Volkswagen has not specifically asked any other automakers to join its new online parts exchange, but the German carmaker has left the door open for interested partners to join.
VW decided it would not join the online purchasing network set up by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler because VW felt it would be relegated to the position of junior partner in that big alliance.
'That was a situation not acceptable to us,' said Emanuela Wilm, spokeswoman for VW in Wolfsburg. 'Our platform is open to others and we believe we can develop a better system with our partners.'
VW will use its exchange to buy automotive parts, tools and office equipment from suppliers in order to reduce costs. In certain cases VW expects to shave up to 50 percent off supply chain costs, said Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, VW board member in charge of procurement.
Wilm said VW does not expect suppliers to complain about having to deal with different online systems.
'We do get good prices from suppliers now but with this new move we expect even better savings,' she said.
Scott Upham, president of Providata Automotive, an automotive consulting firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, predicted that other carmakers will create their own marketplaces.
'I think VW is doing the right thing,' Upham said. 'VW is very European, and it has different relationships with its suppliers.'
VW expects to have its network up and running during the first half of 2001.
DCX, Ford and GM want other automakers to join them in developing a huge Web-based marketplace for automotive purchasing and supply chain management. They expect to have their marketplace up and running in June.
VW said it will develop its marketplace with technology help from IBM[[ i2 and Ariba.
Jens Neumann, VW board member in charge of group strategy, said: 'With IBM, i2 and Ariba, we have engaged the leading providers of e-market and supply chain management technologies on our side.'
Oracle Corp., one of the partners helping to develop the DCX-Ford-GM exchange, was not surprised by the news.
'We always assumed that there would be multiple marketplaces,' said Mark Oakey, senior director of strategic procurement. 'It's natural in any industry.'
The DCX-Ford-GM exchange, he said, is examining how it can link members to other automotive marketplaces.
'We can open a door and let you go to another exchange,' he said.
Procurement is just the first step in what the VW marketplace and any other online marketplace will offer, said Thomas Hawk, IBM's general manager of Business Innovation Services.
These exchanges are being created to shave cost from procurement, he said. But to grow they will have to do more.