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Congress panel will reassess auto e-commerce

Key facts
  • What: Automotive News World Congress

  • When: Jan. 14-17, 2002

  • Where: Hyatt Regency Dearborn, Dearborn, Mich.

  • Extras: Gala dinner Wednesday, Jan 16. Tour of the North American International Auto Show Thursday, Jan. 17

  • Cost: $1,195 early-bird registration before Dec. 1; daily fee, $695

  • Sponsors: Automotive News and PricewaterhouseCoopers in cooperation with ERIM Center for Automotive Research

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  • After the e-boom of 1999 and the e-bust that followed, the role of e-commerce in the auto industry raises many questions.

    General Motors' Mark Hogan and Ford Motor Co.'s Karen Francis will address many of them in a panel discussion, "Real and Virtual Sales in the Franchise System," at the 2002 Automotive News World Congress on Jan. 15.

    Hogan is group vice president of e-GM, and Francis is president of Ford's ConsumerConnect. They are the e-commerce chiefs at their companies.

    Hogan was appointed in August 1999. He was responsible for con-

    solidating GM's myriad Web sites into one functioning body and bringing more shopping traffic to the site,

    GMBuyPower.com. In the past 24 months, GM dealers have sold more than 984,000 vehicles through GM BuyPower leads. About 68,000 are considered to be conquest sales, sales to previous non-GM owners, Hogan said.

    Hogan has headed experimental initiatives, such as building Oldsmobile Aleros to order and delivering them to customers within 30 days. He also oversees GM's OnStar operations.

    Hogan has broad experience at GM. From 1992 to 1997, he was managing director of GM do Brasil. In his next position, as general manager for GM's Small Car Operations in North America, he spearheaded Project Yellowstone, a plan to cut costs by building modular assembly plants in the United States. GM abandoned the project after UAW objections.

    Karen Francis also has a wide range of experience, much of it outside the auto industry.

    She joined Ford in April. She is

    responsible for improving Ford's Internet strategies in the business-to-business and business-to-consu-

    mer areas. She is also in charge of telematics, build-to-order initiatives, Ford's role in Covisint and all on-

    line retailing activities. Those include Ford's online shopping portal with its dealers,


    Francis' expertise in brand management at Procter & Gamble led her to Chevrolet in 1996.

    Two years later she became general manager at Oldsmobile, where she led an effort to redefine the brand and target a younger audience.

    In 2000, Francis moved to the Internet Capital Group. She was managing director in charge of assessing proposals from startup companies seeking venture capital.

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