DETROIT - Auto suppliers long have preferred to work with Japanese automakers rather than with the Big 3. Those feelings have grown even stronger.
In 17 measures ranging from trust to perceived opportunity to make acceptable profits, Japanese automakers consistently outperform U.S. automakers, according to an annual survey of supplier attitudes toward the six biggest auto manufacturers in North America.
What's more, the 2003 survey shows Toyota, Honda and Nissan climbing even higher in suppliers' eyes. Ford Motor Co. and General Motors slipped, while the Chrysler group gained slightly. (See box, Page 50.) Generally, the Japanese are known for taking a more cooperative approach with their suppliers than the Big 3.
The results, to be released today, May 12, are certain to add fuel to one of the most contentious questions facing the industry: How much does the nature of an automaker's relationship with its suppliers hurt or help the automaker's performance? The issue has become more important as the Big 3 continue to lose U.S. market share to their Japanese competitors.