Monthly Archives: May 2014

Asymcar 13: Pilgrimages and Fundamental Evil


On continental road trips, joys of rear wheel drive, diesel engines and autobahn speeds, pilgrimage to Porsche and BMW’s brand meccas.

How to understand the world through toy cars, from Matchbox to Hot Wheels, Siku, Majorette to Tomica.

Jim returns to the business of car distribution with an Alfred Sloan quote:

“Between 1923–29 the leveling of demand for new cars logically resulted in a change of emphasis in the industry from production to distribution. On the sales end that meant a change from easy selling to hard selling. Dealer problems of an entirely new nature began to arise.”

We consider car dealer data and discuss the “channel stuffing” origins of state franchise regulation. Horace reminds us that the current auto industry is constructed around production and distribution.

We close by reflecting on Apple’s routing around now defunct computer retail channels via its highly successful stores, just 13 years ago.

27mb mp3 about 60 minutes.

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Hot Wheels Majorette Matchbox Solido Tomica

NADA: 2013 State of the Industry Report

WardsAuto 2014 US “MegaDealer 100”

Polk Auto Industry Dashboard

Francine Lafontaine and Fiona Scott Morton: State Franchise Laws, Dealer Terminations, and the Auto Crisis.

Tim Cook:

(Inventory) is “fundamentally evil,” and he has been known to observe that it declines in value by 1% to 2% a week in normal times, faster in tough times like the present.

“You kind of want to manage it like you’re in the dairy business,” he has said. “If it gets past its freshness date, you have a problem.” This logistical discipline has given Apple inventory management comparable with Dell’s, then as now the gold standard for computer-manufacturing efficiency.