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Professor Tom Donnelly

Professor of Automotive Business, CBiS

My Research Vision

My current research focuses on the international automotive industry with particular reference to Western Europe and China. The main thrust of the research has been on merger activity; restructuring in the UK industry, the growth and development of the industry in China, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the industry, and the challenges posed by climate change and alternatively fuelled vehicles. I maintain a small interest in Finnish high tech industrial development. The inspiration for this research comes simply from my long-standing interest in the auto industry. All I really want to achieve is an improvement in our understanding of the industry through the application of economic theory. 

BIOGRAPHY

After graduating from the Universities of Strathclyde (BA Hons) and Aberdeen (Ph.D), I became a lecturer at Lanchester Polytechnic (now Coventry University). Over many years there I have taught economics, economic history and strategic management at both undergraduate land postgraduate levels. I have been head of the departments of both Business and Management as well as serving on many university committees. For many years I was in charge of research degree programmes within the faculty and achieved a Professorship in Automotive Business. 

In addition to my publications, my key professional achievements have been my role as a founder member in establishing the Centre for Local Economic Development (now SURGE), the Centre for Business History, which was closed in 1998 and subsequently the Motor Industry Observatory (MIO), which is now consulted regularly by the national and international media to comment on events in the international car industry. 

Externally, I have a Visiting Professorship at the University of Caen, and also teach in that capacity at the Universities of Opava and Oulu University of Applied Sciences. I serve on the editorial board of Midland History and am an Associate Editor of the Dictionary of National Biography. 

SELECTED OUTPUTS

SELECTED PROJECTS

  • Business Records in Coventry (1975-77): This centred on the identification/retrieval of business and industrial records in the Coventry region. The project was SSRC financed. 
  • Business Development in Aberdeen in the 18th century (1977): A study of economic and industrial growth with focus on the role of merchants in overseas trade. (SSRC funded)
  • Business Records in Coventry. (1982): A follow-up to project 1 (Manpower Services Commision (MSC) funded.
  • An Oral History of the Coventry car Industry (1983): Interviews with a large range of people associated with the csar industry. Tapes in university library. (MSC funded)  
  • Development of UK car Industry since (1945): Research in industrial development of car industry for subsequent book. (MSC funded) 
  • Management in the Car Industry: Study of key managers in growth and development of car industry in Coventry (MSC funded)
  • Rover Car company 2010/11: Study of trends in European car market for Chinese owners of MG Rover.
  • The prospects for alternative fuelled vehicles (AFV) in Coventry: Study into how well prepared the city is to take advantage of future changes in car transport technology  (Funded by Coventry city Council).
Research breakout image

Professor of Automotive Business, Centre for Business in Society

Building: Jaguar
Room: J10