General Motors' boss Rick Wagoner pledged closer co-operation with his retail networks in the keynote speech at the American car dealers' annual convention in Las Vegas.
“I've seen what has passed for communication between manufacturers and their dealers in the past, and I include GM on that list,” he said.
“We have recognised the need to do a much better job at communicating.”
Mr Wagoner, under fire over GM's decision to axe the Oldsmobile brand, said: “Major events like consolidation and the internet are critically important to us all. We must embrace change together.”
Harold Wells, outgoing chairman of the National Auto Dealers Association, said: “Dealers' entrepreneurial spirit proves false the misguided assumption that the internet – or anything else – could replace franchised dealers. Not long ago dealers were portrayed as dinosaurs. Today we're seen as retailing innovators who have successfully adapted to change.”
Last year 31 pure dotcom companies were at the NADA convention. This year they totalled 12.