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Old 05-02-2009, 03:11 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Chrysler aftershocks to hit industry hard

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The bankruptcy at Chrysler LLC is likely to soon be felt across the auto industry, disrupting production at plants of healthier rivals within a week or two, according to industry experts.

Chrysler will need court permission just to make payments of $5.3 billion that it owes cash-strapped suppliers for work that has already been shipped to the automaker.

But the bigger problem is that Chrysler is shutting down its plants for at least 30 days as it tries to complete its bankruptcy reorganization and finalize a combination with Italian automaker Fiat.

This shutdown, which could last as long as 2 months, comes on the heels of last week's announcement by General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) that it would close virtually all of its North American assembly plants for up to 11 weeks this summer due to excessive vehicle inventories.

Experts said these shutdowns almost ensure that there will be many failures in the auto parts sector in coming weeks. And those closings are likely to affect the production at the U.S. plants of automakers such as Ford Motor (F, Fortune 500), Toyota Motor (TM) and Honda (HMC).

"The aftershocks are going to be huge. We just haven't seen it yet," said Laurie Harbour-Felax, president of the Harbour-Felax Group, an auto research firm. She said she expects a couple of major suppliers with annual sales of over $1 billion to file for bankruptcy within the next week.

Calls to American Axle & Manufacturing (AXL), Johnson Controls (JCI, Fortune 500) and several other key Chrysler suppliers for comment were not immediately returned.

The auto parts sector employs more workers in the U.S. -- about 500,000 in the United States, than the automakers. In addition, most of the big suppliers have contracts with multiple automakers. And since most make unique parts for the automakers, their closing can rapidly halt operations at auto plants.

That was evident Thursday. Some suppliers stopped shipping parts to Chrysler plants shortly after the bankruptcy announcement, causing Chrysler to immediately shut production at some of its assembly lines.

The problems could next be felt at Ford and GM, according to experts, and could soon work its way through to the Asian automakers. Even if some of those companies are notcustomers of the suppliers that go bankrupt, failures could cause so-called Tier II suppliers who supply bigger suppliers to also go under.

"It'll be the domino effect. One supplier can take down another which can take down another," said Tom Libby, president of the Society of Automotive Analysts, which Friday predicted widespread bankruptcies in the wake of the Chrysler filing.

Spokesmen for Ford and General Motors said Friday that they have not yet had any disruptions in their supplier base, although they added they are monitoring the situation.
But supplier expert John Henke, president of industry consultant Planning Perspectives, said there is no way even the automakers can know how the disruptions will play out in the coming weeks.

"You're talking about thousands of suppliers and they can only guess how much they're dependent on one another," said Henke, who predicted that as much as a third of the auto supplier base could end up in bankruptcy. "There's a lot of risk involved."

Kimberly Rodriguez, head of the auto practice at accountant Grant Thornton, said that suppliers were expecting Chrysler's bankruptcy filing, but they weren't prepared for the announcement that plants would be shut for one or two months. The extended shutdown announcement by GM also caught them off guard.

And she said a federal loan program announced earlier this year for the supplier industry won't help that much because it only guarantees payments for work they've already done. It won't make up for the huge loss of revenue they'll now suffer, she said.

In fact, the orders suppliers have remaining from Ford, Toyota and other automakers might not be enough to justify remaining in business, she added.

"When they look at the math, it's not going to make a lot of sense for people to stay open," she said.
http://money.cnn.com/2009/05/01/news...on=money_autos
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Old 05-02-2009, 06:37 AM   #2
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Sounds like a broken system from the start...a some what quasi-monopoly gone bad. Still mostly just speculation though---we will have to wait and see. A message to Obama: No bailout money to suppliers.
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Old 05-02-2009, 06:44 AM   #3
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I fail to see how a company that is 1/4 of the size of GM or Toyota, 1/3 of Ford or VW, just over 1/2 the size of Honda and Kia and so on ... failing can have such a huge impact.
Chrysler are pretty low volume
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Old 05-02-2009, 07:05 AM   #4
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Because 99% of COO's/CEO's got one thing on their minds these days (and you really can't blame them)---its call TARP. They are all looking for a way to jump off their ship and on to a billion dollar boat ride. Should have just given the money to debtors in the first place and rolled these auto manufacturers up in one big special bankruptcy.
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Old 05-02-2009, 07:37 AM   #5
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This domino effect is exactly what many of us were saying since day one... and Chrysler is tiny compared to the damage that GM would do!
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Old 05-02-2009, 09:33 AM   #6
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I fail to see how a company that is 1/4 of the size of GM or Toyota, 1/3 of Ford or VW, just over 1/2 the size of Honda and Kia and so on ... failing can have such a huge impact.
Chrysler are pretty low volume

One problem is the way suppliers are treated. The whole net-30 (or, in the automotive industry sometimes net-120) thing.

Suppliers are paid after delivery. In many cases, WAY after delivery. It wouldn't surprise me if there are vehicles on the road already which haven't even been paid for yet.


Therefore, when a manufacturer goes under, the suppliers not only lose out on business but also lose out on all the shipped product within the payment period. The auto industry is built on loans, and when one part of the chain fails everybody else goes down with it.



Now, this is how lots of other businesses run too, and IMO it's a terrible system. Businesses basically ask all their suppliers to take the risk on product which they have no control over once it's shipped. The auto industry is just quite aggressive about it.
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Old 05-02-2009, 11:01 AM   #7
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Businesses choose to run like that; no-one forces a supplier to run on a net-120 system; they choose to do so as otherwise the big companies will go elsewhere for the parts.
IT IS A CHOICE, so if they get stung I do not have that much sympathy - if the suppliers come together; form some sort of organisation and all collectively decide that the contracts they sign with the automakers will all be net-15 or net-5, or cash on delivery - or even better cash before delivery - then there won't be much the automaker can do if every supplier expects that - the only option is to start to bring in all the parts from overseas (which is more expensive as otherwise they would already be doing more of it).
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Old 05-02-2009, 11:17 AM   #8
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^
In a perfect world, sure.
But I ran a plastic plant in QC a few years back that did some supply to the auto industry. The bottom line is that if you don't play by their rules, you don't get the business. I walked away from them once the contract expired, but I know a number of companies who didn't and are now trapped.

It's a flawed system, and is unique to the auto industry in it's liability. I don't know anyone outside of the automotive world who works like these guys.
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Old 05-02-2009, 11:27 AM   #9
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The bottom line is that if you don't play by their rules, you don't get the business.
If all the suppliers demand the same rules; where are the autos going to go?

The system is not flawed; if you don't like the contract terms dont sign the contract to supply the automaker - simple as that. The suppliers at the time felt that getting the income from the automakers was more important than having favourable contracts

Last edited by rypt; 05-02-2009 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 05-02-2009, 12:05 PM   #10
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^ I am not necessarily stating this as an insult, but you sound quite naive when it comes to business contracts.

The whole idea that "oh, just walk away if you don't like the terms" sounds perfectly fine on some internet forum, but that simply doesn't translate to the real world. If your company is in the plastic-parts industry, and based in or around MI and you need $XXmillion contracts to keep your employees on the payroll and stay in business, you are gonna sign pretty much anything to make parts for GM or Chrysler or Ford and have money coming in.

And as scary as it sounds, but those type of business practices are becoming more and more pervasive in all sectors of the economy where small suppliers will do almost anything for their big clients just so they can have some $ coming in.

At this point anyone can argue till they are blue in the face, but those are the facts of life. And as Chrysler falls, we are gonna see many other companies - big and small - hurt by this, even ones that aren't directly connected to Chrysler.
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Old 05-02-2009, 12:12 PM   #11
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The whole idea that "oh, just walk away if you don't like the terms" sounds perfectly fine on some internet forum, but that simply doesn't translate to the real world. If your company is in the plastic-parts industry, and based in or around MI and you need $XXmillion contracts to keep your employees on the payroll and stay in business, you are gonna sign pretty much anything to make parts for GM or Chrysler or Ford and have money coming in.

And as scary as it sounds, but those type of business practices are becoming more and more pervasive in all sectors of the economy where small suppliers will do almost anything for their big clients just so they can have some $ coming in.
I'm not being naive, I'm being realistic. It is your choice as the company manager/director to go down the route of taking on unfair terms rather than diversifying the business (or if you find that your business is no longer profitable closing it).
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Old 05-02-2009, 12:20 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by hypa View Post
^
In a perfect world, sure.
But I ran a plastic plant in QC a few years back that did some supply to the auto industry. The bottom line is that if you don't play by their rules, you don't get the business. I walked away from them once the contract expired, but I know a number of companies who didn't and are now trapped.

It's a flawed system, and is unique to the auto industry in it's liability. I don't know anyone outside of the automotive world who works like these guys.
Got to agree with hypa on this one. But its not as unique as one would think, it goes on in almost every industry. It is going to be rare, particularly in a tough economy, to set your own standards when it comes to doing business. The reality of any business is that even if you could get all the suppliers on one page, there is always one who would break rank to get ahead....and if not, a new one would spring up that would do net-180. Even in healthcare, Medicaid and Medicare most times only pay twice a year. Its hard enough to secure a contract (without being family tied or connected) let alone maintain one without kissing an exorbitant amount of arse.
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Old 05-02-2009, 12:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by rypta
I'm not being naive, I'm being realistic. It is your choice as the company manager/director to go down the route of taking on unfair terms rather than diversifying the business (or if you find that your business is no longer profitable closing it).
No, you aren't being realistic at all... you are being idealistic, and I am sorry, but that's not how things work.

And like I mentioned above, this is all a moot point right now because however these contracts were written up, the fact remains that many of these suppliers were on extremely shaky ground... and that was even before Chrysler's failure.

We are gonna see situations where a seat supplier (as an example) for Chrysler is gonna go under because they aren't gonna get paid for a recent shipment. Unfortunately that same supplier was lined up to make seats for some new hot model for GM. Except that now, GM won't be able to build that new car since they have no seats, which in turn huts GM's sales and puts them that much closer to failing too.



Oh yeah, and just to throw something else out there... Ford is in the best shape of all the US carmakers, but they too can easily get hurt bad by failing suppliers. Just like my example above, well what if Ford can't get a certain part for their new Fusion, or upcoming Fieasta models? That could quick turn them from being in a (relatively) strong position into a really tough one when those Fusion or Fiesta customers don't wanna wait till their cars are made and instead head on over to a local Toyota dealer.

Last edited by Hazdaz; 05-02-2009 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 05-02-2009, 12:30 PM   #14
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No, you aren't being realistic at all... you are being idealistic, and I am sorry, but that's not how things work.

And like I mentioned above, this is all a moot point right now because however these contracts were written up, the fact remains that many of these suppliers were on extremely shaky ground... and that was even before Chrysler's failure.

We are gonna see situations where a seat supplier (as an example) for Chrysler is gonna go under because they aren't gonna get paid for a recent shipment. Unfortunately that same supplier was lined up to make seats for some new hot model for GM. Except that now, GM won't be able to build that new car since they have no seats, which in turn huts GM's sales and puts them that much closer to failing too.

Except that the cars that Chrysler has built (but are not sold to someone) are an asset; so surely if the seat supplier want's their seats back bankruptcy court can order the cars dismantled
Or even better; give cars to creditors in place of pay or payment.
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Old 05-02-2009, 01:17 PM   #15
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The suppliers will very likely get paid albeit it won't be soon. Good liquidity will be able to help them manage through this situation. All in all as long as it's a restructure and not liquidation the suppliers will be ok.

As for those wondering why the suppliers will go down bc of Chrysler it's bc most of these suppliers are 75%+ exposed to the Dom 3 some proportionaly some more heavily weighted to F, GM, Dcx. Auto companies have a high degree of operating leverage. A 10-15% drop in expected volumes and they start losing money. The new domestics often refuse to give their business to these legacy suppliers with the end result that these guys are unable to diversify away try as hard as they might.
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Old 05-02-2009, 04:59 PM   #16
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There's a complete lack of understanding of bankruptcy laws in this article. Just as Chrysler will use bankruptcy to reorganize, some suppliers will be forced to do the same and yes maybe even a few will close their doors. But, restructuring through the bankruptcy courts is in no way a death sentence. It's bad news for stock holders, but the companies with viable business models will survive.

Also, what kind of idiot didn't expect Chrysler or GM to shut down for some period of time. One look at sales and inventory numbers made this an obvious decision.
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Old 05-02-2009, 06:01 PM   #17
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No, you aren't being realistic at all... you are being idealistic, and I am sorry, but that's not how things work.
Well, there are options for suppliers of plastic, etc. to not deal with the automotive industry. What seems lucrative at the time (Awesomez Dealz with GM!11!) can often cloud the real troubles at an automaker (net-120? These guys can't pay for a car part for 4 months???). Everyone who hopped on the gravy train in the hopes of riding awesome car sales also has to accept the risks of the industry. Sometimes a business has to accept that being a supplier for paint-bucket handles to paint stores at net-30 is a more stable business than supplying antennas to an automaker at net-120 (completely imagining here )

I agree that it was unrealistic to expect the supplier industry to enforce rules on Ford/GM/Chrysler at the time. But now that the auto producers will be on their knees, it's a great time for suppliers to leverage the contract terms.
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Old 05-02-2009, 07:57 PM   #18
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Well, there are options for suppliers of plastic, etc. to not deal with the automotive industry. What seems lucrative at the time (Awesomez Dealz with GM!11!) can often cloud the real troubles at an automaker (net-120? These guys can't pay for a car part for 4 months???). Everyone who hopped on the gravy train in the hopes of riding awesome car sales also has to accept the risks of the industry. Sometimes a business has to accept that being a supplier for paint-bucket handles to paint stores at net-30 is a more stable business than supplying antennas to an automaker at net-120 (completely imagining here )

I agree that it was unrealistic to expect the supplier industry to enforce rules on Ford/GM/Chrysler at the time. But now that the auto producers will be on their knees, it's a great time for suppliers to leverage the contract terms.
Yore understanding of auto suppliers is astounding!! I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:25 PM   #19
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Yore understanding of auto suppliers is astounding!! I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
Sure, but you have to pay up front. Then I will send you the Newsletter. Trust me.
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:29 PM   #20
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Sure, but you have to pay up front. Then I will send you the Newsletter. Trust me.
sounds good to me. where should i send payment to?
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:13 PM   #21
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Here is another thought, why is it that the suppliers for the Euro companies in the EU (Toyota build many of their EU cars in Poland) do not seem to be hurting as bad - even with factory "freezes" - as the US suppliers?
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:27 PM   #22
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Here is another thought, why is it that the suppliers for the Euro companies in the EU (Toyota build many of their EU cars in Poland) do not seem to be hurting as bad - even with factory "freezes" - as the US suppliers?
they are. It just that they have more cushion (twice the profit margins, as well as higher volumes to withstand drops) than do the US suppliers.

A lot of it simply has to do with the fact that there wasnt capacity that became redundant when the legacy OEMs lost market share.
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Old 05-04-2009, 12:16 AM   #23
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rypt, you should be a college prof. you would do well living in an idealistic little bubble.
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:54 AM   #24
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The reality of any business is that even if you could get all the suppliers on one page, there is always one who would break rank to get ahead....


Yeap. Unfortunately the only way to get good contracts sometimes is to take a risk nobody else is willing to take. Then you get this chain of people one-upping each other in an attempt to drum up business. The only solution is for people to be nice to each other and that's just not gonna happen.



And when all these one-ups are huge risks, the whole house of cards comes crashing down at the hint of a breeze, taking everybody with it.




EDIT: and regardless of the cause, the main thing is that the system happened and now we're paying for it. Nothing we can do about it but man up and deal.
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Old 05-04-2009, 11:25 AM   #25
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This domino effect is exactly what many of us were saying since day one... and Chrysler is tiny compared to the damage that GM would do!
I agree. When I pointed this out months ago (the supplier base crumbling) in simialr threads, I was told I was an idiot by a bunch of people with "bankruptcy experience" with "fortune 500" companies. The problem was all these asshats had no expirience in an actual automotive OEM supplier as I do. I've seen these contracts first hand, I see everyday how poorly our business is and how even worse out tier II suppliers are doing. They are already going under by the dozen. I work fulltime requalifying new suppliers to try to fill the void left by the mom-and-pop suppliers that have gone under. And you want to know something? They're getting harder and harder to find and we're being forced to either end that business or to go to overseas companies which pushes even more jobs and wealth out of this country.

Quote:
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^
In a perfect world, sure.
But I ran a plastic plant in QC a few years back that did some supply to the auto industry. The bottom line is that if you don't play by their rules, you don't get the business. I walked away from them once the contract expired, but I know a number of companies who didn't and are now trapped.

It's a flawed system, and is unique to the auto industry in it's liability. I don't know anyone outside of the automotive world who works like these guys.
It is not unique to the automotive market. Try again. Walmart, Dell, etc all pay their suppliers when a sale is completed. Dell literally scans a component when it is installed in a computer (on custom builds at least) and only then is money sent to the component manufacturer.

You are highly ignorant to think that this is only an automotive method of doing business.

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Here is another thought, why is it that the suppliers for the Euro companies in the EU (Toyota build many of their EU cars in Poland) do not seem to be hurting as bad - even with factory "freezes" - as the US suppliers?
The company I work for is a tier I OEM supplier to both the Big 3 as well as European and Japanese OEMs. ALL markets are down. Europe fell a bit after we did in the US, but I can promise you we are feeling equal effects in our European and Japanese sectors. There has been a small bump in volume due to the New Car tax credit whatever it's called program, but the out look is still bad there too.

This is not a mess that exclusivly effects domestic OEM suppliers. Get informed before you make points.
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