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4ZF moves to buy TRW in surprise acquisition bid

There was a big shakeup in the automotive supplier market late last week, as Germany's ZF, a company well regarded around these parts for its gearboxes, submitted a surprise preliminary offer to purchase Michigan-based TRW Automotive, a supplier of safety systems, suspension components, and so on.

45Tier 1 suppliers call GM the worst OEM to work with

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.

AddDOE ready for more AVTMP loans, now focusing on suppliers

The Department of Energy handed out four big loans in the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program (ATVM): Fisker got $528.7 million (then went bankrupt) Nissan got $1.4 billion, Ford got $5.9 billion (both are repaying on schedule, as far as anyone knows) and Tesla got $465 milion, which was quickly repaid. When it was created under the Bush Administration in September 2008, the ATVM loan program had a budget of $25 billion. The four loans only add up to around $8.3 billion, so th

3Toyota, Honda top supplier survey with lower results, GM and Chrysler improve

Before financial Stargate opened in September of 2008 and transported us to an entirely new economic dimension, it was oh so common to read about domestic automakers hammering Tier One suppliers to lower their prices. Of course, suppliers are still asked to find efficiencies, but pre-2008, it seemed a point of honor to hold a supplier's feet to the fire. No more: in the latest Working Relations Index survey of suppliers by Detroit firm Planning Perspectives Inc., General Motors and Chrysler rock

23Two Japanese suppliers plead guilty for bid-fixing, will pay record fines

Two more Japanese auto industry suppliers, Yazaki and Denso, have been fined by the U.S. Department of Justice and four executives from Yazaki will go to jail, according to reports in the New York Times and Automotive News. Yazaki's $478 million fine and Denso's $78 million fine come on top of the $200 million penalty paid by another Japanese supplier, Furukawa Electric Company, last November as part of a probe into price fixing. Three Furukawa execs also were sentenced to prison.

49Nissan has a North American quality problem: suppliers

During the automaker's Quality Forum, reporters were told that Nissan had reduced "nonconforming deliveries," a euphemism for bad batches of parts from vendors, by 85 percent from 2007 to 2011. Yet problems remain, according to a report in Automotive News, with suppliers in North America – both the U.S. and Mexico – who account for 70 percent of Nissan's global nonconforming deliveries.

8Toyota still tops in supplier relations, but only just

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 repor

8How GM avoided its own disaster after Japanese quake

While Toyota has been one of the automakers hardest hit by the tragic Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters in March of this year, nearly every auto company on the planet felt its impact. Thanks to a global, tight-laced network of interconnected suppliers, manufacturers were left scrambling to make up gaps in the parts chain when Japan's manufacturing mechanism ground to a halt. As it turns out, General Motors took on the challenge of making sure as many of its plants stayed operati

11Saab production temporarily halted by unpaid suppliers *UPDATE

Yesterday, Saab was met with a slight production hiccup. The Swedish automaker's parent company Spyker Cars confirmed that production briefly ground to a halt at its Trolhättan assembly plant when a number of suppliers stopped the flow of parts due to non-payment of bills.

2Report: Visteon reaches pension agreement with Ford, eyes bankruptcy exit

Automobile parts supplier Visteon appears to be closer than ever to exiting bankruptcy after 15 long months of proceedings, with the help of the company's one-time master. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Ford has agreed to waive $268 million in pension and retiree claims, relieving the troubled supplier of still more debt obligations. Further, The Blue Oval will reportedly commit to another $600 million in contracts, helping the supplier exit bankruptcy with a bit more work in queue.

AddFrost & Sullivan: EV production could be hindered by shortage of battery parts

Nissan Leaf battery pack – Click above for high-res image gallery

AddSuppliers fuming over shift towards in-house production of hybrid and EV parts

Not too long ago, most automakers saw no reason to produce components like electric motors for hybrids or electric vehicle batteries in-house. That's what outside suppliers were for. This decision was largely based on cost. For major automakers, producing parts for hybrids and EVs on a small scale simply did not make financial sense. Now, as both the hybrid and electric markets have evolved and display a promising outlook for future growth, automakers have gradually shifted towards in-house prod

24Report: Ford, GM make quality gains in new supplier study

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

AddElectric cars a challenge for Japanese parts suppliers

2010 Nissan Leaf EV - Click above for high-res image gallery

18Analyst: Detroit 3 to be outproduced by foreign transplants on U.S. soil by 2012

If you think life can't get any worse for the bloodied and battered Detroit three automakers and their suppliers, you're wrong – at least according to a new study from Grant Thornton LLP's Corporate Advisory and Restructuring Service. The accounting and management consulting firm used data from CSM worldwide that forecasts U.S. automakers will produce fewer vehicles on U.S. soil than Asian and European automakers by the year 2012 despite an expected return to profitability.

22WSJ: Obama nixes auto suppliers' request for aid

According to The Wall Street Journal, President Obama has taken a pass on granting auto parts suppliers' request for $10 billion in aid, leaving the financially-strapped companies to seek succor from Congress instead.

2Tier-1 supplier Metaldyne files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy too

To the roll call of auto industry titans that have gone or are going bankrupt -- Visteon, Chrysler, GM, Saab, Karmann, ASC, Source Interlink -- we can now add Tier 1 supplier Metaldyne, which filed for bankruptcy for its American operations. Metaldyne makes metal bits for car and truck chassis and NVH components.

13STUDY: Toyota and Honda supplier relations suffer while Ford, GM improve

In the latest installment of an annual supplier relations survey put together by Planning Perspectives, Honda and Toyota have upheld their top positions in spite of suppliers describing downgrading them to merely "adequate." Still above average in supplier relations rankings (along with Nissan), previously Japan's two largest automakers were ranked "good to very good." Honda is still gets top marks for involving suppliers in product development and for helping suppliers lower costs and increase

21Who are Chrysler's top ten creditors? The answer may surprise you

Chrysler's top ten creditors are owed about $400 million, and the top two creditors account for nearly $130 million of that. The company first in line for payment is Ohio Module, which is a subsidiary of Hyundai Mobis, which is in turn a publicly traded subsidiary of Hyundai. Ohio Module makes chassis for the Jeep Wrangler and Chrysler has run up a $70 million tab with the firm.

14Toyota exec says automaker ready for GM bankruptcy

The world's largest automakers are intertwined in a myriad of ways and they need to watch their competitors in both good times and bad. When talk of a GM bankruptcy was first floated, the discussion of the effects naturally led to GM's suppliers. That discussion then led to what the effects would be on other car companies if a swath of suppliers was suddenly pulled under, and both Ford and Toyota indicated they would be adversely affected by a GM's fall.

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