German suppliers are having to wait longer and longer for car makers to pay invoices,
the Handeslblatt news paper reported, citing a new study from FAW, the vehicle
industry research unit at Bamberg University.

A large supplier, who did not want to be named, told Handelsblatt that a look
at the ‘liabilities’ section of any car maker’s balance sheet
would confirm the study’s findings. These, he said, are tending to show ever-increasing
payments outstanding to suppliers.

FAW chief Wolfgang Menig told Handesblatt that the lack of cash flow
is preventing suppliers, most of whom are small businesses, from investing in
research that would produce the kind of innovations that car makers need.

problem was particularly marked in the case of German General Motors subsidiary
Adam Opel AG, Meinig said.

From the 700 interviews with automotive suppliers conducted for the FAW study,
Opel emerged as the worst late payer.

Meinig said this was due to the cost-cutting drive that the company has initiated
at the prompting of its U.S. parent.

But he added that Ford Deutschland AG also rated badly in the survey.

Meinig said the two American-owned giants have been singled out as bad payers
by respondents in every FAW survey since they began in 1995.

Meinig’s told Handelsblatt that U.S.-owned companies don’t seem much interested
in friendly relations with suppliers.

But he said the practices of all car makers in Germany were getting worse and
there was a clear tendency for them to use their might against small suppliers,
Handelsblatt added.

To view related research reports, please follow the links

world’s car manufacturers: A financial and operating review

of the German Automotive Industry