By Bradford Wernle, Automotive News
Detroit, Michigan - A number of Chrysler llc suppliers are at risk of financial collapse within "days if not weeks," the company's senior procurement officials said last week.
The supplier liquidity problem at Chrysler is "becoming more significant by the day," Scott Garberding, Chrysler's chief procurement officer, said in an interview. "We've been having multiple instances arise each week for the last few weeks where we've had suppliers let us know they were out of cash."
Chrysler is working with those suppliers to negotiate acceptable payment terms and so far has not had a major disruption.
Sig Huber, supplier relations chief, said: "The number of suppliers ranked high-risk has tripled since the end of December. "We have roughly 45 suppliers in the high-risk category."
That represents 23 percent of Chrysler's purchasing volume. The company spent $38000 million on production and non-production material in 2008.
Huber's team is responsible for working with suppliers to solve their problems. In the viability plan it submitted to the Treasury Department 17 Feb, Chrysler said it hoped to receive 3 percent price cuts from suppliers.
In practice, that's not exactly how it's happening.
"We are not applying an across-the-board number to our whole supply base," Garberding said. "We are having individual discussions."
Huber said lack of liquidity is destroying trust in the supply chain.
"Suppliers are losing faith in each other," he said. "We're starting to see some sporadic disruptions intermittently further down the supply chain. That would be suppliers refusing to ship to other suppliers because they're worried about getting paid. As a result, confidence is starting to erode from the entire system."
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