From supplier bankruptcies and soaring raw-material costs to global logistics and the eternal hunt for the best price, purchasing departments have become pivotal to the success – and survival – of North American auto makers. Ward's 6-part series stems from interviews with the purchasing chiefs of GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and Honda. Today is Part 6. Never known for complacency, Toyota Motor Corp. is convinced its bond with suppliers is not as healthy as it could be. So in yet another ...

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