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When it comes to manufacturing and selling a complicated product like an automobile, a company's relationship with its suppliers is of huge importance. A good working partnership can translate into higher levels of reliability and lower cost as well as early access to cutting-edge tech. According to a new study conducted by Detroit-based consulting firm Planning Perspectives, Toyota has one of the best relationships with its suppliers among all of the world's automakers. The Detroit Bureau reports that this is the first time in three years that the Japanese automaker has held the top slot.

Honda came in just behind Toyota in the study, but Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have made serious strides toward improving their supplier relationship. In the past, the domestic automakers have continuously pressed their suppliers to produce parts with a lower price tag, which generated conflict. That seems to be changing, however. The Planning Perspectives study says that Ford may even overtake Honda and Toyota in coming years.

Meanwhile, Japanese automakers have seen their supplier relationships degrade over repeated recalls and other quality issues.