The late seventies, the eighties and the nineties all were dominated by the Japanese manufacturers. Even in the 21st century this dominance is not only visible but disturbingly complex with geographical concentration shifting in directions that defy economic sense and reinforce the multinationals’ perception of competition.
The automobile industry has some peculiar characteristics when it comes to the question of concentration. There is a common tendency for every industry to be agglomerated geographically. However the automobile industry has a typical tendency for such geographical agglomeration. For instance within the frontiers of a country, a regional concentration would mean many manufacturers of an industry concentrating their output in a particularly advantageous geographical region such as Detroit in America. The same region would act as a focal point for international companies, thus completing an international cycle of geographic attraction.
The automobile industry has some peculiarities in shifting the geographic epicenter of activity away from the initial centers of development to newer more demand-centric market–oriented regions in the globe. During the last three decades manufacturing centers have been shifted from low-cost, skilled-labour, market-centric regions to still low-cost, skilled-labour, market-centric regions elsewhere, e.g. China and India in Asia, East European countries in Europe and Latin America. Markets beckon not only the industry but also individual manufacturers. Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Motor Company, Nissan Motor Company and Honda Motor Company, all of Japan first entered the European Union (EU) to make use of tariff-free entry into the then flourishing market for automobiles. Next they entered the North American enclave. Finally they are making entry into the Latin American and East European markets. The Japanese management and labour practices are rather