By David Barkholz, Automotive News
Detroit, Michigan -- Chinese automotive suppliers are likely to be buyers of North American parts companies as the industry faces 12 to 18 more months of depressed volumes and tight credit, said Dietmar Ostermann, a director with the management consultancy PRTM in Addison, Texas.
Chinese suppliers such as Guangzhou Automobile Group Component Co. and Fawer, the parts-making affiliate of China FAW Group Corp., will see opportunities to buy North American and European companies, Ostermann said. China's government is urging large suppliers to buy smaller rivals at home and to expand abroad, he says.
Guangzhou is a major player in interiors, a segment in North America that is ripe for consolidation, Ostermann says. Already this year, BeijingWest Industries Co. Ltd bought assets of Delphi Corp.'s brake and suspension businesses for about $100 million. The sale occurred before Delphi left Chapter 11 this month.
PRTM recently studied 357 suppliers worldwide to predict which will be buyers and which sellers, based on financial resources, management's history as buyers or sellers and other factors.
Of the 10 suppliers seen as best positioned to be buyers, two are Chinese, four are European, two are Japanese and one is Indian. Only one is American: PPG Industries Inc. German and North American suppliers were expected to be especially active buyers in the powertrain parts segment, the study found.
On the other hand, US companies were well-represented among the global companies likely to be sold or have major pieces divested, Ostermann says. The sectors facing the greatest likelihood of mergers, acquisitions or bankruptcies are chassis and electronics parts makers.
Ostermann says parts makers can be purchased for the lowest prices in years. He said prices are liable to remain low for many months as US vehicle sales rebound slowly.
He predicts that annual US new-vehicle sales will struggle to reach 13 million units within three years, while some analysts believe they will get to 15 million units a year by then.