• Siemens Automotive planned to use the SAE World Congress as a launching pad for its new linkup with VDO, the instrument gauge producer that Siemens is acquiring from Mannesmann AG. So Siemens reserved space on the show floor for it and VDO to share. Problem is, the deal hasn't cleared regulatory hurdles, so the Federal Trade Commission required Siemens to build a wall 17 ft. high separating the two companies.

  • When it comes to e-business, ArvinMeritor Inc. appears to be hedging its bets. The supplier is proceeding with plans to carry out its own online auctions in addition to participating with Covisint and other Internet trade exchanges. “Covisint has to compete on quality, service and cost,” an ArvinMeritor spokesman says. “If someone else is better, we will use them. We will use whatever method makes the most sense for us.” While ArvinMeritor is a member of Covisint's advisory committee, the company says it is still reviewing whether to become a member of the exchange.

  • FreeMarkets Inc. says it is burning up the Internet with online auctions involving several automotive suppliers. FreeMarkets, a 6-year-old Pittsburgh startup, says it has helped process $14 billion in transactions over the Internet since 1995, resulting in savings to customers totaling more than $2.7 billion. Although it won't say how much automotive business it has conducted so far, it does boast more than 15 top tier automotive customers.