All entries for Tuesday 11 March 2008

March 11, 2008

Knowledge Transfer

Recently talked to a former colleague, it was interesting to find out the slight different attitude towards knowledge and technology between Indian TATA and Chinese SAIC. TATA is in the process of acquiring Land Rover and Jaguar from Ford, and SAIC have already merged with NAC which acquired MG-Rover sometimes ago.

TATA has set up a European technical centre based in Warwick for a few years now. It is already in operation, and is constantly contributing towards the new product development back in India. In contrast, it seems besides changing the logo MG-Rover to NAC-MG. (and perhaps now to SAIC-MG) There is not much going on in the European technical centre of SAIC based in Leamington Spa. Actually this SAIC technical centre is largely based on Ricardo, and it is believed there still a lot of collaboration. This does not surprise me, as many Chinese domestic auto manufactures have to heavily rely on the technical know-how especially in the R&D area. However what surprise me is the strategy TATA took. Instead of collaborating with engineering consultancy, TATA chosen to collaborate with university. One of the goals set by the MD of TATA Motors European Technical Centre is to transform from acquiring know-hows to also know-whys. TATA choose the long-term goal of acquiring the capabilities of R&D instead of the obvious short-gains of specific technology. In a few years time, we probably would see how different strategies work out for each of them in products.

P.S. my ignorance, I didn't know CityRover was actually based on TATA Indica. There's already a difference shown in the strategy between TATA and SAIC/NAC back then.

March 2008

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