Global suppliers top the rankings for one- and three-year returns. Suppliers improved shareholder value a combined 47.6 percent for the 12 months that ended June 30 and 59.9 percent for the three years.
Suppliers also gave shareholders a decent second-quarter return, up 5.6 percent.
Investors' anticipation for business in China factored into some company returns.
Japanese supplier Tokai Rika Co. Ltd. had the highest quarterly return for the quarter, up 48.6 percent. The company, which makes turn signals and other switches, shift levers and climate-control modules, is building its fourth manufacturing plant in China.
Tenneco Automotive Inc. maintained the top one- and three-year positions, up 267.5 percent for 12 months and 305.8 percent for three years. The company expects to open an engineering center in China within two years. Tenneco also plans to add brake systems and filters to its product portfolio this year, plus shock absorbers for commercial vehicles.
All but four of the 41 suppliers provided a positive one-year return. Dura Automotive Systems Inc. provided the worst one-year and quarterly returns.
"Reduced automotive production, a heavy debt load due to numerous acquisitions, rising steel prices, rising interest rates and the uncertainty of the U.S. economy are all challenges for Dura," PricewaterhouseCoopers says in its analysis of the rankings.
Some suppliers need to diversify their customer base quickly, PricewaterhouseCoopers warns.
"Suppliers could see increased sales on the projected 4 percent increase in 2004 global light-vehicle assembly, relative to 2003," PricewaterhouseCoopers says. "This may not hold true for suppliers whose business is concentrated in the Big 3, as they are increasingly subject to the greatest market share pressures."
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. continued to hold the worst three-year return, down 65.8 percent.