Among automakers with a big US presence, General Motors is the worst to work for, according to a new survey from Tier 1 automotive suppliers, conducted by Planning Perspectives, Inc.

The Detroit-based manufacturer, which has been under fire following the ignition switch recall and its accompanying scandal, finished behind six other automakers with big US manufacturing operations. Suppliers had issues with trust and communications, as well as intellectual property protection. GM was also the least likely to allow suppliers to raise their prices in the face of unexpected increases in material cost, all of which contributed to 55 percent of suppliers saying their relationship with GM was "poor to very poor."

GM's cross-town competitors didn't fare much better. Chrysler finished in fifth place, ahead of GM and behind Dearborn-based Ford, which was passed for third place this year by Nissan. Toyota took the top marks, while Honda captured second place.

PPI also surveyed suppliers of Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, each of which has considerably smaller manufacturing presence relative to the American and Japanese brands (there are only three US factories between the three of them). Mercedes and VW were ranked behind GM, while BMW would have been just behind Toyota.

According to Reuters, this survey serves to illustrate a big issue facing American manufacturers – Japanese brands aren't just on good terms with suppliers, but their relations are actually improving. PPI boss John Henke said the popularity of Toyota and Nissan among suppliers increased considerably, indicating that we "could be entering an era in supplier relations that doesn't bode well for the US Big Three."


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  • 45 Comments
      lrx301
      • 7 Months Ago
      I've heard the same thing as the article said, a lot of suppliers don't make much money from the car OEMs, or just get even, but why are they still in the business? just keep the volume of production so to make their plant open and pay the workers, however, they make easy money from heavy duty OEMs(truck makers) and defense contractors. Their relationships are much friendlier, the car business environment is brutal.
      b.rn
      • 7 Months Ago
      It sure would be nice if Reuters provided the data, rather than a simple ranking.
      Walt
      • 7 Months Ago
      Perhaps Ford and GM might fare better in dealing with suppliers if they had an additional $2000 per vehicle profit due to currency manipulation. "When Toyota came out and said half their profits are due to currency change of the yen, that's a big deal. They said that," Hinrichs said in comments to reporters after the speech. "When [Toyota President] Akio [Toyoda] came out in support of [Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe saying we need a weaker currency, that's a corporate policy statement." "Toyota and [Renault Nissan Chairman Carlos] Ghosn said we need a weaker currency and the currency got weaker," said Hinrichs, who has been taking on an increasingly vocal role as Ford's point man on trade issues. "Morgan Stanley estimated that the recent fall in the yen puts roughly $2,000 per export vehicle into the pockets of Japan's three biggest automakers." http://www.autonews.com/article/20140206/GLOBAL/302069911/fords-hinrichs:-toyota-japanese-unfairly-aided-by-currency
        phil_atio
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Walt
        How does an extra $2,000 per vehicle translate into better supplier relations?
        phil_atio
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Walt
        How does an extra $2,000 per vehicle translate into better supplier relations?
      Karfreek
      • 7 Months Ago
      The car company's that have good supplier relationships also have a reputation for reliability. Who would have thunk it?
        DarkKnight67
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Karfreek
        So, Toyota must not be on that list.
          SKINNYwithNOfood
          • 7 Months Ago
          @DarkKnight67
          Fail.
          phil_atio
          • 7 Months Ago
          @DarkKnight67
          Seems like they have been on that list for a while. I'm willing to bet if the title of chart in the attached link where lables Reputation for Reliability, the order of OEMs probably would not differ by much. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/toyota-back-in-1st-place-honda-drops-to-2nd-ford-maintains-3rd-while-gm-and-chrysler-continue-to-improve-in-annual-automaker-supplier-working-relations-rankings-122435193.html
        DarkKnight67
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Karfreek
        So, Toyota must not be on that list.
      owen brown
      • 7 Months Ago
      Now we know why GM cars are all crap.
      patrickbec
      • 7 Months Ago
      Since GM received 8 category awards in JD Powers 2014 Dependability Survey viz 8 for Toyota, and Buick led Toyota while Cadillac was just behind Lexus, it really doesn't seem that this issue has much impact on real world reliability. http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2014-vehicle-dependability-study
      bnekic
      • 7 Months Ago
      Big suprise
      Revis Goodworth
      • 7 Months Ago
      This is not surprising - before the taxpayer fraud that was the GM bankruptcy, GM was consulted with a plan by Honda, Toyota, and Ford that would have protected the suppliers in the industry with regard to GM going into privately financed bankruptcy and the pathetic company GM decided it would have no part of this and forced the taxpayers to underwrite the bailout of the UAW as the first order of business, to shuffle up to $10 billion back to China to expand GM operations overseas, and the rest would be used to save what could be saved of the worthless GM. GM torpedeo'd a plan that would have saved suppliers so it is not surprising that the new GM, now under the rule of witch mara, is a sad sack company to work for as a supplier or employee.
      diffrunt
      • 7 Months Ago
      Toyota is # 1 because it heeded the gospel of Edward Deming. He carried his message to US Big Three first, they said they couldn't afford it. There is a larger than life statue of Ed somewhere in Japan
        Kit
        • 7 Months Ago
        @diffrunt
        The big 3 scoffed at Deming and turned him away. Toyota took him in and the results speak for themselves.
        Trevor_k
        • 7 Months Ago
        @diffrunt
        Deming cycle ftw
      domingorobusto
      • 7 Months Ago
      I worked as an engineer for a tier 1 supplier for GM and Ford for a time, and this is very accurate. GM was horrible to work with. Their worst habit was making last minute design changes (leaving no opportunity to meet the scheduled delivery date) and then trying to pin the blame for late delivery on us and trying to make us take the financial hit. Ford wasn't a whole lot better, but definitely better. It happened all the damn time, which is why we stopped supplying the major automakers and moved to supplying smaller companies like truck manufacturers and defense contractors that were much easier to work with.
      eric.sales
      • 7 Months Ago
      It very simple the Japanese were not raised with a mindset of "greed is good and just" like we are in America. I've been to Japan many times and companies over there really do care about doing the right thing. It's not perfect but compared to American companies it's total day vs night. They have a true honor system going back thousands of years, from the local mom and pop rice shop to a multi national car company the ideal is the same "honor, respect and trust" GM has none of those.
        Jake
        • 7 Months Ago
        @eric.sales
        Americans aren't raised with a mindset of "greed is good and just" either. GM has long been an example of a company in which the accountants have run rampant with power. Not all American companies are like that. You just don't get headline stories about companies participating in good business practices. And as someone who works for an American company that deals with foreign customers and suppliers, I can say that their business practices seem different but are basically the same. Just different approaches to negotiating the best deal. Honey-moon pricing, over-promising volume, dramatic negotiating to gain price concessions. Europeans, Americans, Asians... we're all just business people.
      jamie_maynard75
      • 7 Months Ago
      Wow, what a misleading story! If you follow the pattern over a number of years, such as from 2009 to 2014, you will see that by far, the biggest improvement in score was Chrysler, which improved by 51%. GM improved by 33%. Honda has fallen by 15%, and Toyota by 6.2%. Overall, the company scores are much, much closer to each other than they have ever been, and there is not a large difference between them, especially compared with historical data. So, the real story here is that the Detroit 3 have made huge strides in their dealings with suppliers, and although there was a small uptick for the Japanese last year, their scores overall over the past 6 years have declined substantially.
        CaptTesla
        • 7 Months Ago
        @jamie_maynard75
        Easy to improve numbers when you are so far down. Still shows they need changes not cheerleaders.
        CaptTesla
        • 7 Months Ago
        @jamie_maynard75
        Easy to improve numbers when you are so far down. Still shows they need changes not cheerleaders.
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