If you want to understand exactly why Ford Motor has seen its reputation and market share erode in recent years, all you need to do is talk to its suppliers. That's what automotive research firm Planning Perspectives did as part of its annual survey of working relations between the original equipment manufacturers and their suppliers.
In terms of which U.S. automakers suppliers prefer to do business with, the top three are Toyota, Honda and Nissan, whose parent companies, of course, are based in Japan.
No. 4 on the list is DaimlerChrysler (the sell-off of Chrysler to Cerberus occurred after the survey was conducted). Moving up one notch to fifth place this year is General Motors, and bringing up the rear at No. 6 out of six is Ford.
While both GM and Ford have launched efforts to improve relations with their suppliers in recent years, only GM's seems to be working, says John Henke Jr., president and CEO of Planning Perspectives. "The Ford program has been a disappointing failure," he says. "This is unfortunate because Ford more than ever is dependent on the support of its suppliers to help in its turnaround."