Busy time in the US auto industry

16 June 2009
Over the last year SM has written extensively about conditions in the US auto industry. A chronic drop in new car sales has been felt acutely by buyers and equally suppliers in the sector. The last month has brought with it a flurry of activity and in case you're a little behind, here's a brief update of the main events. General Motors has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and Chrysler has emerged from bankruptcy protection after signing an alliance with Fiat. Auto supplier groups have requested $10 billion (£6 billion) in government loans to support their operations. Amid all of this, the revolving door of senior buyers at the two Detroit carmakers has been in full swing. Bo Andersson, GM's chief purchasing officer left last week only to be replaced yesterday, by the internally promoted Bob Socia. Chrysler's CPO, Scott Garberding remains in charge after replacing John Campi in December, but is joined by new supply chain management director Michael Keegan. The dust will take some time to settle, if indeed there is no further upheaval. What has remained consistent during this difficult period is the importance of procurement and supply chain - whether central to cost cutting, or helping to support suppliers. Its fair to assume that buyers will feature heavily in the auto industry's recovery, but what role will they take? How can procurement help lead these ailing companies out of the darkness?
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