Asymcar 31: Better to Go Slow

We dive into the new thing. Can a well known brand do something new? Must the new thing stand alone? Must it have a new name, a new distribution model?

We evaluate BMW’s “i” initiative from both a strategic and tactical perspective. BMW, Ford and the other automakers have not a small number of new products and services, apart from traditional cars.

Jobs to be done appears again, as Horace expresses his single pedal “serenity” in traffic.

We close with a few quotes from Ford CEO Mark Fields.

26mb mp3, about 58 minutes.

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Notes:

Ford Credit Link Pilot

Ford Smart Mobility

BMW ReachNow

BMW DriveNow

GM Express Drive

Ford CEO Mark Fields interview, including “Today, the future goes to the company that makes the best products and collects the best data to turn into services.”

Apple heuert deutsche Autoexperten für iCar-Labor in Berlin.

Asymcar 30: The Big Bang Theory

We talk finance and other curiosities with Sviatoslav Rosov PhD, CFA, Analyst.

Beginning with Henry Ford’s “Old Fashioned Layaway Plan” followed by the launch of General Motors Acceptance Corporation, the Certified Pre-Owned sleight of hand and today’s auto sales finance and reporting controversies all shaped the industry. Finance is one of many vectors which tie the system together into what its is.

We once again explore the other vectors that might open disruptive opportunities for an entrant. Wide ranging discussion touching all the big points ultimately asking whether Big Bang change is coming. Or will it the big whimper?

31mb mp3, about 64 minutes.

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Notes:
The American Dream and Consumer Credit

Sviatoslav Rosov @ CFA Institute

twitter.com/srosov

Asymcar 29: Atmospherics

Horace and Jim begin with the industry’s rhetorical bubble. We consider the auto eco-system’s atmospherics on auto companions and quickly revert back to the reality of today’s manufacturing practices and industry lead times.

Horace notes the early development of steam, electric and internal combustion engine cars. We discuss the external assets that sustained the engines we use today and what might change in the near term to support significant electric vehicle (EV) growth.

We close in contemplation of Uber’s purported 100,000 unit S-Class purchase.

26mb mp3, about 56 minutes.

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Notes:

Uber seeking to buy self-driving cars.

Toyota’s Motomachi factory.

Building Cars Live: Episode one two

The Machine that Changed the World.

GM Buys Self Driving Tech Startup.

Cars will become personal companions.

Asymcar 28: Meaningful

Announcements arrive with regularity. Ford and Google reveal plans to cooperate on autonomous cars. Toyota’s aims to begin “precision mapping” roads. Ford zigs in another direction and eyes CityMapper’s terrain with its proposed “Dynamic Shuttle” service.

So much slideware.

Horace dives into the data. EV and hybrid cars currently represent a tiny fraction of the market. OPEC recently forecast that by 2040, 94 percent of the vehicles on the world’s roads will still be powered by fossil fuels. Bullish, Horace sees greater EV penetration, with modularity powering double digit market share.

Current auto business models trade a few points of marginal cost in return for double digit marginal revenue, resulting in brand explosion.

We await the Lamborghini SUV.

26mb mp3, about 58 minutes.

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Asymcar 27: Titanic

We consider the landscape that Apple’s purported Titan project will address in a few years time.

Horace discusses the pattern of disruption powered by Moore’s law. We turn to the transportation sector and consider the “reimagining” of the car. We further consider scenarios, from sustaining where the current players grow, to new entrant opportunities.

The conversation diverts a bit into the regulatory and taxation regime, specifically the fact that US road funding is largely tied to fuel taxes. We note the odd situation where an entry level car driver pays fuel taxes while a luxury Tesla driver does not.

We speculate on Apple’s possible “meaningful contribution” to transportation and the required product, customer experience, sales channel, price and financing options.

26mb mp3, about 55 minutes.

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Asymcar 26: The iPod

We begin a speculative show in Berlin, where a cab driver laments “young people arriving in the city to party and sleep on couches”. Might Berlin’s youthful visitors in 2050 simply crash in their autonomous pods?

Horace races forward and muses on a future filled with roving, autonomous Winnebagos. Jim notes that there have been previous attempts at such vehicles, particularly with 1960’s and 1970’s era vans.

Big data and algorithms run interference.

Will autonomous pod players be naturally limited to those who can create and maintain a global mapping system? Today, those organizations include Google, Apple and a consortium owned by Audi, BMW and Mercedes. TomTom supplies GIS data to many organizations and Uber has begun to collect mapping data as well.

We close with a bit of Apple gazing. What might Apple’s first car look like? What is its job to be done? Will it be influenced by the VW Beetle?

26mb mp3, about 54 minutes.

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Show Notes:

Ostalgie: wikipedia.

Winnebago.

GIS.

The People’s Car.

Fiat 500.

Smart Car.

Toyota Corolla.

Faraday wants you to believe it’s not a front for the Apple Car, but probably is.

Asymcar 25: The Selfie Experience

Selfie Ford Deluxe

Capgemini’s Mathew Desmond joins us to discuss Cars Online 2015: “The Selfie Experience, The evolving power of the connected customer.”

We begin with the finding that “One-half of customers are interested in buying a car from a tech company like Apple or Google. This is true even of customers who are
satisfied with their current brand and dealer experience. It is particularly true of young customers (65%) and those in growth markets (China: 74%; India: 81%).

Backing up a bit, we discuss the automaker’s dilemma, that is the legacy manufacturing, distribution and support infrastructure and contrast that with the “clean slate” approach an entrant might enjoy.

The concept and inherent conflicts of a “Master Customer Record” fuels a deeper dive into “Continuity”, the buyer’s desire for a seamless experience.

Finally, we reflect on the perils that may lie ahead as the auto ecosystem attempts to improve the retail experience.

28mb mp3 about 58 minutes.

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Show Notes:

Cap Gemini’s Cars Online 2015.

rocketfuel: How important is brand to car buyers? Summary.

Ron Johnson’s failed JC Penney transformation.

Onstar.

Apple’s Newton.

Asymcar 24: Get rid of the Model T men

!! Apologies for intermittent audio problems. I tried to minimize these in post !!

We revisit “Antennagate”. Should organizations hire people with industry skills and experience or capable, driven outsiders?

Horace shares tales from Henry Ford’s personnel practices during the Model T to Model A transition.

The conversation accelerates into a discussion of aesthetics and jobs to be done. We muse on Tesla’s development, supply chain, aesthetics and market position while contrasting that with Toyota’s introduction of the Prius.

We close with speculation on what a “meaningful contribution” to the auto ecosystem might look like.

31mb mp3 about 66 minutes.

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Show Notes:

1. Antennagate. Smart learners.

2. Model T to Model A transition.

3. From the American System to Mass Production, 1800-1932.

4. Freedom’s Forge

5. Marc Tarpenning (Tesla) Video Thanks to Steve Crandall for this link.

6. Amazon’s Top Gear deal.

7. Toyota hires robotics expert for AI push.

The i3 Long Bet, an update with incentives

Time flies. It was February, 2014 when I posted “The i3 Long Bet“. That article followed a brief drive and, several months before, a chance lunch with a “BMW i” product manager.

These memories returned to focus when driving past a BMW dealer recently. I noticed that several i3’s featured windshield offers. That observation required a u-turn and a quick study.

The placards displayed discounts from $5000 to $7,220 and monthly payments from $279. The i3 has joined – at least for now – the legacy car marketing party: “Cash on the hood” and “how much is the monthly“?

That said, the Leipzig composites have not yet joined the yellow or pink balloon promotion club. I’ve often wondered which color drives more sales.

Might Toyota Prius initial sales data inform our observations? They are similar:

Year Toyota Prius [1] BMW i3 [2]
1 3,000 1,477
2 17,700 16,052
3 15,200 9,846 (to June, 2015)

What happens next should be rather interesting, in light of ongoing rumors of a BMW and Apple arrangement.

My February post noted the not great i3 interior experience. Perhaps this is where Apple might begin to enter the game. Some have noted that a BMW / Apple relationship seems similar to Apple’s pre iPhone Motorola Rokr iTunes initiative.

P.S. I wondered about BMW’s view of lease residuals [3] last year (Residuals are an estimate of the car’s value at the end of a lease term. Getting this wrong can be expensive).

A June, 2015 eBay sale offers one data point, a 2014 BMW i3 with 3,495 miles on the odometer sold for $29,480. Cars.com lists 85 used i3’s for sale and 2,083 new models available.

The evolution of BMW’s i products is worth observing. Might the upcoming Frankfurt auto show illuminate BMW’s future i plans?

[1] Toyota Prius sales data.

[2] BMW i3 sales data.

[3] Lease Residuals.

Asymcar 23: “As as an industry turns to retro, you know it’s over”

Co-create. Design. Build. Shop. Creative Commons. Modular. Microfactories. New business models.

Horace and Jim talk with Matthew Gunson, Director of Brand Management at Phoenix based Local Motors.

We learn about Local’s business model, their view of automotive jobs to be done and the 3D printing driven micro factory. Automotive nostalgia and a detour into consumer behavior closes our conversation.s

26mb mp3 about 55 minutes.

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Show Notes:

Local Motors.

Volkswagen’s “California” Camper Van.

Bob Lutz: “Luxury in the “Modern Era“.

Local Motors’ latest 3D printed car project.

To sign up for the co-creation community
Localmotors.com and click “sign in.”

To learn about the Microfactory program.