Alan Turfe, the Executive Director of GM's TradeXchange, opens this year's E-Business Automotive Europe 2000 the industry meeting place for e-business executives.

NewCo, the world's largest online exchange, is one of the many new E-business initiatives showcased at the event. Turfe is set to outline how far the big three have come in finalising their joint venture and will point out how suppliers can gain from it, an issue which has been causing a huge international debate over exactly who will profit from the giant exchange.

GM's group vice president of worldwide purchasing, Harold Kutner, recently announced, "Not only is it unprecedented for GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler to come together to form this type of joint venture, but it's also the largest Internet business ever created. Nobody will be better. Nobody will be faster. Nobody will offer more to everyone involved."

GM's Turfe will join senior executives from DaimlerChrysler, Renault, Volkswagen, PSA, Siemens and Valeo to share real-life solutions on the key issues with their industry peers and potential partners.

Event topics include: E-procurement, Business-to-Employee training, European auto retail and distribution and the 'Virtual Marketplace'.

The event website www.eyeforauto.com provides full programme information.

Attendees will interact with the expert group of speakers in Q&A sessions after the speeches, case studies and panel sessions. Free SAP and FirePond hands-on training workshops offer experience and innovative ideas for the senior level attendees.

Manufacturers from both sides of the Atlantic are pushing e-business because they're eager to reap a procurement efficiency harvest estimated by Goldman Sachs at $1,064 per vehicle built -- if today's red tape and time lags can be cut out of purchasing systems.

While the Business-to-Business online market has been reported to have the potential of swelling to $4 trillion by 2003, there are still significant entry barriers faced by European automotive suppliers.

"Costs, alliances and standards are all uncertain. The only certainty is that senior automotive industry executives must have an up-to-the-minute understanding of all the issues or face being left behind," says Vanessa Munoz-Molina, the conference director.

"E-Business Automotive Europe in Paris this June is the conference which addresses all the key questions and provides a unique platform for structured discussion and debate among suppliers, manufacturers and distributors."