Ref: IMD-7-1803

Case study

Reference: IMD-7-1803

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Dallara Automobili: Transforming a racing legend

Benoit F. Leleux
Tawfik Jelassi

By Professor Benoit F. LeleuxBenoit F. Leleux, Professor Tawfik JelassiTawfik Jelassi, Giovanni Ravano, Maurizio Seletti and Fabio Tremolada

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
Keywords Business Cluster, Business Model, Car Racing, Corporate Culture, Defense Mechanism, Digital Transformation, Growth Management, Innovation Centre, Motor Sport, Organizational Design, Strategy, Technology Management
Settings Italy
Dallara Automobili
1972 – 2016
Copyright ©2016
Language English
Related material Teaching note, Video
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Reference: IMD-7-1803

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Reference: IMD-7-1803

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