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Toyota taps Proxicom to primp its exchange

Aiming to escape the recent slump in the Internet consulting sector, Proxicom lands a multimillion-dollar contract to help redesign and redevelop the automaker's online marketplace.

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Aiming to extract itself from the recent slump in the Internet consulting sector, Proxicom today said it has landed a multimillion-dollar contract from Toyota to help redesign and redevelop the Japanese automaker's online marketplace.

Under the agreement, Proxicom is helping United States-based Toyota Motor Sales to expand features and options that customers can use when shopping on Toyota's site. Proxicom helps clients with projects ranging from the development of Web sites to the formulation of Internet strategies.

The project, which began in the spring, is intended to help Toyota improve its online offering of products, improve the sales process for the customer, and upgrade a wide range of services such as auto repair, financing and insurance.

The move comes at a time when a number of Proxicom's rivals, including Viant, iXL Enterprises and Xpedior, have seen their stock plummet because of anticipated shortfalls in quarterly earnings and growing disinterest from the investor community.

In recent months, most Internet consulting companies have been turning their attention away from dot-com start-ups to more established companies that are interested in signing long-term strategy and systems-integration contracts.

Although most Net consultants, highly regarded for their ability to attract dot-com clients, have already made the shift to serving the Fortune 500, some are still trudging through a financial mire. A number of investment firms have recently trimmed earnings forecasts for several Net consultants because of the overall shift. Analysts have said that the shift in clientele means the once high-flying sector will see slower revenue growth, as projects take longer to complete.

Reston, Va.-based Proxicom, which boasts big-name clients including America Online, General Electric, General Motors and NBC, said demand remains strong across all of its industry practices. The 9-year-old company provides professional services and development expertise targeting industries such as energy, telecommunications, financial services, retail, manufacturing and media.