Discovering Japan

Covisint opens branch in Tokyo to expand Asian presence

Tokyo  July 19, 2001  Auto-industry-sponsored e-marketplace Covisint took a step across the Pacific this week with the announcement that it had opened a subsidiary in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Covisint Japan, a subsidiary of the joint venture formed last year by Big Three automakers DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors, plus Nissan and Renault, will be headquartered in Tokyo.

"This is a significant step forward for our Asia-Pacific operations," said Luc Hovan, managing director, Covisint Japan. "We now will have the ability to conduct business in the region, bringing the Covisint solutions to the automotive industry customers from Japan to Australia and the sub-Continent to China.

The company said in a press release that Covisint Japan's small current staff at its Tokyo office will be expanded to support its growing customer base of Japanese automakers and suppliers. "The location offers easy accessibility to a number of our key customers, and serves as an appropriate venue from which to manage the region's business requirements," said Hovan.

"Formally establishing our Japanese operations in Tokyo signifies the importance the Japanese market holds for our company, and the respect we have for the leading automotive manufacturers and suppliers that are headquartered here," said Kevin English, chairman, president and CEO of the parent company. "It also reinforces our stated mission to connect the global automotive industry."

The announcement comes just weeks after Ford announced that it had recouped its initial equity investment in the online exchange, racking up $70 million in savings in 2000 by moving purchases and tenders online, according to an account in the Financial Times. Ford estimated that it would save an additional $350 in 2001 using Covisint.

Covisint, which now includes Peugeot Citroën, opened its European branch, headquartered in Amsterdam, in April.

Through the end of June 2001, Covisint had more than 1,000 companies registered on the exchange. The marketplace claims to have hosted more than 420 online bidding events, with more than $33 billion in transactions, as well as more than 20,000 transactions from 200-plus catalogues offering 2.5 million individual items.