The heightened focus on accelerated product launches also might prompt suppliers to rethink where future factory lines will be needed.
"Thirty-five percent of vehicle launches will come out of Mexico next year," Robinet says. "That's a new reality. Most suppliers are staffed up in the Great Lakes area, and they have some capacity in Mexico -- but do they have 35 percent of their resources in Mexico to support launches there? I doubt it.
"The dynamics of a supplier being Detroit 3-focused won't cut any longer," he warns. "The D3 are going to be less than 50 percent of the production of North America. Those suppliers are going to need to expand their boundaries to other customers."
Robinet's research indicates that there will be 193 model launches in Canada, the United States and Mexico over the next five years, compared with 148 in the five previous years.
But 59 of those upcoming launches will take place in Mexico, almost twice the 31 that occurred there in the past five years.
German automakers in particular represent a change to the status quo, Robinet says. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volkswagen and Audi are all investing in new or expanded plants in the United States or Mexico. According to Robinet, almost half of the expected growth in North American production volume for 2014 through 2021 will come from German automakers.
Mexico is exerting a stronger pull on suppliers.
"It's clear the automakers are piling up investments in Mexico -- the North American as well as the Asian and European ones," observes Yann Delabriere, CEO of Faurecia S.A. "It's an opportunity."
But to be where the action is invariably means making new investments or in some cases moving production from one location to another. Delabriere notes that Faurecia had to close a seat plant in Bradford, Ontario, last year. The company moved production to several other locations.