The Expansion of the Macri Business Group During the 1980s Decade in Argentina

During the 1980s decade, the Argentinian automotive sector was marked by the drop of the production and sales of vehicles. However, the Macri business group bought the Argentinian subsidiaries of two of the major automotive firms in the world, Fiat and Peugeot, and became the country’s leading automaker in a few years. Simultaneously, it consolidated a successful business diversification process through its holding company, Socma, the other key of its growth. Therefore, the objective of the article is to explain how the Macri business group expanded during the 1980s decade. The hypothesis of the paper is that the key to business success was the group's flexibility to operate in a context of macroeconomic stagnation and high uncertainty, which allowed it to become the local partner of multinational companies that were not willing to operate directly in the country. In the automotive sector, this allowed it to concentrate the manufacturing of several companies in the context of a shrinking market. It also permitted the group to enter other activities, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the erratic public policies of the time. In developing the research, quantitative and qualitative methods were integrated through: a) semi-structured interviews with former managers; b) newspaper articles from two business journals (Mercado and Prensa Económica); c) the articles collected in CESPA (Study Center for Situation and Perspectives of Argentina) of the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires; d) the Boletín Oficial de la República Argentina, which includes information on business creation and changes in the directories of firms; e) an institutional publication of the Italian firm: Fiat Auto Argentina (2009) Italian presence in Argentine cultural development: Fiat in its 90 years; and f) quantitative data from the Association of Automotive Manufacturers (ADEFA, 1990).