German sheet fabricators lambast carmakers

Production stoppages at carmakers’ assembly lines are currently causing massive fluctuations in call-off orders at sheet-forming German automotive suppliers. Their association, IBU, which represents around 240 predominantly medium-sized companies nationwide, has issued an urgent statement addressing the problem, following a survey among its members.

“OEMs are cancelling call-offs at short notice, not caring about problems for the supplier,” Kallanish hears from Bernhard Jacobs, managing director of the association. In terms of reliability, most members gave their customers a poor “E” rating, while more than 20% even opted for an “F” in the survey.

Production at almost 90% of participants in the poll is currently affected. Some 50% of participants in the IBU flash survey are so-called Tier 2 suppliers. Just under 20% fall into the Tier 1 category, and a similar number are Tier 3 parts suppliers.

About 70% of participants complain that manufacturers are not willing to share additional costs caused by production stops, with the exception of a few. The consequences are short-time work and wage losses for the employees of supplier companies.

Especially annoying for suppliers is that they have often accepted high purchasing prices for sheet and coil in order to remain able to supply their customers. “Although it must be clear to every customer that it is inevitable that rising costs must ultimately be passed through the supply chain,” Jacobs says.

Christian Koehl Germany