Frankfurt. In the wake of a corruption scandal, interior suppliers have their sights set on obtaining future contracts that were intended for Faurecia.
The French supplier is being investigated on suspicion it paid bribes to employees of manufacturers including Volkswagen and BMW to win contracts.
Rival suppliers are figuring that some of Faurecia's VW contracts will be spread across other companies.
"We stand ready," said one executive at a vehicle interiors firm, who asked for anonymity.
The source of the optimism is the fact that VW group Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder is calling for action in response to the corruption scandal.
In a letter to the supplier's parent company, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, Pischetsrieder has indirectly called for Faurecia CEO Pierre Levi to be replaced.
The French automaker owns 71.5 percent of Faurecia. VW is the supplier's second-largest customer.
PSA/Peugeot-Citroen CEO Jean-Martin Folz is also demanding "a thorough clarification of the case."
In addition, VW has filed charges at the Frankfurt prosecutor's office against "all possible persons acting to Volkswagen AG's detriment."
According to the prosecutor's office, Levi has admitted knowing about bribes paid to auto companies since 2001. He is now considered a defendant in the investigation.
Employees at VW, Audi and BMW, and possibly other auto companies, were allegedly bribed. Since 1998, Faurecia is supposed to have paid out 600,000 to 800,000 euros a year, or about $766,400 to $1 million at current exchange rates, to automakers' employees.
In turn, suppliers are increasingly criticizing automakers' practices in awarding contracts. An overhaul of the code of conduct between automakers and suppliers should be worked out soon at the automotive industry association, sources in supplier circles said. It would ban extra payments in the awarding of contracts.
You may e-mail Klaus-Dieter Floerecke at [email protected]