The downturn in the U.S. economy and automotive industry is taking its toll not just on the carmakers, but on their suppliers as well - or at least that appears to be the case, with news that Chrysler has sued Johnson Controls, a Fortune 80 company, for over $15 million in damages. Chrysler claims that Johnson Controls overcharged them in a "systematic and deliberate" manner during the length of an agreement between the two for Johnson Controls to supply batteries to Chrysler.

The issue concerns whether or not Johnson Controls had misrepresented the amount of lead being put into their batteries, and Chrysler alleges that Johnson Controls effectively shortchanged them by charging Chrysler for more lead than was actually put into the batteries, reports Automotive News. Tests of sample batteries revealed that the lead content was always less than advertised, often by several pounds in weight, alleges Chrysler.

While Chrysler has not yet commented on the matter, the lawsuit has been filed in its home state of Michigan against Johnson Controls. Johnson Controls is one of the world's largest companies, with stakes in a variety of industries, ranging from hybrid battery production to in-car entertainment.

Batteries will eventually become central to Chrysler's carmaking process, with every vehicle from the company due to be a hybrid someday.