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Suppliers Disappointed with Automaker Rapport

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 May 14, 2013—After several years of progress, the working relationship between major OEMs and U.S. parts suppliers has stalled, according to the annual Working Relations Index Study released yesterday.

The annual study surveyed 583 supplier personnel from 441 Tier 1 parts makers to track their perceptions of working relations with automakers. Participants rank OEMs across six major purchasing areas: powertrain, chassis, exterior, interior, electrical and electronics, and body-in-white.

According to the study, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan and Honda did not show any “meaningful change” since last year when it comes to dealing with parts makers.

"Given the challenges facing the automakers, to say this year's results are disappointing would be an understatement," said John Henke, Jr., chief executive of Planning Perspectives Inc., which conducts the annual survey.

Toyota is still in first place, scoring 297 out of a possible 500, only one point higher than last year.

Although Honda remained in second place, with a score of 287, it suffered a six-point drop to its worst score since the study began in 2004.

Both Ford and Nissan remain in third and fourth place, respectively, positions in which they have not showed improvement in four years.

General Motors remained in fifth place and Chrysler remained in sixth, though its score did increase slightly.

"Maintaining good supplier working relations is a never-ending process; it's dynamic, not static, and requires continuous attention,” said Henke. “Purchasing management must make sure their buyers understand poor supplier relations is costing the automaker money and is unacceptable.”

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