GM and Ford Face EU Suppliers' "Run on the Bank"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
gm and ford face eu suppliers run on the bank

The Financial Times reports the run on the bank scenario mooted by TTAC– bankruptcy-wary suppliers demanding cash-on-the-nail for goods and services– may be going down across the pond. “Troubled US carmakers General Motors and Ford Motor have been given a potentially devastating vote of no confidence by three big European credit insurers [Euler Hermes, Atradius and Coface], which have removed cover from their suppliers. The withdrawal of credit insurance – which covered suppliers against the risk of the car companies’ failing – has previously hastened the demise of a string of European companies, with suppliers to retailers and construction companies finding cover increasingly hard to come by.” The FT reports that the move leaves only three possibilities, all them swirling around a bathtub full of Not Good: “GM and Ford can start paying upfront for goods; they can hope their suppliers will trade uninsured; or they could be unable to buy the parts they need for car production.” [Thanks to Uncommon Sense for the link]

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  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Nov 14, 2008

    I'm just coming back from a big parts trade show in Beijing. This story, along with last night's downgrade of most American parts suppliers, is the talk of the show. My contacts in the parts supply industry report that business with the US, especially in OEM sales is "near dead." Trade with Japan and Europe still reported to be "ok."

  • Menno Menno on Nov 14, 2008

    Aren't the German auto workers all planning on going on strike, anyway? Of course, if GM and Ford go down worldwide (which I'd give 75/25 and 50/50 chances of respectively), then these workers won't have any jobs to go back off strike and work at, will they? Not to mention the supplier companies having the rug pulled by these three credit insurers. Certainly the supply of Audis, Mercedes, BMWs, Saturn Astras and Volkswagen Passats and Eons will pretty much dry up within a matter of weeks to months at the US dealers. Interestingly enough, I'd have to also guess that VW Mexico production could end up ceasing (or at least certain options could end up being temporarily discontinued at the least) - how much of VW's Rabbit and Jetta (built in Mexico) is sourced from German suppliers? Any more than 0% and you might see a problem! Same thing applies for US assembled German makes; BMW, Mercedes. The wisdom of the Japanese and South Koreans having close supplier ties may help them in this scenario, vs. the companies which seem to alternately send work to the cheapest possible suppliers and also ironically seem to use suppliers from their "home country" no matter the cost, for other components. Double jeopardy?

  • Highrpm Highrpm on Nov 14, 2008

    One key note from the linked article, but omitted from this editorial, is that most US suppliers already trade uninsured.

  • Charly Charly on Nov 14, 2008

    Big difference between GM/Ford in America and Europe is marketsize. In America they are still so big that for most suppliers the choice is between supply them and hoping that they will pay or not supplying them and closing shop. So in reality most suppliers don't have a choice. In Europe they are not that dominant so for many suppliers the loss of GM or Ford would mean a significant lose of turnover, say 15%, but it wouldn't lead to closing the factory Menno, Vauxell/Opel/Saab will be lifted out of General Motors if GM goes bankrupt (it doesn't matter if it is Ch7 or Ch11). The same is true of Chevrolet Asia (née Daewoo) And Buick. That is why the people who are for Ch11 are so completely wrong.