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Modest growth is fast enough

On a day when industry sales forecasts dropped, confidence about the recovery drooped and even Dodge slipped out of NASCAR racing, suppliers could still find a silver lining at a standing-room only morning session here.

If you're a North American supplier, focused on technology and a good balance sheet, there's good news: You've got a real future.

That's even in a U.S. market suddenly predicted to gain a dose of lethargy. And even in a sector of the industry that was supposed to devour itself in downsizing.

Suppliers are telling us two things: As every region but China and North America slows, more work is migrating here, thanks to favorable currency exchange rates and relatively strong demand.

Also, suppliers that supposedly would be squashed because they weren't ready for a sizzling recovery haven't been -- thanks to the lack of a sizzling recovery.

"The survivors have thrived," Jeff Schuster of LMC Automotive said.

Come again?

Wasn't there supposed to be a bullet to the head of most suppliers in 2012 thanks to a lack of capacity, lack of qualified personnel and lack of stomach to add capital, cash or both?

As Paul Taylor, chief economist at the National Automobile Dealers Association, said Tuesday: "Suppliers missed the bullet in the first half of the year. Modest growth, it turns out, is better."

In short, slow is good.

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