Speaker: Michael Bergmann
Title: eGM's regional director for Europe
General Motors may disband eGM, its Internet initiatives unit, once all its objectives have been met.
'eGM was set up to embrace the Internet and to make the whole GM organization aware of the importance of the web,' Michael Bergmann, eGM's regional director for General Motors Europe, told conference-goers.
'When that message is clear, eGM may be disbanded. I do not have a time frame for that but the sooner it happens, the sooner we will have been successful.'
For now, said Bergmann, eGM is concentrating on exploiting the full potential of the web. It is making sure all aspects of its Internet business are linked, and do not act in isolation.
It is working on e-retailing and build-to-order initiatives, and the development of GM's role as a founding member of Covisint, the online purchasing exchange.
The web unit's aim, said Bergmann, is to provide customers with 'the complete Internet experience.' For that reason, he added, GM dealers must adapt quickly to the new way of doing business.
BuyPower, GM's online car-shopping engine, is now operational in Holland, France, Belgium and Italy. It will be introduced in Switzerland, Austria and Norway early next year.
Bergmann said clear profiles of typical Internet car buyers do not exist yet.
'Many traditional databases do not seem to talk to each other,' he said. 'In this respect, the Internet has shown up the inefficiencies of our internal systems. Our challenge is to define the Internet customer and change the Internet business.'