WOLFSBURG, Germany Oct 18 Volkswagen
suppliers seem keen to avoid more disputes with the
company even as they face growing pressure from Europe's largest
automaker to accept price cuts.
Two German suppliers halted parts deliveries to Volkswagen
(VW) in August to protest cancellation of a contract by VW,
disrupting production and threatening the carmaker's recovery
from its emissions scandal.
VW, grappling with billions in costs from the so-called
"Dieselgate" scandal and a strategic shift to electric cars, has
said it will review procurement strategy to avoid any repetition
of the crippling dispute.
At a suppliers' fair in Wolfsburg on Tuesday, parts makers
sounded eager to play ball.
Christoph Kaune, key account manager at U.S.-based Maxion
Wheels which supplies steel and aluminum wheels to
VW, said cost-cut pressures at the German group are "extremely
high" and it is tough to get it to agree on compensation for
fluctuating steel prices.
"It's very difficult to find a fair compromise but VW is one
of our biggest customers," Kaune told Reuters at the
international suppliers' fair. "That's what really matters."
Marek Poskart of Canada's KSR International Co., a maker of
fixed pedal modules and automotive sensors, agreed.
VW is seeking to extract greater price cuts from suppliers
than in the past, he told Reuters, but the negotiations are fair
and KSR has started to improve development processes to better
meet VW's price targets.
"If your cost structure is plausible you will have no
difficulties with VW," Poskart, a sales director, said. "It's a
VW is not only squeezing down prices but has also reduced
orders, a sign of its push to cut costs by tackling complexity
in R&D, said Kai Rohrbach, a manager at GOM GmbH which makes 3D
scanners and software in Braunschweig near VW's Wolfsburg
"In the past they sometimes bought four to five systems at
once but now it's only about two at a time," he said.
When he opened the biannual event on Monday, VW Chief
Executive Matthias Mueller warned that carmakers and suppliers
would only together be able to cope with "the epochal change"
driven by electric cars and autonomous driving.
"We want to be successful with you together," the CEO said.
"That's the only way how it can work."
(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Tom Brown)