GLOBALIZATION OF MOTOR VEHICLE INDUSTRY: HISTORY AND TRENDS FROM A MARKET AND TECHNICAL LEGISLATION POINT OF VIEW 2000-05-0005
The globalization of the motor vehicle industry, though not an exactly new process, is progressing at an extremely fast pace. Specific cooperation agreements, joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions reach the newspapers almost every day, clearly indicating the necessity for manufacturers to expand and to search new market potentials. With vehicles now being put on a world market, there is the clear necessity to meet the local customer demands, while at the same time standardizing as much as possible common concepts and technologies. In parallel, the product legislation, nationally or internationally, bears a large influence on vehicle design with ever more constraints being put on vehicle performance. In order to at least reduce legislative divergencies, global legislative mechanisms exist through United Nations Agreements, which will be explained in this paper. Industry is currently actively involved in the worldwide legislative harmonization process, while at the same time ensuring that public needs are fully satisfied. Worldwide harmonization of legislative requirements will benefit all involved parties : the customers (increased choice at competitive prices), governments (more efficient use of resources) as well as consumer protection (best regulatory practice). Strategies are being put in place to develop work programs and mechanisms, taking into account the necessary pragmatism.