DaimlerChrysler Corporation has announced a sweeping Internet-based program that links its product creation and volume production processes to its procurement and Customer Connect network to gain maximum efficiency for the Company.

The program, called "FastCar," will allow DaimlerChrysler to leverage Internet technology, interconnecting the company's design, engineering, manufacturing, quality, finance, procurement & supply, sales and marketing activities.

"The 'FastCar' project is as ambitious as any we've ever done," said James P. Holden, DaimlerChrysler Corporation's President and CEO. "It will provide real-time transparency to the product development process, but, more importantly, it will dramatically increase the speed and precision of development, reduce waste and increase the quality of our products."

More than a decade ago, DaimlerChrysler redefined how cars are developed with its platform team approach, bringing all of the various disciplines -- product planning, design, engineering, manufacturing, procurement & supply, the Extended Enterprise®, finance, sales, etc. -- together at one time in one place. The next progression was the new Chrysler Development System (CDS), which focused on innovation and quality while reducing total costs and cycle time. CDS enables DaimlerChrysler to keep the design window open longer, while selecting the best product and manufacturing process decisions, aligned with market demands. Finally, "FastCar" is the e-architecture driving product creation, linking the CATIA pipeline with the business infrastructure. It provides dynamic, real-time, precise assessment of all metrics during the most intense phase of the development process.

"We've established the culture through platform teams, the process through CDS and now, we're adding the technology to make it all work at super-speed," said Holden. "We're not simply Web-enabling old systems, we're creating a completely new way to communicate information and data within our organization which will eventually replace the old systems. It's not unlike trying to re-wire a plane while it's in flight."

DaimlerChrysler has selected several technology partners to make "FastCar" a reality. Dassault Systems currently supplies the CATIA (Computer Aided Three-Dimensional Interactive Application) system software, with about 4,100 internal users and about 5,000 external users and i2 Technologies will provide the business integration software.

"'FastCar' allows us to manage change in a more dynamic way, both internally and externally," said Gary E. Dilts, Senior Vice President of DaimlerChrysler's eConnect Platform. "'FastCar' will allow us to do things faster and better. Project managers, at all levels, will be able to retrieve information about a product program as easily as one checks a stock portfolio online. Cost, weight, investment, timing, product planning, supplier and customer data will be available on a real-time basis from a laptop computer.

"During the life cycle of a product, there are literally tens of thousands of changes made. As a change is made, it may take as much as 90 days to communicate that change throughout the organization. 'FastCar' will give us the tools to communicate instantly throughout the company and its Extended Enterprise."