Innovation is a major concern in most automotive companies, either car makers or suppliers. Specifically in the case of powertrain system suppliers, capacity and ability to innovate may signify a strategy to survive in a world where environmental and market concerns constantly put automotive industry – and the way their products work – into question. In order to verify how a company may enhance its innovative capacity through organizational changes, a case study is being conducted in a Powertrain subsidiary, located in an emergent country. This supplier is part of a major European automotive group, and had split from the car assembler unit in 2001. Since then, it has been struggling for more independence from the headquarters as well as from the car maker unit (its major captive customer), and has being building in a more strong way its capacity to create new products. Conquering new markets is a strategic issue in this sense. The main objective of the research is to investigate how this firm can build a “learning platform”, that is, an organizational structure designed to improve individual and collective competences, related to research, development, engineering and production, so as to promote innovation.
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