GM overtakes Nissan on strength of relationships with suppliers

Nissan Motor Co dropped behind its top North American competitors in the health of its working relationships with suppliers while General Motors Co vaulted to third place in rankings released today.

Only two years ago GM's supplier relations were ranked the worst of a survey among six automakers in the annual North American Automotive OEM-Supplier Working Relations Index study.

Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co continued with their long run of first and second spots in the study which focused on the six biggest automakers in North America and was watched in the industry.

GM displaced Detroit rival Ford Motor Co to the fourth place and with Nissan falling from fifth to sixth place.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV avoided ending up last as it had done since 2008, despite a lower index score than in 2016.

According to study author John Henke, head of Planning Perspectives Inc, automakers' profitability was directly linked to good working relations with their suppliers.

Since the study started in 2002, Toyota had been coming first and Honda second on the study's OEM-Supplier Working Relations Index except for two years when the two Japanese automakers swapped the two top spots.

The study showed the results of surveys of 652 salespeople at 108 first-tier suppliers to the six automakers.

According to the study, GM had improved its relationships with key suppliers for the second straight year, and was moving up the rankings to its highest position ever in an influential study that graded automaker relations with key suppliers.

The Detroit News quoted Steve Kiefer, GM's senior vice president of global purchasing and supply chain since 2014, and a former Delphi Automotive executive, ''Our suppliers are so important to the success of General Motors. We need them to be aligned with our priorities, we need their support, we need their performance to be good if ours is going to be good. By all accounts, it seems to be going in the right direction.''