The Basso Group/e-Motion 22 is a textbook case for understanding the challenges and opportunities that the energy transition is bringing—specifically, the paradigm shift that electromobility implies.
The Basso Group is a medium-sized company that was started in the 1960s. It is unusual within Argentina’s industrial landscape because it operates at the cutting edge of technology. The company is active in extremely demanding international markets and exports more than 80% of its production to around 30 destinations. Its customers include leading global automotive companies such as Peugeot, Citroën, Fiat, General Motors, Ford, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes Benz, John Deere, and Harley Davidson.
After operating for nearly 60 years, the company is taking on the challenge of introducing electromobility-related technologies into the automotive sector. The Basso Group is clear that this change is inevitable, as the growing sales of electric vehicles show. In 2018, the company launched an R&D unit, e-Motion 22, that marked a milestone for its future.
The transition to electromobility entails a radical change in vehicle production technologies. This sector is almost nonexistent in Argentina and is still in its infancy even in developed countries—developing it will entail a reconfiguration of stakeholders and the ways in which regional and global value chains are organized.
This transition involves cross-sector scaling, perhaps the most complex form of scaling to implement, but also one of the most interesting in terms of its potential for diversifying and transforming a country’s production structure. Understanding the opportunities and constraints faced by a company like the Basso Group when it comes to scaling of this sort is the main objective of this case study: e-Motion 22 represents perhaps the best local example of an enduring legacy.
This study is structured as follows. The second section describes the process through which e-Motion 22 emerged. It explores the motivations and factors that gave rise to the unit within the Basso Group and the segments of the production chain into which it hopes to integrate. The third section focuses specifically on the Basso Group, e-Motion 22’s parent company. This section analyzes the business structure that underlies the new spin-off and the advantages of being backed by a company like it. The fourth section analyzes e-Motion 22’s context: that is, the institutions that play a core role in developing production capacities. These include organizations focusing on R&D, education and training, and financing. Finally, the last section presents some of the lessons learned regarding the role of an auto parts company like the Basso Group in international trade and its path to scale.
This case study is an extension of the Basso Group/e-Motion 22 area in Fundar’s work on green productive development policies. It was based on semi-structured interviews inside the Basso Group and relevant institutions in Rafaela, Santa Fe. The authors are grateful to everyone that took part.