Ford's purchasing department has sent a memo to major Ford suppliers following Chrysler's Chapter 11 filing last week amid concerns over the wider impact of Chrysler's bankruptcy and production halt on the North American supplier industry generally.

In the memo headed 'Changing Competitive Landscape', Ford said that Chrysler's Chapter 11 filing 'will understandably heighten concern about the viability of the industry's supply base' and that its teams are monitoring the situation.

The letter went on to say that Ford would if necessary, implement contingency plans in order to 'protect its vehicle production.'

'At this point, we do not expect any immediate impact on our production operations,' it said.

A Ford spokesman told just-auto that the company is keeping a close eye on the situation for suppliers, but that it is confident there would be no immediate impact on suppliers from Chrysler's bankruptcy filing.

The letter acknowledged the interdependence of the US auto industry's supply base.

'Our industry is highly interdependent, and the health of the supply base is critical for all automakers,' it said.

Ford also invited its suppliers to get in touch if anticipating problems.

Analysts have speculated that suppliers will suffer as a result of Chrysler's announcement that all vehicle production will be suspended for the duration of its time in Chapter 11. They also caution that Chrysler could face a number of major difficulties ahead, including legal challenges and a loss of confidence among potential customers.

GM said last month that it is planning to expand the summer shutdown period at its North American plants, further lowering projected supplier volumes and revenues.

See also: US: More supplier bankruptcies seen after Chrysler fall