Six of the world's leading tire and rubber makers are forming an online marketplace for doing business.
Michelin of France and Continental AG of Germany, join U.S. tire giants Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. in the venture expected to be up and running by the end of the year. Sumitomo of Japan and Pirelli from Italy are also taking part.
RubberNetwork.com, to be an independent company, will run the worldwide marketplace, according to Monday's announcement. The plan is similar to one recently announced by automakers in the United States and Germany for online commerce.
The competitors will use the Web site as a place to buy supplies and, they hope, to cut costs in the $50 billion market. Goodyear spokesman Chris Aked said it was too early to determine the savings.
Aked would not say which computer companies were being considered to handle the technical side of the e-commerce venture.