Case Study

Dallara Automobili: Transforming a racing legend

18 pages
November 2016
Reference: IMD-7-1803

The Dallara Automobili case describes the success of a family run company that designed and built chassis for racing and sports cars. Established in 1972 by the legendary Gian Paolo Dallara, the company provided winning chassis for almost all major racing formulas. Initially the company’s success was based on two core capabilities: aerodynamics and carbon fiber manufacturing, a combination that allowed the company to produce fast, light and safe chassis. In 2007, when the founder turned 70, he brought on board a new CEO, Andrea Pontremoli (former CEO of IBM Italy), to support and develop the company’s long-term vision. Pontremoli led the company through an innovation journey that transformed Dallara from a pure high-end craftsmanship company into a modern engineering firm. Dallara pursued its original vocation and capabilities but it also developed new revenue streams, entering new customer segments beyond motorsports. The case describes the steps of this journey, focusing on how innovation impacted the traditional workflow within Dallara, opening up new business opportunities while maintaining the lead in its core business.

Learning Objective
  • Protecting and evolving core capabilities
  • Business model Innovation
  • Leveraging a cluster economy (no competing companies but competing territories)
  • Building distinctive competitive advantages based on knowledge and capabilities
  • Industry positioning (avoiding competition with key customers)
  • Emergent strategies
  • Family business succession
Innovation Centre, Business Model, Corporate Culture, Defense Mechanism, Organizational Design, Business Cluster, Digital Transformation, Technology Management, Growth Management, Motor Sport, Car Racing
Dallara Automobili, Automotive, Automobiles
1972 – 2016
Field Research
© 2016
Available Languages
Related material
Teaching note, Video
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