TOKYO -- In another attack on Japan's traditional keiretsu system of close-knit suppliers, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. last week said it will disband its official supplier organization.
Mitsubishi said that it instead will seek to establish "an open and transparent relationship structure" with both domestic and international suppliers."
The organization, the Kashiwa-Kai, was composed of 344 suppliers and included almost all Mitsubishi Group manufacturing companies.
Most, if not all, Japanese carmakers have a similar organization reserved for an inner circle of favored suppliers.
Members of those organizations receive advance word of product strategy and other information.
In addition, smaller subgroups often became venues for suppliers from unrelated fields who were not direct competitors to share manufacturing and other know-how.
Rolf Eckrodt, who will become Mitsubishi's CEO this month, said the automaker will begin seeking collaborative relationships with suppliers that will be "close, cooperative, fair and focused on results."
Mitsubishi will hold annual supplier meetings to explain procurement strategies and provide information about Mitsubishi's new-vehicle programs.
It also will hold smaller, topic-specific meetings to exchange information with suppliers, and it will set up an Internet home page to provide suppliers with updated information.