North American auto suppliers said in a survey released Wednesday that they had better relationships with Japanese manufacturers than the Big 3.
General Motors, Ford Motor Co., and the U.S. arm of DaimlerChrysler AG consistently trailed Toyota, Honda and Nissan on various measures studied by Planning Perspectives Inc.
The Birmingham, Mich., firm surveyed 279 North American suppliers, including 71 companies on the Automotive News list of the biggest 150 OEM suppliers to North America. Planning Perspectives did not name the companies that participated in the survey, which was conducted in May and June.
The rankings were based on the suppliers' answers to 18 questions about their dealings with Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota in North America.
Big 3 suppliers have been under tremendous pressure to cut costs as automakers look to return to profitability, or remain profitable. Nissan has demanded major cost reductions from its suppliers under CEO Carlos Ghosn.
The survey cited a few general reasons for Honda's and Toyota's appeal among suppliers, including their active concern over their suppliers' success and their consistent policies and procedures.
John Henke, president of Planning Perspectives and a marketing professor at Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Mich., said finding the right formula for improving supplier relations is difficult.
"There's no silver bullet there," Henke said. "It's a whole bunch of different things, and it's got to be done consistently."