Four Japanese car manufacturers could be poised to join the Covisint global automotive online exchange, according to industry sources in Asia.
Reports in the Japanese business press suggest that Toyota, Mazda, Honda and Mitsubishi Motors will all get involved in the e-marketplace early this year.Denso, a parts manufacturer affiliated to Toyota, is also tipped to join.
Their involvement would be a major boost to Covisint, which already boasts the potential $300bn annual buying power of its founders — Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler — along with early participant Renault/Nissan.
Ford owns 33% of Mazda, and DaimlerChrysler recently purchased a similar stake in Mitsubishi Motors, making it particularly likely that they will join Covisint.
Adding the four companies to the exchange would position Covisint as the central online procurement hub for most of the major manufacturers in both the US and Japan.
European-owned firms have generally been more reluctant to commit to Covisint. VW is currently working with e-business specialist i2 Technologies to develop its own online supplier marketplace, and wants to create a European-focused web-trading standard for the automotive industry.
Covisint recently announced its own key technology partnerships with Oracle and Commerce One.
It hopes to appoint a permanent chief executive and set up offices in Europe and Asia soon.