Case Study

Marcopolo: The quest for global leadership

20 pages
December 2014
Reference: IMD-7-1606

This case presents the transformation journey of Marcopolo in its quest to gain global leadership. Marcopolo is the largest Brazilian manufacturer of bus bodies, with an annual production of 30,000 buses, 55% of its production outside Brazil, and approximately 8% global market share. From 2005 to 2012 the industry grew at an annual rate of 4%, with much of the growth from the Asia Pacific region, especially China. The case also highlights the multiple facets in the internationalization journey of an emerging market firm, including its decision to invest in developed countries like the United States, Canada and Australia. The case challenges participants to develop a competitive strategy for Marcopolo, which has to compete with the giants in the industry – some with access to capital and also a broader integrated value chain at the one end (e.g. Marcopolo vs. Volvo) and others with access to very low cost labor (e.g. Marcopolo vs. Yutong). It is also happening at a time when the industry’s fundamental value proposition is shifting dramatically – moving from providing products (buses) to services (transit solutions). Marcopolo’s global growth strategy is emphasizing its goal to be the #1 or #2 in each of the company’s markets, and the challenge for the class is to decide whether this is feasible and, if so, to develop a strategic action plan to make it happen.

Learning Objective

Study industry analysis and strategic positioning. Study the internationalization of an emerging market firm. Examine the dynamics of global competition, i.e. understand the journey of an emerging market firm in its quest to become a global leader; understand the nature of global competition as the market shifts from developed to emerging; appreciate what it takes to build a global organization from the ground up; conduct a performance analysis of a company’s international portfolio to diagnose its strengths and weaknesses.

Competitive Dynamics, Emerging Market Strategy, Global Competition, Global Strategy, International Expansion, Multinational Business
Global, Brazil
Field Research
© 2014
Available Languages
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