Is Chrysler going nuclear with its suppliers?

The story “Chrysler sues consultant over sourcing” about a lawsuit against Accenture for not delivering big savings from outsourcing to Chinese suppliers is producing sharp comment from readers.

All see it as a part of a growing pattern of Chrysler lawsuits against suppliers.

Cast no shadow is the most critical, charging that procurement chief John Campi first paid consultants to do his job, then used more corporate money to sue Accenture. He suggests: “The next step is asking for money to sue the lawyers when they lose the lawsuit.”

Now, nobody posting comments has much sympathy for consultancy Accenture -- “typical consultants overselling their abilities,” says one writer -- but the main concern is the emerging pattern of Chrysler settling disputes by filing lawsuits.

“Chrysler needs to get back to the Stallkamp days of good relations with suppliers and vendors and resolve differences in-house,” says one.

“Chrysler is starting to gain a negative reputation suing its suppliers and now consultants,” says another.

COO@Tier1 says Chrysler should look within itself at “failed programs, propaganda and products” and concludes “Chrysler will not succeed with the type of negative process.”

A larger question is whether Chrysler truly expects long-term savings from such an approach. Certainly, automakers have a long history of hammering their parts suppliers on price and terms of delivery. But suppliers are no longer helpless victims laid bare on the anvil.

Increasingly, suppliers and not automakers control the technology that goes into cars. Suppliers decide who gets new technology. And -- Chrysler, take note -- who doesn’t. An August Automotive News-Supplierbusiness survey of 98 parts makers found that 43 percent are less likely to offer new technology to Chrysler in the future.

So why is Chrysler suing so many suppliers? Does anybody have a theory?

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