As traditional competition becomes global, businesses fail to take, on their own, the measures that are required to become more competitive. Hence, in a globally competitive environment, national improvement and competitiveness have also become vital. Businesses must utilize and be supported by the international competitiveness of their nations. This study aims to analyze the competitiveness of the automotive industry from a national competitiveness perspective, using a three-stage methodology. For this purpose, a novel cumulative belief degrees (CBD) approach is introduced, to quantify the causal relations among the variables in the system. This methodology is illustrated by the analysis of the Turkish automotive industry for developing suggestions to assist policymakers in their decisions to improve the competitiveness of the industry. Although the findings are country specific, the methodology is applicable to a wider range of industries in developed and developing countries. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.