Bombardier and Alstom: The Acela Express

Published 01 Jun 2003
Reference 5117
Topic Marketing
Region Global
Length 27 page(s)
Language English

This case charts the process of the souring of the Acela Express, a joint venture of Alstom and Bombardier with Amtrak, the US rail passenger service. Alstom and Bombardier won the contract to install high-speed rail service between Boston and Washington. Soon after the Acela’s launch, technical problems with the train were severe and Bombardier’s relationship with Amtrak became acrimonious. Both sides in the dispute made legal moves and they continue as of the writing of this case. The case examines the histories of the companies involved, the relationship between the respective parties and presents the technological background to the Acela Express. The goal is to highlight key points in the management of relationships for large-scale projects and to explore a number of issues in technology licensing.

Teaching objectives

The objective of the case is to focus on the following two issues that are critical in a marketing context: The Importance of a Marketing orientation (from the perspective of Bombardier). To underline the value of a marketing orientation even in Mega-Project Selling. It can be the difference between success and failure. Options for Commercializing Leading-Edge Technology (from the perspective of Alstom). How to maximize profitability from leading edge technology (in this case TGV technology).

  • Marketing Orientation
  • Customer Focus
  • Licensing
  • Technological Management
  • Mega Project Marketing
  • Service Management
  • Innovation. AR2003
  • AR0203
  • RD0703