After reading Jacobides, MacDuffie, and Tae (2016), the success of Tesla in launching a new automobile company in a crowded sector puzzled us. Jacobides, MacDuffie, and Tae (2016) had convinced us that developing the capabilities to become the manufacturer of a complete, safe automobile system would be quite difficult. Since the establishment of the dominant design for the auto in the 1920s, the industry has operated on the premise of massive economies of scale. Original equipment manufacturers’ (OEMs) role in taking responsibility for the legal liability of the whole automobile, combined with their extensive supply and marketing chains, has ensured they remained dominant in the sector despite some missteps with modularisation and outsourcing efforts (Jacobides, MacDuffie, & Tae, 2016; Schulze, MacDuffie, & Taube, 2015). No major component supplier has succeeded in forward integrating into becoming an OEM and no new entrants have challenged the dominance of the incumbent OEMs since the earliest days of the auto industry (Jacobides & MacDuffie, 2013).
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