Asymcar 10: Asleep at the switch

The orthodox vs. the unorthodox: Tata, Tesla and Toyota. Why might an asymmetric competitor lose and a symmetric competitor win?

We begin with Tesla and Apple. We continue with aluminum vehicles and re-visit information asymmetry as Horace exploits it to buy a Mercedes on eBay.

We talk about car APIs (Aux input jack and ODBII).

Jim muses on the risks used car buyers face from eye-watering transmission costs to the parallels between iPhone mules and American citizens recently prosecuted for flipping new German cars to buyers in mainland China.

A brief discussion considers the perils of endless line extension up and down the market, perhaps fueled by financialization.

We close by considering the track record and business models of recent “disruptive” entrants from Toyota’s Prius to Tesla and the Renault (Dacia) Logan.

33mb mp3 about 63 minutes.

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Notes:

A Capitalist’s Dilemma by Clay Christensen.

Silvercar Rentals.

  • Bruce_Mc

    Silvercar – note that Southwest Airlines became successful by buying and using only one model of airplane. This made maintenance easier, and it made route planning easier. There is no way Southwest could have the wrong capacity plane at a particular airport for a particular flight. Any plane could be used on any flight.

    One model of vehicle gave Southwest lower passenger costs per mile compared to an airline with a similar volume of passengers and a wide variety of planes. Silvercar should have the same benefits (as Southwest) compared to their competitors.

    BMW and Mercedes – are trying the strategy Samsung uses in phones and tablets.

  • Amir Kakhsaz

    When introduced, the c-class was affectionately known as the “cheap class” by the press/critics, and what would lead to the demise of Mercedes as a luxury brand. You’re usually pretty astute when it comes to history (I loved the Emil Jellinek reference a few months back! Another small tidbit is that the chief-engineer for Austro-Daimler in those days was none other than Ferdinand Porsche.), but history is not on your side on this one. My personal opinion is that all these sub-models and different takes on the same platform are essentially a low-cost hedge by the incumbents who are not sure where the market is going to go.