Too often, it seems, dealers and suppliers have a confrontational relationship with the automaker that should be their partner.
From my years overseeing Automotive News’ coverage first of suppliers and now of dealers, I’ve learned that when that relationship instead is a healthy, positive one, it’s usually due to one of two reasons:
1. It is ingrained in the automaker’s culture to treat its dealers and suppliers as partners, with respect. Think Toyota.
2. Or, one individual at the automaker has made an incredible difference. For automaker-supplier relations, it usually comes down to a top purchasing chief who has worked very hard and very deliberately to change the tenor of the relationship.
Those individuals are rare. On Sunday night, one of them was recognized for his work in dealer relations.