The focus of automotive e-commerce is increasingly on customer satisfaction, according to many presenters at the eAutoWorld conference held in San Diego Oct. 3-5.

Michael Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, noted in his keynote speech that a new relationship with consumers is driving his company's online efforts. "Our research clearly shows that almost all customers who used the Internet in some way as part of their last vehicle purchase were very happy with the experience. They don't want to go back to the old way of buying a vehicle," Jackson said.

"In addition, the Internet has ushered in another new age of cooperation between the dealers and the manufacturers," Jackson said. "Both sides are finding better ways to work together to satisfy the customer."

Daron Gifford, head of Deloitte Consulting's automotive practice, told the gathering that automobile manufacturers are also using e-commerce and Internet technology to refocus on customer satisfaction. Gifford said the use of the Internet in procurement, manufacturing and distribution could reduce the average selling price of a new car or truck by more than $3,000.

"The Internet will enable carmakers in the U.S. and around the world to more closely align the supply of new vehicles with the actual demand," Gifford said. "Reducing the amount of vehicles being held as inventory from their current 50-70 day supply to, perhaps, a 15-20 day supply will save billions of dollars per year."