Covisint Europe has officially opened for business: The company has been registered as Covisint Europe B.V. in the Amsterdam Trade Register. It will operate as a subsidiary of Covisint, L.L.C., the joint venture of DaimlerChrysler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Renault, Commerce One and Oracle. The headquarters staff of Covisint Europe B.V. will be relocating to the Dutch capital during the next few weeks.

"With the transformation of our project team into a company, we have taken a crucial step forward,'' said Lars Olrik, managing director, Covisint Europe. "We can now enter into contracts with clients and appoint staff.''

In the coming weeks, some of Covisint Europe's approximately 60 staff members will move to their new headquarters in Amsterdam.

The offices will be located in the Schiphol-Rijk Business Park. Offices in Stuttgart and Paris will be maintained for customer liaison. "The selection of the Amsterdam location emphasises our independence as an e-Business platform supplier for the automotive industry. The city also fulfils Covisint's requirement for global business management,'' said Olrik.

"Formally establishing our European presence underscores our global vision and reinforces our stated mission to connect the automotive industry,'' said Kevin W. English, Chairman, CEO and president, Covisint, L.L.C. "Having a strong European foothold is critical to our future success.''

Covisint was set up in February 2000 by Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG with the aim of helping auto makers cut millions in costs by collaborating with their partners and suppliers over the Web.

But since then, the exchange has been criticised for not getting off the ground fast enough.

A tiny fraction of the three founders' $US740 million in combined annual spending has been put through the exchange and critics say it will be a long time before any of the million-dollar plus savings are actually realised.

Nevertheless, Covisint continues to take the highest profile role in the automotive exchange area and its position as the dominant online trade exchange has been strengthened as other potential rivals - most notably the so-called S8 group of tier 1 suppliers - have concluded talks without any formal exchange structure being agreed.