Detroit automakers have a long history of less-than-rosy relations with their supply bases, while Toyota and Honda worked to keep their suppliers happy. But Detroit automakers have been promising to improve supplier relationships, and
a study published by The Detroit News shows that the Motor City is finally beginning to deliver. Scoring for the Planning Perspectives study is based on 650 purchasing personnel from 510 Tier 1 suppliers that rated six automakers.

Honda and Toyota are still at the top of the supplier study, and by a wide margin. But Ford has risen to number three in the study, passing Nissan for the first time in a number of years. In fact, the study shows that since 2007, Toyota and Honda's overall supplier satisfaction scores have dropped by 21 and 11 percent, respectively. During the same time frame, General Motors and Ford have improved by 63 and 31 percent, respectively.

There are a lot of factors that figure into supplier satisfaction, including pricing pressure and whether an OEM is able to meet or exceed its quoted production figures. A good supplier relationship is crucial because it can lead to lower prices, higher quality and increased investment in technology.

[Source: The Detroit News | Image: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images]