African Journal of
Business Management

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Bus. Manage.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1993-8233
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJBM
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 4131

Full Length Research Paper

The flex-fuel technology building process in Brazil: An analysis from the perspective of business platform

Daniel Leite Mesquita* and Joel Yutaka Sugano
Department of Administration and Economy, Federal University of Lavras, Brazil.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 17 May 2011
  •  Published: 30 September 2013


The conceptual perspective of "business platform" intent to demonstrate that in the current situation, industries can jointly establish innovations through formal exchanges of expertise between a "leader firm and its complementary." The research had qualitative and exploratory character, using grounded theory techniques and thematic content analysis of five in-depth interviews made to automakers and suppliers of flex-fuel technology. The flex-fuel technology as a "business platform", presented the following results: there were modifications in the architecture of the engine flex-fuel-related components; the technology emerged from a strong relationship of exchange of expertise among the "Modules "(the systemists and the automakers). The interviewees reported the existence of co-design in the development and application part of this technology. The power of the automakers in the "architecture" of the flex-fuel platform is also highlighted by the leadership in the chain of the automotive industry. Finally, it was elaborated a model of “flex-fuel business platform from the concepts drawn from the interviews. It was concluded that the flex-fuel platform is led by automakers that hold the core architecture of the engine. Innovations of high aggregated value, as the case of flex-fuel, require partnerships and standardization with "complementary" (large and small suppliers).


Key words: Flex-fuel technology, business platform, automotive industry.