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Abstract

The emerging electronic market space will change the structure of value chains and will - in particular - increase the presence of intermediaries so called cybermediaries. The paper examines the roles and functions of these new players and their impact on established distribution and sales channels in the case of the automotive industry. Two different automotive cybermediaries categories are identified: automotive service brokers and automotive information brokers. Their initial success indicates that they might become serious competitors to the auto manufacturer's exclusive distribution systems. Our analysis focuses on the impact of the Web in an industry, which is characterized by physical products and infrastructures. Based on this analysis and reconstruction of current trends in the auto industry, we will discuss strategic options for auto manufacturers using a blend of market brand strength mixed with the concept of an on-line community.