Lesson 1: Introduction and the Global Value Chain (GVC) Research approach

In this introductory lesson, we will explore the significance of analyzing the automotive sector within the context of global value chains (GVCs). We’ll also delve into the core concepts and research approach for understanding GVCs.

  1. The Importance of Analyzing the Automotive Sector
  • The automotive sector plays a pivotal role in the economies of the EU, influencing GDP, employment, and economic cycles.
  • The sector’s extensive supply chains have far-reaching impacts on the economy.
  • This course aims to evaluate recent trends in the automotive industry using a GVC approach.
  1. The Rise of Global Value Chains
  • GVCs are central to economic globalization in recent decades.
  • Various perspectives describe phenomena related to GVCs, including fragmentation, offshore sourcing, and trade in tasks.
  • GVCs have driven international trade, accounting for a significant portion of global trade.
  1. Challenges to the GVC Model
  • Since the 2008 global financial crisis, the growth of trade has slowed, and GVC expansion has stalled.
  • New technologies could shift production closer to consumers and reduce labor demand.
  • Conflicts among large countries may lead to GVC segmentation.
  1. Beyond Manufacturing: The Changing Face of GVCs
  • GVC research has traditionally focused on manufacturing processes.
  • A transformation is underway as GVCs extend into services and intangible assets.
  • Digitization and the COVID-19 pandemic are accelerating this shift.
  1. The Automotive Industry in Transition
  • New technologies, shifting consumer preferences, and increased regulation are reshaping the automotive industry.
  • The transition to electric vehicles (EVs) is a significant challenge.
  • EVs pose particular risks to auto suppliers as they replace essential components of internal combustion engine vehicles.
  1. Preparing for Industry Disruption
  • Automobile manufacturers and suppliers are making strategic investments in preparation for industry changes.
  • The industry envisions a future with connected, autonomous, shared, and electric (CASE) vehicles.
  • The course will explore the structure of the future automotive industry and the disruptive changes it will face.
  1. Course Structure Overview
  • This course is structured to provide a comprehensive understanding of GVCs in the automotive industry.
  • Sections will cover GVC concepts, dimensions of analysis, measuring GVC participation, specific GVC analysis, mapping the automotive industry, GVC in the automotive industry, and the impact of electric and autonomous vehicles on the supply chain.
  1. The Role of GVCs in Economic Development
  • Participation in GVCs can lead to job creation and economic growth.
  • The right trade and investment policies are crucial for reaping the benefits of value chain participation.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of understanding global supply chain dependencies.
  1. The GVC Research Approach
  • GVC research aims to capture a wide range of governance mechanisms and link them to questions of industrial upgrading.
  • The value chain serves as the organizational structure for GVC studies.
  • The research process includes value chain mapping and analysis, with mapping identifying key elements and analysis exploring interrelationships.
  1. The Significance of Value Chain Mapping
  • Value chain mapping involves identifying firms, products, activities, stakeholders, and geographic locations involved in the value chain.
  • An accurate and detailed map is essential for effective analysis and policy recommendations.
  • Omitting key elements can lead to incomplete and ineffective results.


  • Understanding the automotive sector’s role in the global economy is crucial due to its impact on GDP, employment, and supply chains.
  • The rise of global value chains (GVCs) has transformed international trade and economic development, but challenges and disruptions, including new technologies and geopolitical tensions, are reshaping the landscape.
  • GVC research offers a comprehensive approach to analyzing complex industries like automotive, emphasizing value chain mapping and analysis as essential tools.
  • Accurate value chain mapping is a critical first step, ensuring that key elements are included for effective analysis and policy recommendations.
  • This course will further explore GVC concepts, dimensions of analysis, and the specific impact of electric and autonomous vehicles, providing valuable insights into the evolving automotive industry and its global connections.
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