Honda Motor Co takes the top spot on rapport with its parts makers, according to a study that evaluates relationships between auto suppliers and six major automakers.
The study revealed that Honda has the best relationship with its parts makers and Ford Motor Co has greatly improved its relationship with suppliers.
Birmingham-based consulting firm Planning Perspectives Inc carried out the study, the eighth it has conducted so far.
The survey was carried out on 231 suppliers between February and April. The suppliers were asked questions as to how much they trusted their customers and how often customers made last-minute changes.
According to John Henke, chief executive officer of Planning Perspectives, it all boiled down to individuals believing that having good relations was worthwhile.
The survey comes as the recession compels cutting off revenue across the industry and both automakers and suppliers are forced to operate on low cash reserves in the wake of declining auto sales.
While Honda edged past Toyota scores for the two declined and Ford managed to take fourth place after Nissan Motor Co.
Chrysler LLC finished last for the second year in a row.
Ford's scores suggest substantial progress in supplier communication and helping them improve quality.
Ford's higher scores mean that it continues to cut its supply base from 3,000 in late 2005 to its target of 750 key suppliers. The company is looking to concentrate its purchases across fewer suppliers so ensure that part makers remain profitable with the business they get from the automaker.
Tony Brown, Ford's purchasing chief said the business was about profitable growth for all and in the end the company needed to be the customer of choice for its suppliers. He added that they needed to have a healthy business in order for it to work for them.
Suppliers said that Ford helped them get acceptable margins, with partsmakers more inclined to share technology. The Dearborn, Michigan-based company now makes payments upfront for engineering and testing rather than reimbursing over the life of a programme, according to Brown.
Relationships matter in the auto business as suppliers can help trim costs, improve performance and expedite work on new models, which often comprised 70 per cent of the content.
Toyota, with more than two decades of experience of manufacturing cars in the US, lost its first place after about a decade of enhancing its lineup to match its US rivals and reporting its first quarterly losses.