Volkswagen AG is the latest automaker to start sweet-talking suppliers.
The German automaker said last week that it wants to form long-term relationships with its suppliers. The goal: to get access to new technology and cut costs by bringing suppliers in early on new product programs. The downside: VW will use fewer suppliers.
VW's move is similar to an effort launched in September by Ford Motor Co. Ford also wants to use fewer suppliers and have long-term relationships to help cut costs and get the first look at new technologies.
Both automakers are shifting gears from a strategy of having many suppliers bid for work, which helps drive the price down. The new strategy is intended to develop relationships like those many Japanese automakers foster with their suppliers.