The growth and significance of the Coventry car component industry 1895-1914

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For some time, historians have recognised the significant contribution of Coventry firms in the birth and development of the British motor industry. However, attention has largely focused on the rise of the car assemblers, and consequently the car component sector, a significant portion of the motor industry, has remained neglected. This omission is made even more surprising when it is considered that by 1914 Coventry was one of the leading component manufacturing centres in Britain, It is the intention of this article to explore the origins of the Coventry car component industry and account for its pattem of development. In order that these objectives are achieved, analysis will take place within an economic model appropriate to the exploration of emergent industries. Michael Porter's Competitive Strategy Model identifies the important structural features that determine the nature of competition in a particular industry. The model suggests that an industry can be shaped by one of five ‘prominent competitive forces’, which are defined as, new entrants into an industry, the threat of product substitution, the bargaining power of suppliers, the bargaining power of buyers and the rivalry among competitors. Moreover, Porter also acknowledges the importance of ‘short run forces’ which have a limited impact on an industry, such as fluctuations in economic conditions and business cycles, This model, therefore, provides a useful analytical framework to examine the important features that determined the nature of competition in the Coventry motor industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-120
Number of pages17
JournalMidland History
Publication statusPublished - 1993


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