Canadian suppliers predict their sales to Japanese automakers will nearly double by 2001.
In 1997, sales to Japanese vehicle assemblers increased 5.5 percent to almost $1.6 billion Canadian (U.S. $1.1 billion), according to a survey by the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association.
Honda of Canada Manufacturing Inc. was the biggest buyer of Canadian components, with 35 percent of the total value of shipments to Japanese firms within Canada. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. accounted for 23 percent.
Sales to Japanese assemblers in the United States reached $732 million Canadian (U.S. $498 million), up 7.9 percent from $678 million Canadian (U.S. $461 million) in 1996. Toyota and Honda were the biggest customers, accounting for 31 percent each. Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers in the United States bought 21.4 percent of the parts.
Transplant factories in North America accounted for 96 percent of Canadian sales to Japanese companies in 1997. The remainder was exported overseas.
Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association President Gerald Fedchun says Canadian parts makers have been able to increase sales to the Japanese carmakers despite rising global competition.
'However, sales to the Japanese vehicle manufacturers remain a small percentage of our sales, so we need to work harder to cultivate the relationships required to further develop business with these customers,' Fedchun said.
According to the survey, Canadian parts makers predicted that sales to Japanese customers will increase 90 percent between 1996 and 2001.