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Factors Affecting Product Line Design for Car Sharing by Multinational Automotive Companies in Different Markets Exemplified by Daimler and Toyota

Student: Alex sebastian Mueller

Supervisor: Alexandra Zhukova

Faculty: Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs

Educational Programme: International Business (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2020

Various automotive companies have lately launched car sharing services. Even though the scheme of nearly all car sharing services is alike, there is no coherent prevalent strategy regarding the car models automotive manufacturers should provide in their car sharing services. As of today, there is no united research, agreed on by researchers on the factors affecting PLD for car sharing and how these factors differ across different markets. The present paper aims to identify and summarize the characteristics as well as experiences of product line design (PLD) by multinational automotive companies in different markets and consequently develop recommendations for product line design in car sharing for these companies. The thesis is divided into three sections. In the first section academic literature is analyzed with regard to product line design in general, followed by an examination of previous research on product line design for car sharing. The second section is presenting case studies of Daimler’s and Toyota’s PLD activities for car sales and car sharing in different markets. In addition to that, interviews with industry experts have been conducted to identify and rank the most affecting factors. Practical recommendations for multinational automotive companies and for further research are described in the final section. The expert interviews and other research revealed that the factors of governmental regulations, corporate image and CRM are the most affecting factors, whereas demand volatility, data collection and cannibalization are the least affecting factors.

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