Nissan, Toyota and BMW are the best North American automakers in fostering innovation with their suppliers.
They outshine their rivals in encouraging ideas, in responding to ideas and in their ease of introducing ideas, say top suppliers surveyed by J.D. Power and Associates on behalf of Automotive News.
The three automakers will be honored as winners of the Suppliers' Choice Awards at the Automotive News PACE Awards ceremony on Sunday, March 2, in Detroit. Since 1995, the PACE Awards, co-sponsored by Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, have rewarded innovation among suppliers.
The new Suppliers' Choice Awards will be given to the automakers that best encourage - solicit, implement and reward - suppliers' innovation as part of their total business plan. The suppliers judged 11 automakers that manufacture vehicles in North America.
In the survey, supplier executives were asked to rate automakers 1-to-10 on 40 attributes grouped into five areas: trustworthiness, openness to new ideas, ease to work with, willingness to reward innovation and effectiveness at implementing innovations.
Toyota, BMW and Nissan were consistently at or near the top in every category.
Those companies also are successful financially.
Toyota and Nissan are on track to post record profits in the fiscal year ending March 31.
That would mark the second straight year of record earnings for both. BMW's 2002 profits are projected to set a company record as well.
And each of them gained sales in a declining U.S. market last year. Each also increased its market share by exactly three-tenths of a percentage point.
The surveyed suppliers were on the 2002 Automotive News list of the top 150 suppliers of original equipment parts to North America, or were past PACE Award honorees or both.