Filed under: Etc. , Government/Legal , Ford , Honda , Toyota , Earnings/Financials While the headline might seem shocking, given the circumstances of the 2009 global economic meltdown, it only makes sense. Ford’s dealings with two of its biggest competitors were centered around mutual self-preservation in the form of trying to keep a beleaguered supplier base afloat, according to The Detroit News . According to the report, Ford , Toyota and Honda cooperated to buy from common suppliers in a bid to keep those parts-makers from going under, which would have threatened the automakers’ viability. That revelation comes courtesy of a new book, American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company by Bryce G. Hoffman. The auto industry is far more complex than many people realize, especially in this modern era, with ever-more demanding regulations and brutal competition from all corners of the globe. Tier One suppliers, as the biggest parts companies are known, have assumed much of the engineering and product testing and development work for new vehicles, even including big chunks of assembly. When times get tough, as they most certainly did in late 2008, suppliers are often the canary in the coal mine . At least 27 automotive suppliers filed for Chapter 11 in 2009, meaning that Ford had good reason for taking such precautions, referred to as “Project Quark” internally, according to the report.