Chrysler LLC's new global purchasing chief wants financially healthy parts producers and will look beyond North American shores for high-quality, cost-competitive components, as well as vehicle-engineering services.

John Campi became Chrysler's executive vice president-procurement Jan. 3 after spending more than 35 years in sourcing, some of it in automotive.

He spent the last three years at Home Depot Inc. working under Robert Nardelli, who was named Chrysler CEO in August.

Campi also worked in purchasing previously at General Electric Corp., DuPont and Federal-Mogul Corp., and for a while was a consultant for General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co.

On the sidelines at the Detroit auto show, Campi tells Ward's he is beginning to meet Chrysler's suppliers and plans to “spend a lot of time” talking with parts producers.

Asked whether suppliers should anticipate the current cost-reduction emphasis to change during his tenure at Chrysler, Campi says pressure is universal across the auto industry and won't let up.

“I've always found the best cost-reduction programs make suppliers more profitable,” Campi says. “I have to understand, as does everyone in my organization, that unhealthy suppliers will kill our business. We must find ways to collaborate and work with our supply base wherever possible.”

Campi also says he sees Chrysler as too dependent on parts producers located within North America. “It's too NAFTA-centric, if you will,” he says. “We have virtually nothing that comes from off-shore.”

As India and other developing nations educate a growing number of young, capable engineers, Campi says Chrysler must tap into that vast resource.