DETROIT -- Aftershocks from the accounting scandals rocking corporate America are rippling through the auto industry.
"I think it would be irresponsible if you didn't review things when you see so many things occurring with Arthur Andersen or Enron or Kmart or Global Crossing or WorldCom," said Richard E. Dauch, CEO of American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc., a maker of driveline components in Detroit. "And it's important to make sure you review: What is your process? What is your check and balance? Is integrity 100 percent pure?
"At American Axle, we've certainly reviewed it, and we're real happy with the results," Dauch added.
While many of today's troubled companies were high fliers during the stock market boom of the late 1990s, the auto industry is not immune to the fallout.
General Motors was buffeted June 27 when rumors of accounting irregularities pushed the automaker's stock price down temporarily and led to a brief suspension of trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
GM denied the rumors, and the share price bounced back.
At Ford Motor Credit Corp., "We decided more than a year ago to be more transparent," spokesman Dan Jarvis said.
Jarvis said there were several reasons for the change, including the state of the economy and a desire to put its financial statements "in plain English."
"We said let's really open our books - not just to people who ask, but to reporters who cover us, analysts, regulators and shareholders," Jarvis said.
The publicity surrounding corporate governance has prompted Intermet Corp. of Troy, Mich., a supplier of steel and aluminum castings to the auto industry, to make a change to avoid misunderstandings.
The company has, for the first time, published a code of conduct, CEO John Doddridge said.
"We've always lectured every new manager that came in, every comptroller, about the ethics and expect them to pass it on down," Doddridge said.
"I say our motto is that we trust you implicitly. The day you break that trust you can't work for us. But that was verbal, said from me down, and now we've put it in writing.
"People have to have ethics," Doddridge said. "If they don't have ethics, we're going to have trouble.
"We complained all through the 1970s that the unions were killing us by ever more wages. Now we've got CEOs killing us that got greedy, and CFOs.
"The sad thing is that it gives all CEOs a black eye."
Staff Reporter Richard Truett contributed to this report