Compiled By Jill Jusko E-business services provider Covisint and a consortium of automotive leaders are developing a data messaging solution that they say will improve communications among companies in the automotive industry and allow smaller firms not using electronic data interchange (EDI) to connect to suppliers and customers. The consortium includes DaimlerChrysler AG, Delphi Corp., Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., Johnson Controls Inc. and Lear Corp. Covisint says the new solution, when deployed in late 2003, will allow users to send and receive electronic data to applications located behind each other's firewalls. It also will support the latest Internet-based protocols, XML standard messages, as well as EDI (EDIFACT and X12) messages. Solution specifications are being developed in cooperation with the Automotive Industry Action Group. Founders of Southfield-based Covisint include DaimlerChrysler, Ford and GM.