An Industry Case Study Of The Impacts Of Electronic Commerce On Car Dealerships In Western Australia


Peter Marshall
Roger Sor
Judy McKay


The study reported in this paper was undertaken in an attempt to identify and understand the impacts of electronic commerce in the car retail industry in Western Australia. Much of the existing literature in electronic commerce puts forward theoretical models and speculative argumentation in an attempt to describe and understand the electronic commerce phenomenon. In contradistinction to this type of approach, this paper reports on an empirical investigation of the perspectives of senior executives (CEOs and/or owners) as to their actual experiences of and beliefs about the impacts of electronic commerce in the retail car industry in Western Australia. These viewpoints and perspectives were elicited during face-to-face, semi-structured interviews lasting between 1.5 and 3 hours. Generally speaking, the executives interviewed are experiencing great uncertainty with respect to electronic commerce and its effect on their business: they are uncertain about its likely impacts long term (although not much is currently happening), they are uncertain about the ultimate magnitude of electronic commerce in their industry, they are uncertain about the costs and benefits of electronic commerce investments, but they are unwilling not to be involved at all. There appear to be few articulated and carefully thought-out business strategies driving their electronic commerce activities at this stage, nor is there much evidence of internal business processes being reengineered to accommodate the requirements of an electronic commerce presence. In addition, a number of drivers and inhibitors of electronic commerce from the perspective of these CEOs in the car retail industry are also identified.

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February, 2000

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