General Motors: The Decline of an Automotive Giant

Essay by vicky130787C+, February 2008

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Question 1: Using Porter's 'five forces' framework, discuss the competitiveness of the global automobile market.

Porter's five forces framework is a model of competitive industry structure. These are the threat of entry of new competitors, the threat of substitutes, the bargaining power of buyers and of suppliers and the rivalry between the existing competitors. Where these forces are intense, below-average industry performance can be expected; where these forces are mild, superior performance is common. (Jobber, 2007).

Before we discuss about the barriers of entry to the global automobile market, we have to understand what barriers to entry is. In a market, when all the firms are making profit, there are new comers to the market in order to gain profits as well. Therefore, the industries possess characteristics that protect high profit level of the firms and inhibit additional rivals from entering the market. These are barriers of entry. They characteristics may be economies of scale, capital requirement, switching costs, access to distribution, government policy and brand identity.

In global automobile market, the barrier to entry to the market is low. The low cost competition causing many new comers enter to the market and eroding its market share. Besides, the common technology has lowered the barriers to enter the market as well.

In Porter's model, substitute products refer to products in other industries. While the treat of substitutes typically impacts an industry through price competition, there can be other concerns in assessing the threat of substitutes. In the automobile industry, the threat of substitutes can be considered as high because there are many choices to the customers. It is due to the similarities of the vehicles with no big different on the price.

A producing industry requires raw materials which are labour, components and other supplies. The industry need to buy...