Renault, the French automaker, and its Japanese partner Nissan Motor confirmed on Thursday that they will join the online parts exchange set up by Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler.

Renault will transfer its annual parts procurement to the exchange, despite Volkswagen's decision on Wednesday to spurn the US-based alliance in preference for its own business-to-business marketplace.

In announcing its decision, which had been expected, Renault said it saw massive potential in linking up with the US-based exchange.

"The business potential of the platform as a whole, including both auto and parts makers, represents more than $1,000bn," said a spokesman for Renault.

Renault said it anticipated considerable cost-savings from the development of further cooperation between manufacturers and suppliers, which would reduce the time taken to develop new products.

Renault and Nissan will form a joint team to work alongside the big three US carmakers in the development of the exchange platform.