General Motors could have avoided its unfortunate dispute with Inalfa Roof Systems Inc., which seeks reimbursement for its idled factory.
Inalfa supplied the sliding roof on the ill-fated GMC Envoy XUV, a vehicle that never caught consumers' fancy.
Believing there was a long-term market for the Envoy XUV, Inalfa built a factory in Oklahoma and spent an estimated $10 million, expecting to produce 500,000 units over four years.
But fewer than 30,000 units were built, and GM killed the Envoy XUV and with it any chance that Inalfa had to recoup its capital investment. So the supplier closed its plant.
GM denies ever announcing a production target for the Envoy XUV. But logic dictates that GM must have given the supplier some sort of projection, assurance or assumption.
The issue isn't merely whether GM bears any responsibility to suppliers affected by the cancellation but how to avoid this kind of debacle in the future. To do that, product planners must remember that if the dog won't eat the dog food, nothing else matters.
GM and its suppliers would be better served if GM produced more sensible forecasts so suppliers could plan accordingly.