Tuesday, 11 July 2017

A Car Part Supplier & Aston Martin

The Vanquish interior, a place of superb quality. Let's keep it that way AM

Car makers need to source parts for their cars, and with globalisation this could be from anywhere. However, the reputation of the car maker could be tarnished if the part proves to be defective. This has just happened to Aston Martin. How did it come about?

From what I can understand, AM got accelerator pedal arms from a British firm, who in turn used a Hong Kong company to source them. They went to a Chinese parts maker who ordered the Du Pont plastic to make the part from another Chinese firm. The material used it seems was not authentic, and the pedal arms started to break. A recall of 75% of AM cars made back to late 2007 has commenced, or about 17,500 cars.

I have a few questions. How can a car maker have quality control if out sourcing of parts is conducted in such a convoluted way? Was it to save money, and if so, why are so many parties presumably all taking a cut as they simply delegated the job? Why not use local reputable car parts makers, minimise those in the supply chain and keeping control of quality?

The consequences: AM have moved to ensure the correct material will used immediately and are looking to find a local supplier in the UK. Their reputation could be damaged and if so, it brought it on itself.

Car parts suppliers in China will have their reputations tarnished too, and frankly this is all to common with Chinese firms. Why would you want to buy parts from China for such an important product? This could have caused accidents, but thankfully it seems it didn't.

Summary: Why car makers outsource work in such a way that they lose contact with suppliers has me scratching my head. You could argue that AM got unlucky and their cars are top quality. However, another line of reasoning is that if a company operates in this way, there is always a possibility this will happen. So why take the risk? I wonder how many other car makers do this? I can only assume it is a cost saving strategy, but one that is flawed.

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