Suppliers Rank GM Worst Automaker
Paul Sancya/AP
By James B. Kelleher

DETROIT – General Motors (GM), already locked in a public relations crisis because of a deadly ignition defect that has triggered the recall of 2.6 million vehicles, has a new perception problem on its hands.

The U.S. company is now considered the worst big automaker to deal with, according to a new survey of top suppliers to the car industry in the United States.

The annual survey, conducted by the automotive consultant group Planning Perspectives, asks the industry's biggest suppliers to rate their relationships with the six automakers that account for more than 85 percent of all light vehicle sales in the United States.

Those so-called "Tier 1" suppliers say GM is now their least favorite big customer, according to the rankings, less popular even than Chrysler, the unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which since 2008 had consistently earned that dubious distinction.

Suppliers gave GM low marks on all kinds of key measures, including its overall trustworthiness, its communication skills, and its protection of intellectual property.

The suppliers also said that GM was the automaker least likely to allow them to raise prices to recoup unexpected material cost increases.

"As a result, GM is now the least preferred customer of suppliers," PPI says.

Nissan Motor overtook Ford Motor (F) for third place in PPI's Supplier Working Relations Index, pushing Dearborn-based Ford into fourth place. Toyota Motor (TM) and Honda Motor (HMC) finished in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively.

PPI, which has been conducting the survey for 14 years, says supplier perceptions of automakers are critical because they can determine which car makers see the suppliers' newest technologies first, get their best pricing and work with their best engineers.

John Henke, the head of PPI and a research fellow at Center for Supply Chain Management at Rutgers University, said the Japanese sweep of the top three places suggested the industry "could be entering an era in supplier relations that doesn't bode well for the U.S. Big Three."

The reason: the Japanese automakers aren't just benefiting from a deterioration in relations between suppliers and the Big Three -- they are actually rising in the estimation of their suppliers.

Toyota and Nissan, in particular, saw the percentage of suppliers who characterized their relationship with the two automakers as "good or very good" surge.

GM, meanwhile, is in an especially unenviable spot, with 55 percent of the suppliers surveyed characterizing their relations with the automaker as "poor to very poor," up from 48 percent last year.

One bit of good news for GM. When the list of car makers was expanded to include the three German auto companies, which have a far less significant market share in the U.S., suppliers said Daimler's Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen were even harder to deal with.

But because BMW ranked second in the expanded list, just below Toyota but ahead of Honda, GM's overall position fell to seventh place in the supplier's rankings.

GM: Recall Tests Prove Cars Are Safe

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Introduction to Preferred Shares

Learn the difference between preferred and common shares.

View Course »

Managing your Portfolio

Keeping your portfolio and financial life fit!

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

I think these folk just about have it right….If GM disappeared off the face of the Earth tomorrow, I doubt that anyone would miss them….except for Corvette lovers perhaps… and there are only about 6 or 7 of them.

May 13 2014 at 10:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Same goes for GM dealerships, predatory parasites with political pull.

May 12 2014 at 8:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

First, Goon Motors and the Panderer in Chief destroyed thousands of American jobs, while robbing innocent Americans of their retirement income.

Apparently, it's now time for the mouth-breathers to pour a little salt in the gaping wound.

May 12 2014 at 7:40 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tru.liberal1's comment

Nice fox news spin tru. crack pot conservative, you must be really dizzy from saying that comment.

May 13 2014 at 10:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


May 12 2014 at 3:20 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

AOL bashing Americian companies again. Please send all your money overseas to help foreign companies, their children are much more important than ours. hope you all lose your jobs to the Japanese, they do everything better than we do.............right??

May 12 2014 at 2:21 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

Break up GM. It's too big for it's own good. This would have happened if the government had not stepped in.

My family and I balk at the idea of buying GM vehicles these days. Honda all the way for us. They never need maintenance, never need repairs, cheap to insure ($25/month from Insurance Panda), cheap to fill up ($25 thanks to GasBuddy app), and overall a pleasure to drive. Making a big deal out of nothing! but props to Honda to make sure all their bases are covered... what a classy company. A+

As for GM? I would never do business with them.

May 12 2014 at 12:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

They have been for the for the last 3o years!

May 12 2014 at 12:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kenneth Risher

At this point...buying anything GM is a public admission that you're a dumbass...

May 12 2014 at 10:43 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

What's new, most large companies are hard to deal with.

May 12 2014 at 10:34 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Harry & Fran

Sounds like no one can TRUST Government Motors since the infamous Hussein Obama/Pelosi forced American Taxpayer "BAILOUT". Then they build Millions of DEFECTIVE/UNSAFE vehicles GM and then DENIED and DELAYED proper Safety Recalls resulting in the deaths of at least 13 innocent GM drivers and serious injuries to others and their families. With GM's Negative Economic (over $12 Billion lost by American TAXPAYERS!) and SAFETY Record----WHY would anyone consider buying their vehicles?????

May 12 2014 at 10:06 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply