The new wisdom of the auto supply chain: "Caveat vendor" — seller beware.
Stellantis bewildered and exasperated suppliers when it quietly revised purchase order terms and conditions that would shift much of the burden of unexpected events to parts makers while requiring them to share annual cost savings with the automaker.
This is not how partners treat one another in what is supposedly a mutually beneficial, long-standing business relationship.
Over the past two years, automaker-supplier relationships have become more crucial than ever. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic idled factories around the world, followed by reasonably well-coordinated restarts. Then the global semiconductor shortage strangled output last year, demanding nimble reactions, constant communication and joint problem-solving to make as many vehicles as possible from the computer chips available.
Suppliers were wary of Stellantis from its beginning early last year. In Plante Moran's 2021 North American Automotive OEM-Supplier Working Relations Index Study, Stellantis got the lowest score of any company in at least a decade, as suppliers worried that the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group would create uncertainty between purchasing managers and suppliers over policies and program decisions.