By Klaus-Dieter Floerecke and Henning Krogh, Automotive News
Munich, Germany - German automakers want to buy more North American-built parts as a way to cope with the dollar-euro exchange rate.
In addition, the exchange rate is a large factor in Volkswagen AG's consideration of a new assembly plant in North America. Insiders at VW said they expected the car maker to deal with the dollar problem during its next meeting at the end of this week.
That could entail increased parts purchasing from North America or a decision on a new plant.
" Currently, there are inquiries from German manufacturers such as Daimler, BMW, Audi and VW asking whether we can increase the share of parts produced in North America," said Caspar Baumhauer, CEO of the seat heating supplier W.E.T. Automotive Systems AG
For example, the new edition of the Mercedes ML and GL SUVs are to be equipped with even more dollar-zone components than they have been to this point, Automobilwoche has learned from Daimler circles. Automobilwoche is a German-language sister publication of Automotive News: both are published by Crain Communications, owner of Urethanes Technology International.
In response, two suppliers - drive-train component producer ZF Lemfoerder and moulded-parts maker Benteler - plan to increase their deliveries of dollar-based parts for those US-built SUVs.
Luxury auto manufacturer Audi also wants to increase its purchasing in the so-called dollar zone.
Audi has sent out an inquiry to a number of suppliers asking whether they can contribute more parts from North America for the next generation of the Q7 crossover, starting in 2011. Audi is a unit of VW.