As they seek cost reductions, carmakers have used online reverse auctions to cut auto parts prices.
The practice has drawn criticism from suppliers. They say carmakers sometimes use reverse auctions to see how low suppliers are willing to go on price - but don't award contracts to low bidders.
Covisint CEO Kevin English thinks the complaints may have some validity.
'Frankly, some of the OEMs may be doing market research. I don't know,' he said. 'It varies by company. Generally speaking I think the OEMs intend to award the lowest price, but it doesn't always go that way.'
With reverse auctions, sellers bid against each other to win business. And that causes prices to dive.
Last month, Neil De Koker, managing director of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association in Troy, Michigan, USA, said a code of conduct was needed to discourage parts buyers from abusing reverse auctions.
De Koker called for a code after the association learned that the number of reverse auctions far outnumbered the contracts awarded.
But English said a code is unnecessary. 'There's a lot more that goes into [awarding a contract] than the price.'