In recent years, modular approaches to design and production have been discussed and implemented in various ways in the automotive industry. However, this paper draws on the author's extensive work with firms in the automotive and other industries to suggest that there is still relatively limited understanding of what modular strategies really mean and of what effective implementation of modularity strategies would entail in the automotive industry ' with the result that at least some automotive firms that claim to be using modular strategies are in fact doing so in name only. This paper then proposes the essential principles on which effective implementation of modular strategies depends in any industry. We illustrate these principles with examples of both effective and faulty modularity practice from the automotive and other industries. We then propose a modularity maturity model for assessing the degree to which a firm has developed and is applying a real modularity competence in automotive design, development, production, and after-service.
International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, 2013, Vol 13, Issue 3, p. 204-236