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A leading auto vertical and Google sat on stage together this morning and provided some insight into how they might coexist. President Mitch Golub made clear that sales and customer service will serve as an effective firewall that will prevent his operations from being disintermediated by Google.

“The challenge for Google is in the sales component,” Golub says. “ has 700 salespeople. You need that level of 24/7 customer service to build that business.”

Adrian Madland, head of automotive strategic partnerships at Google, insisted that the last thing his company wants to do is acquire 700 sales reps. Rather, Google is about enabling universal search, which requires depth of content across a wide swath of verticals in a variety of media (text, video and so on).

Paraphrasing the ads for BASF, Madland says: “We don’t do verticals, we make them better. We are all about universal search. We don’t want to own content, want to help people build great verticals and direct users to it.”

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