DETROIT -- Chrysler Group is using its next minivan to pilot a collaborative, no-bid purchasing system that guarantees favored suppliers a profit but requires them to open up their financial books.
Though "a couple dozen" suppliers are exploring the idea, Chrysler purchasing boss Scott Kunselman says none have signed a contract.
The system requires a lot of trust on financial matters between the automaker and many of its suppliers. Kunselman acknowledges that is a work in progress.
Chrysler has spent more than a year designing the successor to its Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans, which are due to be replaced by a single minivan in 2015.
A report last month in The Detroit News suggested that the current Grand Caravan could be continued for another two years. Chrysler has refused to comment.
The presourcing arrangements between an automaker and supplier are designed to allow both to cut engineering costs, build trust and improve long-term planning. They are common among suppliers at Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., but haven't caught on among domestic suppliers.
"This is really kind of a pilot," said Kunselman, 50. "In many cases, I think we'll have good success because we've had a couple dozen folks who have raised their hands and said that they were willing to take part in this. So we're doing that now."