DETROIT -- Despite the high-profile problems this year among some of the industry's largest auto suppliers, analysts say there is a group of smaller, healthy auto suppliers that are poised to emerge as industry stars.
These companies, which range in size from about $50 million to $200 million in sales, are prospering quietly, while much larger companies - such as Collins & Aikman Corp. and Meridian Automotive Systems Inc. - struggle under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
"My observation is we talk more about the losers than we do the winners," said Kim Korth, president of consulting firm IRN Inc. of Grand Rapids, Mich. "The winners like to stay under the radar screen."
Korth was one of six consultants and merger and acquisition experts who participated in a Crain's Detroit Business breakfast panel discussion in May sponsored by Crain's and Ernst & Young LLP. Crain's Detroit Business is a sister publication of Automotive News.
While much of the discussion centered on the formidable problems facing domestic automotive suppliers, these experts also said some companies are doing fine.
Those companies look something like this: Smaller than megasuppliers such as Delphi Corp. and quicker to react to volume changes. They also typically have a product with an edge, usually a technological one, few competitors and a clear strategy.