ASOTU CON Sessions Episode 13: Andrew Diffenderfer

October 19, 2022
Andrew Diffenderfer and Paul J Daly sit down to chat at ASOTU CON 2022.
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Andrew Diffenderfer and Paul J Daly sit down to chat at ASOTU CON 2022.

Andrew Diffenderfer is the Co-Founder at Foundation Direct.

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Paul Daly: 0:03You're listening to the ASOTU CON Sessions by Effectv recorded live in Philly. All right, here we are, again with another episode of ASOTO CON Sessions, by Effectv, I get to hang out with my friend Andrew Diffenderfer today. But I got the I got the luck of the draw they assigned them and I was like, yes. So thanks for spending a few minutes with me.Andrew Diffenderfer: 0:23

My pleasure, man. This is great to be able to have a blast here. I gotta give you credit, man. This is, you know, I was somebody was asking me today. They said, How do you know Paul? I said, you know, it's interesting. I remember when Paul was walking around at NADA blogging. Yeah. And just like literally that guy like getting industry like events. And I think it was either Google or still like, we're gonna Yeah, it was Google. And we bumped into each other. And then I left Google and started a company before pandemic and you were like, Hey, I'm doing this thing. I'm like, I'm in. Yeah, he's right. Let's do it.

Paul Daly: 0:52

Let's do it. I mean, there is this element of, you know, like one thing leading to the next. And I think that any successful company can vary. If they just put a little thought in, it can typically say, oh, yeah, that led to that, that led to that, that that's why we're here today. So here, we both are today, right. And this is the combination of you know, just just going out there and doing things in the automotive industry, trying to get people together to talk about the pertinent issues, that I'm not even that I see. Right, like, I see that there are issues, but it is more to get the folks like yourself and the savvy dealers to start talking about, you know, solving the issues that they're seeing in real time together. I put all that out there to say, um, what are some of the real time issues that you're seeing maybe even some that you kind of like maybe thought of while you were here or you know, something that the the the essence of the conversations that you're hearing that are real time?

Andrew Diffenderfer: 1:41

Yeah, you know, I think I've been trying to bounce around a lot. I think sometimes when you take a topic, you look at it, like, I want to go to this session to learn that. Yes. And I've I said to this one, I'm like, I'm not going to pick, I'm not going to walk but I'm going to go and like step in because I'm really ruling it. Yeah, like that's amazing. I was just in a session with with Scott and CMA. And I listened to Liza this morning, obviously came over to the session that you did it regarding OEMs. Yep. And, you know, it's kind of funny, we all do the the All Things Used Cars together on Fridays, which I love tomorrow,

Paul Daly: 2:11

tomorrow. I'm excited tomorrow person tomorrow morning.

Andrew Diffenderfer: 2:13

And last week, the you know, the theme that came out was kind of this collaboration versus competition. And I think the unifying theme that I'm hearing across a lot of the conversations, it's like, let's stop pointing the finger. Like, Let's enhance consumer experience, like, I'm tired of the word digital retailing, or, you know, I'm like like that, that got to be such a buzzword. And it's like, we kind of lost its meaning we reverted back in my opinion, and we had things moving in the right direction. But

Paul Daly: 2:40

would he be reverted back? You know, I

Andrew Diffenderfer: 2:42

think everyone was really like enhancing, like really thinking about their user experience. I mean, if you look at technology companies, which we do a lot UX is a big part of what they do, how does it feel? What does it look like? What's the what's the integration with the platform? And that came front and center? And I think you said it well, in one of the roundtables you're like, you know, it's it's really important to be able to evolve and take notes from where things are, you know, success leaves clues. Yeah, right. Success leaves, tons of clues. And we were talking about Carvana. And I think you said that, man, the photo game stepped up

Paul Daly: 3:14

bright, right. And then a lot of technologies sprung forth, right, we have a robot car scanning robot here today ASOTU CON, that literally came out of people beginning to say like, Hey, we need photos like that, because it's great for the consumer.

Andrew Diffenderfer: 3:27

And today, I saw an article it said searches for selling my car up 255% coming into into September. And I'm I'm literally like, I'm on dealer websites every day in my life. And I'm seeing photography and pictures not be at the level that I would expect when people are looking to buy and sell car, right?

Paul Daly: 3:46

You'd expect a like more, more strategic merchandising, right where you can see it. And you're seeing the opposite as

Andrew Diffenderfer: 3:53

Yeah. And I mean, I'm like, this is interesting, we have more technology available than we've ever had. And transparency has to lead the way with a lot of this. And we're kind of in a sense of like, well, we don't really need to photograph it that well, because it's already sold. Yes. And, you know, to quote Brian, which has been here having a great time. Oh, yes. You know, the best time to fix the roof is when the sun shines. So let's get really good at photos. Let's get really good at what we need to do now. And imagine that impact that that incremental impact that's gonna have in the business when things change.

Paul Daly: 4:22

Well, he said, it's funny, he I don't know if it was him. Or maybe it was Patrick Abad I don't know, but basically said, I hear that I hear my fellow dealers out there. Back when things were tight. They're saying, I can't make the investment. I don't want to do it now because I'm not profitable. And now they're saying I don't do it right now because I'm profitable. Right? Right. It's like, that leaves no time to do it.

Andrew Diffenderfer: 4:44

And it was talking. He was talking about the coffee. He's like, Well, we got all right.

Paul Daly: 4:48

Well, I can't do it now because I'm not profitable. Then we were like, Well, why would I do it now? I'm profitable.

Andrew Diffenderfer: 4:51

I'm not cutting into that. Yeah. You know, and it's just it's, I think it's gonna be interesting and I love I love having Tom dole here. Obviously, I worked at Subaru for two years I like the brand is near and dear to my darling brand is and you know, I still am going up to Michigan to watch him race and compete in the rally races. I still love it. But I loved his point about retailers flight. Yeah. Like, let's think of ourselves as a retailer. You imagine if it was and we compare ourselves to apple with the Apple dealership? Like really? What? Yeah, that retailer thing really resonated with me. And I think the points that as I said, these continuous themes of collaboration, I forget what room it was. But somebody said, let's, let's have OEMs here next year, and I would say yeah, like, let's actually have OEMs let's have some big tech. And let's have dealerships Oh, man, now you're talking like let's really get everyone on the room. And I want to hear why an OEM has a problem with potentially what some of the bigger technologies companies are doing. Because it's it's a very interesting and I understand how the retailers play into that, because at the end of the day, they are the final the last leg of the transaction, right. You know, it's, you know, the Amazon driver that drops off your package is the last Yeah, but

Paul Daly: 5:59

it's even more complex than that, like Steve Greenfield said it. I can't remember it was just it was just the other day said in the interview, he said, But Automotive is such a rare is such a rare industry where, in most retail consideration as you go down the funnel, you get more and more specific automotives the only one that as you get close to the end, consideration widens again. Right? So when you talk about a need for a dealer, who can actually help somebody through that, because you would think it'd be like, Okay, I get exactly what I want. But actually, the opposite happens.

Andrew Diffenderfer: 6:33

That's a good point. And Steve is brilliant. And the data points that he brings out, I mean, he's done that for years. It's just like a joy to listen to him kind of say, here's what I'm seeing. Here's what's going on. But it's so good. But it is interesting, right? And again, another one of the rooms said, the biggest thing you know, you and I buying a car, we're like, Dude, we've been in this industry for 25 years doing this, like, I'll swap it like if it's my car. I'll trade it. I don't need to drive it. Tires anyway. Yeah, exactly. So

Paul Daly: 7:01

it's like, Well, this has been the car's broken. It probably needs brakes. This age. Exactly. don't like the way that

Unknown: 7:06

works. Yeah, right. Right. But for 97% of the rest the console of the world, average age of vehicles 12 years on the road today. And then you look at the time I sold cars for seven years. And the what did you sell cars and in Pennsylvania? I grew up in Pennsylvania. I can hear the XR south of Harrisburg. And Greencastle. Yep. So I know this yoga family like we used to do a trade I worked at a Honda dealership Antrim Wuhan. Oh, no way. And we would do a trade cars with them. You don't tell that story. Now I know me. I started washing cars when I was 14. See,

Paul Daly: 7:36

now this is the problem. This is the problem, because people are gonna see you as a tech guy. And as an industry partner, or and then I worked for an OEM but like, Yo, I started washing cars, I sold cars we deal with training with some of the like, That's a great story. I didn't know that about you.

Andrew Diffenderfer: 7:52

Well, I joke I was a hydro technician. So wash cars. That was that was but no I I've always loved and still this day. I mean, I just love the industry. And I'm a gearhead, right. And, you know, the most satisfying days that I had selling vehicles was when somebody came in. And to your point, they're like, I want that. I don't want to date myself that Honda Accord, that black Honda Accord. I'll say what year my first car was on the court. And you're like, you know what, that's a really nice car, but you knew that they actually probably would have been better suited for something that was either higher or lower trim package. And you consulted them on that purchase decision. And it was when you when the customer came in said here's what I want. Oftentimes what happened was it was you never you never lined up because you didn't do your job to actually understand what their needs of the vehicle. Were

Paul Daly: 8:44

right. Like they could easily say, you might be like, Hey, you actually I think a civic would really be a good fit. Oh, they only have two doors. No, actually they're civics with borders. Oh, really?

Andrew Diffenderfer: 8:53

Right. And by the way, I can get you in something with leather and heated seats. If you take a civic and righteous $6,000 Less I just free Yeah, I just literally freed up almost 100 bucks a month for 120 bucks. I think there's trust built there. And, and to Steve's point, people flip the bottom because we live in we live in this society. We're on our phones, we see the thing, the websites skewed to what we may want to look at. We do a competitive comparison. Yep. And you begin looking at the data. I mean, it used to be in the stat that we always used to say all the time is the average customer considers five to seven brands of vehicle and they visit 1.2 dealerships don't ask me what the point two came from, let's say 1.5 Kids and prior to kind of the digital age it was you visited you can you consider one brand and visited seven dealerships. Oh, interesting. I didn't know that either. Think about the paradigm shift. Wow. So like my dad was going to buy the, you know, the Chevy S 10 pickup, right?

Paul Daly: 9:46

You're going to the Chevy stores. We're going to which ones do you have? Which ones do you

Andrew Diffenderfer: 9:49

get on 81? Yeah, and start south and we're away and just you know, we got off. Like, well, we might have to head back to Hagerstown tomorrow. Yeah, like, how long we can project that how long Are we doing this? And now somebody comes in they say I want stock number 2057. B, because that's the white Jetta where

Paul Daly: 10:05

to get my research, I watched a YouTube video I read the thing, what's the value

Andrew Diffenderfer: 10:09

of somebody says, You know what, like a lot of people come in and want that car here's the other thing. So I think I think you see that and that's where the retailer like to in my opinion, we keep talking about electrification and I keep going, what are dealerships doing to to prepare for it? Have you hired someone that works for Tesla? Have you had a technician come in and to understand the impact on low profile tires on a car that weighs 6000 pounds, and everyone's just super excited to do acceleration and see how fast they can go? This

Paul Daly: 10:34

is pretty fun, though. It eats up tires,

Andrew Diffenderfer: 10:36

which is a great product for us, right? For people who sell

Paul Daly: 10:38

tires. David Long was

Andrew Diffenderfer: 10:40

saying he had the Volkswagen the what's the ID for the ID for Yeah, and he said it was 7000 miles in the car needed tire? No way. That's the first car. It's a great car. And he was like, because they're just doing so many accelerations with it. That's fun. And you know, low profile tires driving through New York heavy car heavy car, right? You're gonna have your you're gonna have components. I mean, I'm excited about the future of where all this is going. But I think we as retailers, it's the well, they're making me get a charger that make me do this, I got to do this to my shop. You know, I have a dealer partner that we work with in DC. And they sell 35. US Tesla's a month. And they man and the customers love

Paul Daly: 11:20

it. And you know what happens when you sell us Tesla? You learn about it? 100% right. Just it's like, just get one. Just get a US Tesla. And guess what? Just having it, your people are gonna swarm it, right, you're going to turn it on, you're going to take it for drives, your technicians are going to look at it. And guess what, you get a little bit smarter.

Andrew Diffenderfer: 11:36

And don't we have to is our future is that a GMC dealership may have to trade in an F 150 Lightning, no doubt. So what are we going to do? Oh, call the Ford store. I mean, maybe you have one in your group called foresters. So we can I mean, there's going to be an interesting pivot here that we have to get used to him like embrace it. Now, like you said, you can you have the profits, you can figure these things out. You can build future customers. And you know, the other thing is that I love about like what Tesla's done, they've guaranteed trade value. If I owned a dealership, I'd be like, guess what those things are worth? I'll pay you more than Tesla's paying for the car in my store.

Paul Daly: 12:11

Wow. Well, Andrew, always so much fun, but kind of just pick your brain and kind of like volley it back and forth a little bit. Thank you so much for spending and spending some time with us on ASOTU CON Sessions by Effectv this

Andrew Diffenderfer: 12:21

happens next year.

Paul Daly: 12:23

Yes sir.

Andrew Diffenderfer: 12:23

Gonna be a good one. You got it. Appreciate all you do. Thank you.

Paul Daly: 12:27

Thank you for listening to this ASOTU CON Session by Effectv if you want more content like this, you can check out our other podcasts we have a daily show called The automotive troublemaker Monday through Friday. Here on podcasts also live streamed on YouTube, and LinkedIn and Facebook. We also have a long form podcast called Auto collabs auto collabs. And if you just want to go a little deeper into this community, you should sign up for our regular email we put our heart and soul into it. You can get it for free by going to We'll see you next time.

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