By Deb Austin The major automakers must forge ahead with their planned Covisint e-business exchange -- to win Wall Street's confidence and increase shareholder value -- says Brian Ambrose, national industry director of KPMG International's automotive practice. The professional services firm recently conducted a global study of automotive leaders. Efficiency benefits would prove immense, and the information flow would reap positives in car production and engineering, says Ambrose. And while parts costs would be transparent in a digital exchange -- a current source of distrust for suppliers -- this ultimately would lead to more efficient companies and a more robust industry. "Spending on the digital front will be necessary, even though painful. . . . The only good is the outcome -- an industry moving headlong into the digital age. The automotive industry can't afford to wait," Ambrose says. Plans for Covisint first were announced in February 2000 by General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., and DaimlerChrysler AG, later joined by Renault/Nissan. Covisint's temporary planning location is Southfield, Mich.