TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp. hopes to decide by year end whether to join General Motors' web-based purchasing network, said Tadaaki Jagawa, Toyota executive vice president in charge of purchasing.
In the meantime, Toyota and GM will meet every quarter to discuss GM's invitation to Toyota to join its e-business network, he said.
He implied that the GM proposal caught Toyota by surprise. 'First we have to discuss what we want to do' in online purchasing, 'then how,' Jagawa said.
GM has aggressive plans for its Internet site for doing business with suppliers. It wants to conduct all of its $87 billion in annual purchasing on the system, called GM TradeXchange, by the end of 2001.
GM Chairman Jack Smith expects the US carmakers' Japanese affiliates, Isuzu Motors Ltd. and Suzuki Motor Co., to join the system. Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. President Takeshi Tanaka also has said that his company likely will join. Although GM has touted the cost savings it expects to reap from TradeXchange, Jagawa said the cost issues have been 'overstated.'
'We're not sure whether Internet commerce is good enough in guaranteeing quality, not just cost,' he said. He cited the problems of shopping via television, where the products received don't always match what was promised. Still, he did not rule out joining GM. 'The most comfortable way for us is to set up this system by ourselves,' he said. 'But we see some limitations in doing that, so we're considering a system with GM.'