CHICAGO The near-term
outlook for business trends by automotive suppliers remains
very positive, and previous hiccups in the ability to produce
and deliver whats needed have cleared up, according to
the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA).
The groups March survey
put the supplier sentiment index at 64, down two points from
"Though North American vehicle
sales and production schedules are improving, gas prices, the
Iran nuclear issue, European debt concerns and the upcoming
U.S. presidential election are keeping the sentiment outlook
relatively level," the OESA summarized in a report based on
"Suppliers remain confident in
their internal and sub-tier supply chain strategies and
effectiveness to mitigate supply chain shortages in 2012,"
according to Dave Andrea, senior vice president of industry
analysis and economics. Compared with 2011, most OESA members
improved their understanding of production demand,
capabilities, capacity and financials. The exception was in
their ability to respond to long lead-time items. "However,
even here, the degradation was only slight."
Some 92 percent of survey
respondents feel confident that their companies will be able to
meet all customer releases over the next three months. Material
cost premiums remain the primary concern, with 58 percent of
suppliers expecting increased costs.
OESA members who expressed
optimism in the March survey cited various reasons, especially
stronger automotive sales in 2012. One wrote that it was
becoming quite clear that production of 14.1 million vehicles
this year is highly possible. "Even in light of $4-per-gallon
prices at the pump, consumers are buying," he said.
One of those offering a more
cautious view said that "climbing oil prices and a presidential
voting year have elevated my concern."
Half a dozen respondents cited a
slowdown in European auto sales and Europes sovereign
debt problems as a potential, if not actual, drag on their
business in the North American Free Trade Agreement region,
clouding an otherwise sunny view of the global automotive