A casual observer surely would have scoffed if he had heard a conversation that occurred on the floor of the recent Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit. After a speech about the importance of global sourcing, three observers marveled at the endless opportunities for purchasing low-cost auto parts from the emerging economic powerhouse of China. One suggested, for instance, General Motors Corp. probably pays about $150 for a headliner produced in North America. He ...

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