwide by global trade, sophisticated system, integration skills, and massive scale and by efficient logistics (Leitch, 2006).

Technological progress has seen dramatic improvement by providing,

  • Vehicle safety
  • Environment impact
  • Fuel economy
  • Performance and comfort
  • Versatility
  • Providing and offering model variety

UK has benefited from significant investments by many of the world’s major vehicle manufacturers including BMW Group, Ford, Vauxhall, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan and Toyota in the recent years. This confirms to the global nature and vitality of this sector.

The global output of UK industry is 2.4% with respect to numbers of vehicles, producing 1,649,515 in 2008 and got the 12th rank in Global Output League. Within Europe UK has persisted in 4th position throughout since 2000 (Holweg et al., 2009). Premium and sports car are best known for UK automotive industry these cars include Aston Martin, Bentley, Daimler, Jaguar, Lagonda, Land Rover, Lotus, McLaren, MG, Mini, Morgan and Rolls-Royce. Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Vauxhall Motors consider as volume car manufacturers in UK. Commercial vehicle manufacturers in UK include Alexander Dennis, Ford, and GMM Luton (Automotive industry in the United Kingdom, 2015). This recent success of the automotive sector has been significant in the UK’s recovery Automotive accounts for 10% of the UK’s trade in goods, suppliers add £4.8 billion in added value and the sector as a whole turned over £60.5 billion last year.

2.5. Challenges and Opportunities

For this sector there are number of challenges and opportunities came across, for achieving the demands the sector focusing on 4 keys strategy which includes:

  • Innovation and technologies
  • Supply chain
  • Skills
  • Environment

2.6. Recent Trends

The automotive sector has become one of the most dynamic industries it was modern, and its fundamental importance lies in the social and economic impact it causes. For this reason it is of particular interest to know the current state and recent trends of this industry. To this end, this chapter takes An analysis of developments in the automotive sector by examining its dynamics and market factors that have made this sector change; identifying the while the strategies used by builders to meet the new needs (Whisler,. 1999).

2.7. Dynamics of international markets

During the last ten years, the automotive sector has undergone a profound transformation that led to the great assembly companies to provide directly shrinking share of value added to the process manufacture of automotive vehicles. Thus, according to German newspaper Handelsbaltt, 1995 while contributing 40%, currently do 25%. This transformation has introduced the automotive sector in a very dynamic high competitiveness, affected by various factors. For example, Veloso and Kumar (2002) indicate that one of the main competitive factors is the pattern presents the demand for new cars.

State that in some the triad regions (Western Europe, Japan and the United States), since more than a decade automobile assemblers face a market Mature with stagnant demand, which proliferate and diversify the products with a price level rather limited due to competition. According to statistics from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, from 1995 to 2005, demand for new cars is growing in average less than 1.0% per annum; Veloso and Kumar (2002) predict that this trend is likely to continue. At the same time, assert that this position is particularly sensitive in the markets of the United States, where the number new cars sold, has almost reduced. Veloso and Kumar (2002) indicate that during the past two decades, they have lost more than 20% of the domestic market with the Japanese and Korean companies. They argue that in Europe experienced a similar trend, although to a lesser extent due to strict regulations on the participation of Japanese assemblers in region.

Above, it has also been reflected in the global participation production. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 1961 the United States produced 48% of vehicles worldwide; four decades later (2004), its share fell to 10%. Japan, for its hand, increased its share from 2 to 20% over the same period (see Table 1). Countries like Spain, Brazil, South Korea and China during this period seems to have captured the losses shown by the United States, achieving rates ever larger participation. This table can be seen market restructuring that distinguishes winner’s countries and losers. In particular, the case of Mexico can be considered a country loser because its plant has not been able to take advantage compare and lost ground against the competitive advantages developed in other countries. Compare against Spain, Brazil, and of course, China. Furthermore, their percentage share in world production could be considered very low, given the size of its economy and market.

Country 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Losers countries
USA 48.5% 32.5% 22.8% 15.4% 12.2% 9.9%
United Kingdom 8.8% 6.6% 3.5% 3.5% 3.7% 3.8%
Italy 6.1% 6.4% 4.6% 4.6% 3.2% 1.9%
Germany 15.8% 14.5% 13.7% 13.3% 13.2% 12.1%
France 8.7% 10.2% 9.5% 9.0% 7.9% 6.8%
Mexico Ne 0.6% 1.3% 2.0% 2.5% 1.8%

From Auto Report 2004 report of the International Metalworkers’ Federation, it has been observed that car sales outside the triad have exceeded 16 million vehicles in 2012, representing about 26% of all new sales worldwide, with a growth rate annual average of 3.8%. Before, Veloso and Kumar (2002) had already held that by 2010 this share has risen to 40%. E.g. 2009 the average annual car sales in the US was 20 million units, reducing their number to just over 15 million vehicles in 2008. The pattern followed these figures shows a contrast very important to the United States with respect to the Asia-Pacific region, which has an average annual growth of around 7%.

2.8. Market factors which have revolutionized

There are many factors that influence decision making in the world of car. The consumer preferences determine the type, reliability, and operation thereof. Strategies government on foreign trade, security, and legal framework environment establish the requirements for modernization and change design of production systems for automobiles. The rivalry, competitiveness and strategies of the auto companies contribute equally to the research, design, innovation and change in the manufacturing processes. On the side of the consumer preference, Veloso and Kumar (2002), report that in emerging markets, the characteristics of a social nature, the government tax structure, and level of income inhabitants, also generates various requirements in cars.

By example, the selection of vehicles in China and Thailand are economic, small “pick up” and van; Malaysia, the minivans are the most sold; in Brazil is the leading 1000cc car; in UK, small and medium are most preferred, in contrast to the United States seeking luxury and great, but with high performance cars. In a study about ten years ago on the industry Automotive in North America, it was predicted that the markets would be more heterogeneous in the coming decades because assemblers expect an increase in custom cars; and also identified that sales to consumers of female and ethnic groups minority would increase, aspects that have been confirmed. In that study concluded that the vehicle function and style reflect the preferences consumers; therefore, the automobile industry to be more aggressive capitalize on sales opportunities offered by these demands. With the time, the set of all these new paradigms fell to a new model production called mass customization (Mass Customization) (Prais, 2001).

By the arguments mentioned, it can be seen that the need to respond to increased expectations of consumers located in a higher number of markets, generates a proliferation of segments and models. Just in advertisements can be noted that the large number of vehicle models on the market, has practically multiplied; also a large number of custom features are added to the different models; for example, power, cruise, internal controls automated, Internet and GPS, hybrid vehicles with manual traction and automatic, etc.

With respect to government regulations, they also have played a role in the design of vehicles, especially in aspects related to safety from a legal and regulatory inflexible administrative. This has motivated the design of certain devices special safety features such as seat belts and airbags systems against shock (airbags) (Holweg, 2005). In addition to requiring high quality design braking system (Winfield et al 2014). Another area where the government has been very active is associated with damage to environment. The laws issued by various governments, are focused on the controlling pollutant emissions and noise. Devices like the catalytic converter are a clear example of the new automobile components requiring.

Of course, another factor that determines the course of the industry is the technology. Historically, the main force behind the instrumentation technology has been based on the demands of consumers to improve the performance and reliability of the units. In recent years, technological improvements have been directed towards areas such as: security; reduced environmental impact; and further, to not relate to vehicle operation characteristics, such as systems -stereo and navigation aids (European Commission, 2007).

Some assemblers, recently used technology innovation as a strategy for increase the market penetration of certain models in particular. By example, the launch of hybrid vehicles today is already a result of these technologies. The relationships between market and technology are closely linked affecting the evolution of the automobile. Recently certain brands, have advanced Internet applications that allows them, among other luxuries: communication “hands free” with support for the latest technologies speech recognition and text to speech technologies; distraction control conductor, which prevents access to certain applications and features when the vehicle is in motion; high quality graphic maps, etc. (European Commission, 2007).

New technologies are present at all levels of automotive manufacturing. The demands for improved vehicle performance improve safety and reduce environmental impact, leading to numerous developments in the structural areas (Holweg and Pil, 2004). The original structure of manufacturing mass of the eighties, change to a system based on a spatial framework system and a compound modular design. Electronic systems have also been implemented in the configuration of engine and the traction force: play a crucial role in controlling the operation of this system. In general, automobiles have become more dependent electronic and less than mechanic (Blinder, 2005). A multitude of systems electrical, electronic sensors and devices that activate been “seized” control and monitoring of its operation; also systems electronics are used to solve problems and to diagnose your operation; control the navigation system; and provide entertainment units (European Commission, 2004).

A current vehicle has twice the electronic functions you made ten years ago; this feature contributes 40% of the total cost of the unit, which involves electrical systems and software design; in a way, what mail is the least automated design discipline in the automotive sector. The rivalry, competitiveness and strategies for automotive companies contribute equally in the research, design, innovation and change manufacturing processes, leading to a major paradigm shift traditional. Jetin (2003), illustrates how the shift from the paradigm of mass production model flexible networks, has become the criteria management in all fields, from selection and product design, through organizational structures, to nodes operating and relationships with staff.

2.9. Strategies for car assemblers

To respond to new market trends and demand, automobile assemblers are having a set of strategies that are common among the majors. Hope, (2006), identifies five strategies employed: a) adoption of a global perspective in the activities manufacturing; b) internal growth strategies or through alliances, mergers and acquisitions; c) participation in higher levels of the production chain, such as financial services; d) adoption of platforms and modular production systems; e) outsourcing of production processes necessary for the manufacture of automobiles, which change the relationship between assemblers and suppliers  (Harris & Anderson, 2014).

  • The first strategy is adopting a global perspective in their operations. In the eighties, despite the foreign presence, competition among auto assemblers presented within regions.

US companies dominate the market US, Japanese Asian and European market their own regional market. During the nineties, this structure change completely. An increasing transfer of plants at the beginning of the nineties has caused an increased presence of foreign competition in almost all around the world (Automotive Innovation and Growth Team, 2002). This approach has become particularly important in emerging markets, where all automakers are fiercely disputed shared and growing markets. How Come result, assemblers plan operations globally. With new investment firms try to repeat the structure of the supply chain, suing suppliers that are present in the new regions where they are located (McAlinden, Hill & Swiecki, 2003).

  • The second strategy refers to assemblers seeking to acquire capabilities through alliances, mergers and acquisitions concentrate horizontally industry (Daimler-Chrysler-Mitsubishi, Nissan, Dacia and Samsung-Renault); acquire other skills through growth and internal learning (Honda, Toyota and SEAT, Skodo, Audi). Maynard (2003) notes that such alliances or mergers must overcome not only technical and design related aspects, but management staff and operational aspects should learn to interact having different cultural backgrounds; and sometimes in multicultural environments. Quote for example the coordination skills and competencies of this type, is the production of Renault cars in Nissan assembly lines in UK where French staff has had to adapt to the organizational culture Japanese as well as the environment and UK culture.
  • On the other hand, automotive assemblers have organized production vehicle platforms around 2 and modular production systems. Indeed, it can be said that this type of strategy is one of the concepts more relevant to this sector (McAlinden, Hill & Swiecki, 2003).

The emergence of these platforms is mainly search economies of scale in design and manufacturing, through reducing preparation costs, in order to cope with conditions competition in a market that increasingly demand higher quality products, with shorter life cycles, and having a very diversified demand. Under these circumstances, current assemblers have become capable carrying out the development of new solutions quickly and low cost, over a large part of the car in order to meet the requirements of multiple tastes and preferences of consumers in the world, responding to legal system and the requirements of customers (Oxford Economic Forecasting, 2006).

  • As regards the strategy process outsourcing production, necessary for the manufacture of automobiles that combine relationships between assemblers and suppliers, has established a model identified as generic modular. In this production process, the car is divided into several modules, each supplier is responsible for design, innovate, produce and place in your module assembly line. The increase in external supply of modules and components industry auto parts requires companies to expand their product lines; and means move towards the design and manufacture of other parts (Leitch, 2006). Lear Corporation initiated the supplying car seat, and it has covered all the interiors. The expansion of its activities realizes the increase heterogeneity and the number of products made by these company products, example: seat assembly of harnesses; mats; Interior appointments; and electrical-electronic devices until the whole of the interior (Leitch, 2006).
  • Finally, we have designed strategies that seek a better assistance sales, customer service, and maintenance. These concepts have been become key elements of the brand to the customer (Utterback, 1994). In particular, financing systems allow companies to increase sales, especially for distributors and auto parts firms; the latter is reflected in a significant increase in profits; for distributors related to service units; and auto parts companies with greater participation in the supply of original parts and spare parts. In short, there are different alternatives for cooperation between sectors of a same productive branch into an integration process (Jones and Prais, 1978).

The dismantling barriers to mutual trade favour the exchange of final goods or services of the same production complex. For motor vehicles is a case in point, where each country participant specializes in certain models sold in the market domestically and regionally, and eventually the rest of the world; and imports other units finished from the partner country. This way exploits economies scale that arises from specialization (Prais & Bierhoff, 1993). Clearly, the supply of raw materials to modular systems through components and parts, allows observing the formation of a chain consisting of a set of interrelated and coordinated companies, not necessarily located in one place, which results in the formation of international supply chains. In order to know more latter detail in chapter then describes the elements operating that characterize these chains (Dunnett, 1980).

2.10. UK Automotive Snapshot

UK automotive industry is largest industry and provides great number of employment for more 700,000 people in UK. This industry contributes 4% of GDP that is about £60.5 billion. In 2013 UK produced around 1.6 million cars and viable vehicles and around 2.6 million engines as well. UK is considered as a second largest vehicle market and fourth largest manufacturer of automobiles in the European Union. After Germany UK is the second largest manufacturer of premium vehicle. If we considered the figures about 77% of vehicle were exported and approximately about £20,600 while imported vehicles was about £13,000 imported which means that £70 million net trade held in 2013. Automotive sector consider as the largest sector of UK and accounts for 10% of UK exports in goods. Yield has risen with average gross value (GVA) added per job estimate an average of £40,000 in the late 1990s and now become an average of £75,000 from 2010 and 2013. UK became the most fruitful automotive sector in the EU in terms of GVA per job according to Eurostat data (Maynard, 2003).

In UK automotive sector there are about 2,350 companies in operating this sector. Majority of them were engaged in supply chain and marketing. UK assistance from a varied luxury, premium, volume and manufacturers and supplier of commercial vehicle and it is the home to eight F1 teams. UK reflects the fourth largest global manufacturers of goods and construction apparatus including highway vehicles approximately manufacturing about 60,000 units per year. In the last three years many of the companies invest UK about £6 billion. Vehicles and engines that are manufacturing in UK obtain national and worldwide acknowledgement for their extraordinary quality.

Some recent examples include (Maynard, 2003):

  • Range rover: within three months of initiation manufacturing it receive 10 awards while Evoque has won 22 international awards.
  • Nissan Qashqai: globally it secured 13 awards.
  • Mini: it is awarded supermini by 12th successive year at the Business Car Awards 2014.
  • McLaren: in Middle East motor awards 2013 it is the winner as Best Super Car.
  • Nissan LEAF: it is consider as a European and World of the year 2011 together with 2012 Japan car of the year.
  • Ford EcoBoost engine: it is awarded as international engine of the year 2012 and 2013 and also SMMT award for Automotive Innovation 2013.

The investments were made for new cars by cars manufacturer mainly for sale to the EU market these investments are now being surveyed by the suppliers. These investments are not only to enhance car production. According to automotive council in 2012 UK supplies £3.3 billion to supply chain and KPMG estimates that this amount will reach to £9 billion. This figure shows the advance in the growth of the employment and investment as well. As EU is the most important trading partner UK should enhance the development of automotive industry (Jones et al 2015).

From the above facts and figure it is proved that UK automotive industry get success and it also expand. The productivity of the car reach to its highest levels from the time of recession they export 81% of total vehicles to worldwide (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Motor Industry Facts, February 2013)

In the era of global automotive groups UK automotive industry has made an effective change and this is the significant location for supplying vehicles into the rest of the European Union and elsewhere to meet the productivity challenges and match with world leaders. Nevertheless UK considers not just a manufacturer for the global automotive industry but it also adopt in corporate research and development and academia collaboration of industry. Automotive groups like Nissan, Toyota and Honda have research and development centre in UK. Nowadays China and India companies create their setup in UK for the expertise and excellence as UK represents (Jones et al 2015).

Due to the best track records of UK companies many groups of companies from worldwide are came to UK advancement and innovation. UK support engineering in research and development and education. According to Lord Drayson FREng, who was the founder of science minister turned motorsport entrepreneur and advocate of electric vehicle done new invention had a partnerships with those in the IT and Pharmaceuticals industries this new invention reassure the presence of small and under develop companies and are porous to new technologies from outside. Such kind of open innovation of ecosystem is mainly responsible for development of electric vehicle, he has faith in the invention and the development of low carbon electric vehicle got the promotion and advancement in the science and technology (Holweg, Davies, Podpolny, 2009).

2.11.  Industry-academia research collaboration

According Sir James Dyson Freng and Dr Hermann Hauser Freng who are the engineer and inventor recognized that the infrastructure of innovation in UK which gave an effect that engineering of UK is good in production and invention from where the economy of UK has increased. From these reporting the main these were achieve that is main idea of technology readiness levels (TRLSs). From these criteria many of the department of US government and other industries check the proportion of maturity of technologies on the basis of their vigilance for market. According to these inventor reports research in universities of UK was tremendous at TRLs on the other hand science along with engineering and technologies develop an innovative idea. However system of UK was not there for many areas in the middle of the scale (TRLs four to six) in which the skills and expertise are developed and verified before came in to markets for moneymaking purpose (TRLs seven to nine) (Hirsh, Kakkar, Singh, Wilk, 2015).

Governments have pursued a successive supporting setup for advancement and modernization of new structures. Precisely in Hauser report there was an endorsement for the improvement of term ‘technology and innovation centre’, according to that new organization was built on academic research to coordinate with various projects. ‘Catapult’ centres are now in progress. In these centres automotive research and automotive companies are involved along with a transport system catapult which involves automotive companies and other transport system (Technology Strategy Board, June 2012). Apart from this networking system research council creates centre of excellence in which various universities are work along. Tax administration also encourage the UK inventions and developments along with patent box text relief scheme that offered lower tax rates on profits made by original ideas and thoughts (Hirsh, Kakkar, Singh, Wilk, 2015).

2.12.  Race cars and road cars

Automotive industry gave a list of invention which includes Aerodynamics, braking systems, lightweight materials. But from the past 10 to 20 years two industries in UK followed comparatively discrete tracks but both are very strong. Many efforts have made to align these tracks through technology roadmap. Adequacy of high cost and number of sectors made difference between them. Single vehicle where money and time have no issue makes it different from production vehicle (Harris, & Anderson, 2014). Dick Glover, McLaren Automotive Research Director introduced Formula One in 1980s that stated as carbon fibre as a structural material.  Still more than 20 years cars which used structure carbon fibre have been limited and there number of production was around 2000 which means that constituents became reduced to tenfold but it’s good enough for volume production (Holweg, 2008). Formula one along with carbon fibre and active suspension brought some promising uses that that now being present in a supercar which includes McLaren 12C and the BMW’s i3 electric vehicle, to be introduced later this year that features as horizontal split variant of the Life Drive concept.

This life drive module provides life cell foundation which provides somewhere to stay large batteries. The automotive industry and motor sport has been a subject to eye over. Motorsport Industry Association hired the automotive consultancy Ricardo which help to plan future technology for motorsport sector that includes powertrain development, materials and structures and other factors through to 2025. Technology roadmap exercise that is also done by Ricardo to make the automotive industry wider with respect to innovation and evolution team that was reported to government of UK in 2009 under the former Ford engineering chief Richard Parry-Jones, in motorsport version details level was very high. This invention said to be Ricardo’s Global Market Sector Director for High Performance Vehicles and Motorsport .Steve Sapsford was identify crossover points technology used in motorsports might have ‘road relevance (Holweg, 2005).’

2.13. Innovative processes for premium manufacturers:

It is identified that the UK’s premium automotive industry needs advanced manufacturing procedures that have the abilities to maintain its competitive position. Examples of these involve high quality and natural resources that are brought with high variety and exacting quality standards. Further work is needed in visibly describing what these advanced manufacturing process abilities are, and how UK can capitalize on them

Over time vehicle/ engine makers have become dependent on a number of Tierones who have the industrialization ability but are dominantly owned and situated outside UK. This is compounded by recognized UK owned distributors that are not investing in advancement for long-term competitiveness, as they frequently lack an understanding of its significance or they observe the risk/prize trade-off as unfavourable.

The automotive industry has not earlier taken thoughtful steps to understand the advanced manufacturing process needed to defend its premium brands. To address this, the Automotive Council will explain advanced business and manufacturing processes required to support the competitive position of the premium UK automotive manufacturers.

Chapter Three: Methodology

3.1. Introduction

The chapter provides the detailed outline of overall research methodology that is used to conduct the research and to reach the outcomes of the study. To achieve this, research methodology chapter is divided in different sections. The first section provides the detailed methodology review incorporating all the relevant theories and research methodologies that can be adopted in the research under consideration. The second section of the research methodologies presents the particular research methodology selected for the research under observation. Moreover, each major section is divided into several sub-sections that illustrate different theories and overall procedure used for choosing research methodology along with the justification regarding the choice of methodology.

3.2. Research Method

The research methodology is an overview of all the methods and research designs, which will be used in the research to get the answers of research questions. Methodology is the philosophical source on which the studies that was performed and assessed which can guide to obtain the research aim (Peffers et al 2007). Hence, data for this study is collected by means of primary data on analyse the innovation and growth in the UK vehicle customisation industry using survey.

3.3. Research Design

The research was in line with the main objective which is to look into the innovation and growth in the UK vehicle customisation industry.

There are two research design procedures, namely the qualitative and quantitative approaches. The quantitative approach explains a situation where the researcher relies on numeric data, while the qualitative approach is more of a detailed and analytical approach (Peffers et al 2007). The qualitative approach is less generalized and with in-depth information on a minimal number of cases thus the research design will mainly be based on the qualitative approach. The explanatory bit in the qualitative approach will help in the innovation and growth in the UK vehicle customisation industry while conducting a survey on the perspective of consumers regarding the vehicles customisation. However, a few details on the quantitative analysis will also be relevant to the study. Furthermore, information will also be derived from the relevant case studies (Peffers et al 2007). The quantitative methodology will be used to gather first-hand information on research aim whereas qualitative method will help back up the results through literature review. The aim of the survey was to analyse the trend and innovation of vehicle customisation and for this purpose, the survey was conducted from respondents online. The data was analysed using Excel.

3.4. Sampling

Primary information may be internal or external. The internal secondary data include all the information available within the company, which rec- stack for accounting purposes or for reporting strategies and marketing activities. Internal sources of traditional data are research studies that have been conducted in past, papers, reports and other organisational documents. The research for this data was gathered using different libraries and resources. The respondents were selected using random sampling technique in which people who have recently customised their vehicles or wish to customise their vehicle in new future were contacted using online forums. The survey was conducted online and data was gathered using survey monkey. The link for the questionnaire was posted on different online portals and it was an open invitation for everyone to fill out the form. The participation in the survey was voluntary.

3.5. Data Analysis

We believe that the vast majority of the investigations undertaken should consider revising literature, although this is not the final goal but only a way to prevail on the state of the art topic to be addressed. In the case of final year projects a review of the literature can be the central objective, mainly because time allocated to this type of work and the lack of experience of students. On the other hand, a state of the art can be the basis for another project or career or part of further research project.

3.6. Summary

This section discussed the different techniques and methods that have been implemented to conduct the research. Drawing on the previous work identified in the literature review and the findings arising from the primary research responses, a detailed analysis of the consolidated findings was concluded. The next section details the analysis of the data collected, and the subsequent section lists the conclusions and recommendations of this research. The next chapter will analyse and present the results of the data obtained through participants in this study.

Chapter Four: Result and Discussion

4.1. Results

The survey was open for anyone’s access and there were no set limits on the number of respondents. However after completion, 45 responses were fully complete and are added in the results. The respondents were from different educational background and various walks of life however they all had one thing in common, their interest in vehicle customisation. Out of the 45 respondents, 75% male whereas 25% were female respondents.


32% of the respondents were from the age group of 18-22 years whereas 45% were 23-25 years old. 20% of the respondents were 25-33 years.


3% of the respondents studied in some highschool as compared to 19% who were highschool graduates. 26% of the respondents were in some college and 33% were college graduates. 16% of the respondents were students of Masters/PhD whereas 3% were Masters or PhD graduates.

PhD graduates

When asked about whether the respondents own vehicle, 45% said that they own their personal vehicles whereas 36% said they use a vehicle which they do not own. 19% said they do not own a vehicle at all.

vehicle at all

The owners of vehicles were then asked about the time they purchased their vehicles. 40% said that their vehicle was recently purchased whereas 15% said they purchased it 5months to 1 year ago. 35% said that they have their vehicles from 1 year to 3 years of time and 15% said that they own their vehicle for more than 3 years.

for more than 3 years

When the respondents were asked whether they wish to customise their vehicles the responses were mixed. 30% said they are very much interested in customising their vehicles with 25% that said that they are interested however not very sure. 33% said maybe whereas 10% said no.

said maybe whereas

As per the respondents, the cost of customisation was different. 11% think the cost for customisation of vehicle is £10,000 or less. Whereas 29% said that it is between £10,000-15,000. Furthermore, 29% said it is between £15,000  20,000 and 33% said it is between £20,000 – 30,000. 21% said it is less than £30,000.

less than £30,000


There are two trends in the way of understanding how to generate innovation, design and produce cars. On the one hand, large manufacturers control and dominate almost all vertical and horizontal integration of the value chain of the latest manufacturing a vehicle (Freyssent, Shimuzu & Volpato, 2003). Furthermore, a network of suppliers of innovation and technology, of all sizes, form a dense network of generating resources and capabilities; auxiliary industries. The interaction between these two competing forces, the structure of relationships and partnerships, the way in which these integrations are set as the conductive force of innovation in the car industry. In ultimately, a combination between the concept of production mass looking for the standardization of all processes, flexibility and multifunction methods, and the need to be close to the market and learn about new trends and tastes (Center for Automotive Research, 2005).. Proponents emphasize flexibility interest in developing stable relationships between manufacturers and provide style of the relationships in Japan (DTI, 2005).

The vehicles that we see in the markets are so complex that no single company that has complete knowledge about the manufacture of products or processes required for integrated design and manufacturing of a car in their own facilities. As a result, many manufacturers are dependent on others in incorporating crucial to its value chain elements, and this dependence itself is strategic (Holweg, 2008). Therefore, we talk about different resources and capabilities of some manufacturers over other competing against manufacturers or suppliers of innovation and technology, and whether these resources and capabilities are a competitive advantage. The real competition comes aside knowledge and skills dynamics consisting of one to depend strategically and depending on what kind of skills. The way we have built these relationships and organizational routines supplier-manufacturer technological innovation is one of the core competencies of automakers not only in Europe and USA but also in Japan. In general, one can speak of four competitions essential in the manufacturing process of an automobile, which are (Maxcy & Silberston, 1959):

    1. The management of infrastructure.
    2. The product realization process.
    3. The product architecture.
    4. The management of innovation; make or subcontract.

This level of flexibility and inter-dependence between small and medium-niche innovation and technology providers, and automakers explains the development and success of innovation and technological leadership in products and processes that have occurred in certain regions of Europe and Japan. It thus establishes a process control core competencies around which the relations of partnership, collaboration and trust are built. But while these relationships, in Europe, are based more on aspects of control and dominant market position where exercise power purchase by large manufacturers, and can be short term, there seems to be a trend in Japan, Moreover, the long-term partnership based on a type of cooperation that go beyond pure commercial-business relationship  (Colguhoun, 2006).

The foregoing shows those automakers cannot avoid being dependent to some extent, from other companies. We have also seen some products and infrastructure elements are more decomposable than others, and that a good innovation system has to find the optimal level of decomposition products where competitive advantages are not lost (Veloso and Kumar, 2002).

The decomposable products are for automakers as susceptible to outsourcing. Therefore core competence lies not in the product but as the process is chosen depending on the capabilities and industrial and technological knowledge. Toyota outsources much of its products but retains internal control over resources and infrastructure capacities manufacturing (less decomposable vehicles) based on technological, organizational and human skills. Toyota has shown that it can develop and outsource parts of a vehicle and its suppliers. So does the manufacturer Honda, whose procedures to produce tooling and machinery for the manufacture of engines are performed internally in their facilities. If successful, then produce equipment for sale. This requires knowledge management allows you keep competitors behind (Veloso and Kumar, 2002).

Chapter Five: Conclusion

The global automotive industry has been characterized by a constant process of restructuring, especially in recent decades, which has become one of the most dynamic industries in the modern era, generating significant effects on different economies terms of productivity, technological development and competitiveness. In order to take the first places in production and sales in world markets member companies of the sector have always been looking for innovations that allow them to strengthen and make more competitive production processes. In this scheme, the areas in which the restructuring of the global automotive sector should be analysed are two: the restructuring that occurs from technological innovation in production processes and labour organization and one that arises from the reconfiguration of the market. This study analysed the concepts of hydro painting which is a type of graphic printing used by large manufacturers for products such as automotive interior trim and equipment hunting, water transfer printing involucrate is a long process that can be simplified and made at home on a smaller scale.

From the information gathered and profile statistics described, gives the impression that the global mobility of the automobile industry will be permanent. Decades have passed and the business sectors of this industry continue to locate their plants to sites increasingly seen “Strategic”. This trend points to a greater geographical distribution industry, especially guided by international investments older companies. Given this attitude, firms more important, such as car assemblers, generate a series of direct effects on the global stage. The changes in the organization of production vehicles motor not only obey the satisfaction of businesses and measures Macroeconomic countries, but also to changes in demand. These changes lead to international companies to seek new strategies business and organization, both within them and between companies globally, covering local and regional level. Indeed, in the field of international business and commerce industry automaker has been a shift of enormous significance in the management of the production and exchange of auto parts and components. This situation has originated production dispersion and the geographical extension of the markets, forming large production systems and complex schemes operating. These schemes seek to address global flows generated by demand component in a dynamic economic environment too. The mobility of the automotive industry also follows a new paradigm responding to recent approaches to business development, emerged from the liberalization of markets: competitiveness.

Greater openness brought get the reorganization of production, which in turn flows modified Commercial giving pattern to the formation of large chain supply sector. The most significant changes in the automotive industry referred to the above have changed the structures of international markets. The location and the level of fragmentation of production have promoted emergence of new markets (consumption), modifying flows international physical distribution, and the design of the systems of supply and distribution of products; in nations, have impacted the variables macroeconomic and labour, and even in government plans. Therefore, the importance of the automotive sector worldwide is final. Overall, the assemblers have adopted different strategies in order to overcome the drawbacks encountered in their schemes relocation.

In other words, as a manufacturer moves from the dependence of the industrial capacity to knowledge the conditions for outsourcing occur. The minimum skills required are those found on the left side of the box i.e. the drafting of specifications and find a qualified provider that meets the specifications. These essential skills are required regardless of whether or not subcontract because in any case are internal strategic knowledge of the company over which control is always exercised. The key question is to know what the minimum essential competencies for to delegate strategic outsourcing without losing control.


In Europe, the automotive industry is concentrates more to do what they do well, there is a high activity in outsourcing, and put much emphasis on trade and brand strength aspects. The modular construction of an automobile is dominant from well qualified suppliers, with a high degree of specialization in trades and well-defined powers. Japanese companies, however, tend to understand the way manufacturing a holistic; they know the difficulty of learning and prefer to maintain maximum control over design processes, engineering, manufacturing and licenses. The supplier relationships tend to be more stable or durable forming real inter-business conglomerates based long-term relationships. This is because historically they operate in different national and social contexts which help to operate in this regard. Although it is often difficult to draw a clear distinction, we can say that while in Europe are, in many cases, providers are carrying out initiatives in innovation, Japan is the manufacturer determines the level and control change and technological improvement, and on this basis the level of specifications for further outsourcing is developed.

In order to achieve effective realization or purchase of a product or component is essential that there is, by the automaker, a preliminary design of the manufacturing process or assembly. Thus, the drafting of technical specifications innovation, engineering and design are the most important part of this step and marks the relations between supplier and manufacturer innovation ultimately

The architecture of a modular construction of an automobile product (door, transmission system, transmission, etc.), which consists of different parts and components, requires the definition of a specification to proceed both its coupling assembly and its decomposition adjustment levels and delivery functions; difference between modular and integrated architecture. Therefore, the core competence of a manufacturer rests on the ability to define the boundaries of decomposition i.e. define the requirements and specifications required of suppliers.


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Appendix I: Survey Questionnaire

  1. Gender
    • Male
    • Female
  1. Which age group do you belong to:
    • <18
    • 18-22
    • 23-25
    • 25-35
    • 35-55
    • 55<
  1. What will be your educational status in Fall’ 15
    • Some High School
    • High School Graduate
    • Some College
    • College Graduate
    • Masters/PhD Student
    • Masters/PhD Graduate
  1. Do you own a vehicle?
    • Yes, I own a personal vehicles
    • Yes, I have a vehicle that I use but it is not mine
    • No, I do not own a vehicle
  1. When did you purchase your vehicle?
    • Recently (less than 5 months)
    • 5 months – 1 year
    • 1-year to 3 years
    • Above 3 years
  1. Do you want to customise your vehicle?
    • Yes, very much
    • Yes, but I am not very sure
    • May be
    • No, I do not want to
  1. How much do you think it costs to customise a vehicle?
    • < £ 10,000
    • £ 10,000 – £ 15,000
    • £ 15,000 – £ 20,000
    • £ 20,000 – 30,000
    • £ 30,000 <
  1. Select the options that you would want your vehicles to be customised for:
Customisation Feature Yes regardless of price If the price is right Not Interested
Safety Features (Airbags, Restraints, OnStar etc.)
Performance Features (Shocks, Engines, Turbochargers)
Interior Design (Type of seats, colour schemes etc)
Personalisation (paint customisation….use of imagination)


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