Ford Making Big Cut To Salaried Workforce, An Early Cybertruck, Amazon Sues Fake Reviewers

July 21, 2022
Today we’re talking about a major cut in salaried positions at Ford, the Q2 Tesla investor call that gave some insight into when Tesla’s Cybertruck may be entering the market, and a legal move by Amazon intended to keep global site reviews honest.
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Ford to cut 8,000 jobs from Ford Blue and other salaried positions to grow profits

  • CEO Jim Farley said the company is not being competitive on cost and “under earn” on both ICE and EVs according to a Bloomberg report
  • Ford employs 31,000 people in the US where the vast majority of the cuts are going to be made
  • Previously, Farley has stated his intention to cut $3 Billion in costs by 2026 as he wants to make Ford Blue the primary cash engine for the entire business
  • Take Away: Lean and profitable seems to be a common, post pandemic trend

Tesla’s Cybertruck may see first deliveries as early as mid - 2023

  • On an investor webcast, CEO Elon Musk delivered the news. The last time the Cybertruck delivery was mentioned was in the Q4 report from 2022 when Musk said, “Hopefully next year”
  • Profits rose while revenue declined
  • Tesla converted 75% of it’s Bitcoin holdings to cash adding just under $1 Billion in liquid capital
  • You can check out the most recent shareholder deck here
  • Take Away: Underpromise, overdeliver…but we’ll see

Amazon sues thousands of FB groups soliciting fake product reviews

  • Over 10,000 lawsuits were filed yesterday against the administrators of FB groups who solicit and incentivize other users to leave fake reviews on Amazon sites across the globe
  • “Our teams stop millions of suspicious reviews before they’re ever seen by customers, and this lawsuit goes a step further to uncover perpetrators operating on social media,” Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s vice president of selling partner services, said in a statement. “Proactive legal action targeting bad actors is one of many ways we protect customers by holding bad actors accountable.”
  • Earlier this year, Meta identified and removed one such group that had over 43,000 users who had been dodging detection by removing letters when spelling words that might trigger further investigation
  • Take Away: Consumers typically trust one another and keeping reviews plentiful and clean is an important step in retailing


Kyle Mountsier, Paul Daly

Paul Daly  00:24

Yo, what is up Thursday, July 21? I love Thursday for some reason today we're talking about Ford, making big, big cuts to their staff. cybertruck Maybe a little early Amazon suing fake reviewers in a brand new podcast that people really want to know. Now Amazon got a brand new podcast from Amazon. It's actually

Kyle Mountsier  00:44

new. Brand new podcast is what it sounded like. Yeah, is not the way it

Paul Daly  00:51

is. Now we asotu is launching a brand new podcast today called Auto collabs. We've been talking about this a little bit. Auto collabs by Soto is going to be hosted by the two of the two handsome gentlemen you see on the screen, and a handsome or gentleman named Behance, Michael Cirillo, host of the wildly popular dealer playbook podcast has been going on way longer than this one has been going on. Did you know Kyle? It is listened to in 70 countries across the globe? Are you setting zero on for real for real? Now he's he's an OG. So the three of us converged on Philly to record a bunch of initial episodes, we have dozens of interviews coming to you. So this morning show that we have higher energy. The next one is like there's a lot of laughs let me just put it that

Kyle Mountsier  01:43

way. We don't start to shy away from like the levity, but it's gonna be kind of pulled back. Really, you know, I think that the interesting thing is, a lot of times like this is like, we hit each other. And the interesting thing about even just the first episode is there's just a little bit more space to think and consider and have like a little conversation like you would see in in another space. So yeah, yeah.

Paul Daly  02:10

So we're gonna be launching that actually, Episode 00 is launched, you can go to auto and or just searching on Apple podcasts or Spotify or overcast right now it's gonna be on a bunch of other platforms. But you know, we move fast around here. So yesterday was like we're getting this live. We went to Philly recorded some episodes, Episode 00 is, is a full length episode, where we talk about the spirit behind why we're doing what we're doing. Talk a little bit about ourselves. We definitely make fun of each other a lot. And there's one point where I was trying not to cry, because I think I lost it at one point. I just

Kyle Mountsier  02:43

busted up. Oh, man, look. Yeah, it's and the thing is, is like you and I were were decent at the at the jabs. But so really, yeah, next level reloads and are just unbelievable. So yeah, you have a lot of fun. Listen to it.

Paul Daly  02:58

You know what it's like when you play like basketball with someone that's better than you all of a sudden you you play better antenna comes up. Yeah, I think Cirilo being in the room over like, oh, it's gonna be like that. Okay. Well. We hope, Oh, yeah. So we hope you check out the autocollabs podcast, and we have dozens and dozens of guests. So the format is going to be we're going to have a little bit of an intro to the guests, the three of us together, then we're going to do an interview, long form interview from some of the best brightest in the auto industry, outside the automotive industry, dealers, industry partners, and we're going to go a level deeper, you might have heard a lot of these people before on different podcasts, but we're gonna get get a little bit different, angry, some different angles in there. And at the end, we're going to come back and give you some commentary on what we heard after a little bit of time thinking about it. So we think it'd be a different texture. We hope that it helps bridge the gap between dealers, and industry partners, and OEMs, and consumers all in one show. So check out auto collabs. The second podcast offering from automotive State of the Union, speaking of a so do, we got a asotucon coming up, get your tickets, they're starting to ramp up excitement starting to ramp up, go to a soda If you want to be there before, you can't be there, because the tickets are gone. So things are shaping up really nicely. We talked about that enough. But we just wanna let you know, tickets are on sale, get them now because it's going to speed up and then you're not going to be able to get a ticket. And we were already having fire code conversations with the venue. So if that's any indication warn you. If that's any indicator, you can't, you can't the whole vibe is going to be different than anything you've ever seen in an auto conference. Oh, yeah, we wanted to we wanted to talk about the scope for just a second. Right? We

Kyle Mountsier  04:43

haven't talked about it enough. Everybody's asking me when the last thing ends. So let's start you at the beginning and we'll get to the end. How about that

Paul Daly  04:50

stuff isn't a good place to start? First of all, the whole event takes place in less than 48 hours. Right? So we're not talking about sabotaging a whole week of work or if you're, you know you're sending your people out or your managers are not going to be gone actually, it starts on Sunday evening so you can fly in leisurely. On Sunday afternoon, Sunday evening kicks off in a dealership. The flagship Superstore in the country just grand opens in yoka Subaru in Philadelphia, Greg CO CO has a good friend Mr. C invites the whole industry to his place that has this crazy like five storey atrium at top for storage and filling in the backdrop, we're going to do a charitable thing it's going to be on September 11 is going to be an amazing welcome reception multiple levels, multiple songs may be a special the soda drink, you know, we're gonna do the thing. Monday, we're in place, bright and early, full hot breakfast, all the meals are included with the soda tickets, by the way, right, we got to feed people got to see people. So Kyle, tell tell people what they can expect on on Monday,

Kyle Mountsier  05:50

six minutes. So we're gonna start Monday, we're gonna actually start with this podcast live from the stage, you kind of get a peek into the way that we interact and engage. So we'll go through that. And then we've got mainstage speakers in the morning. And then for the rest of the second half of the morning and the first half of the afternoon, you will, you'll be in three different breakout stages. And you'll kind of have your pick across marketing and tech or operations or people process, you know, sales, engagement, culture, all of those types of dynamics will be in play, the majority of those breakout sessions, probably 95% of them will actually be Fireside Chat style. So there's not going to be a ton of presentations or, you know, here's here's my past thoughts, it's going to be really dynamic in the moment. And there won't be a lot of places to hide is kind of the idea in the way that those chats are going to happen. And we'll be using things like slideshow and in presentation option opportunity to kind of like feedback and ask questions as well. And then we'll end that day, with two with a couple of really dynamic keynotes from David Meltzer and Jim McKelvey moving straight into a happy hour, which will be really fun, that then invites literally any person that works at a dealership in a 50 mile radius, or shoot, if you want to fly in, you can come to this. That's a great point a thing, right? It will not cost the thing you can vibe with the industry. from six to attend that night, we're going to have silent disco and karaoke and DJs. And then we're going to end the night with two hours of probably one of the best party bands in Nashville, importing them from Nashville at night reporting the hottest party dead from Nashville to do an outside open air concert.

Paul Daly  07:40

So if you didn't get it, we are throwing the biggest party for the broader industry, I think the industry has ever seen our attendance is gonna go probably from 600, just at our main conference event. And when we flip it to entertainment mode, it's probably going to be like three or 4000 We're gonna let everybody come so we can jam with BDC reps, and technicians and janitors, and lot of attendance and everybody through can like, encourage one another like retail Automotive is a great place to be Tuesday we're back with the half of they only have the same content, main stages, side stages, conversations, food, so we're done by noon. So if we go back to the beginning, it starts at 530. Sunday night. We got Sunday night reception all day, Monday, Monday night entertainment, Tuesday until noon. And then it's Philly. So you can have a direct flight just about anywhere. And by the way, the venue is only like six minutes, there's direct flights to and from San Diego, like you can be there at two o'clock on Sunday from San Diego and leave at two o'clock on Tuesday and be back in San Diego. By the time dinner rolls around out there. So Oh, for sure, especially with time change with the time change. It's

Kyle Mountsier  08:46

unbelievable. Anybody in the country can get there. So there

Paul Daly  08:49

we're trying to make it accessible because our goal is that you leave inspired and energized instead of the way that you typically leave a conference which is exhausted and overwhelmed. And if you're a vendor, you're twice as exhausted and twice is over. So we're trying to try to short circuit all of that. Let's talk about a little bit of news. You have three stories to talk about the the first I've seen it everywhere. I actually saw it as like the main article on LinkedIn news, Ford announced that they're going to be cutting 8000 jobs from primarily the US so they have 31,000 employees in the US and 8000 Do the math. That's a pretty big percentage and they're cutting these mostly from salary position. Jim Farley said the company is not being competitive on cost and they're under earning on their vehicles. So that's 8000 jobs Ford said it's mainly gonna come from Ford blue if you remember right they cut he announced they're gonna cut Evie and ice into two separate companies for blue is the traditional ice vehicles which they want to be the real cash generator for the company. So he said he was gonna cut 3 billion by 2026 and say great plan. Why is he doing that? Oh,

Kyle Mountsier  10:00

that trigger pad just for that one just for that one folks this morning. But I mean, here's the thing, when when you're looking at expenses and trying to find like, we know what the largest expenses on anybody on anybody's p&l are right? It is, first and foremost, if you have a brick and mortar business, it's the place of business, right? Whatever your brick and mortar or your warehouses, so land and and, and space. Next employee expenses next marketing. And so if you got to have the land, and you don't need the employees, that's the next place that most people go to cut expenses to increase net profit. Just shocking that you're seeing 8000 jobs and I just like I wonder how the work gets done even with the sunsetting of ice vehicles with 8000 jobs lost across a company that kind of blows my mind.

Paul Daly  11:00

What you think about I mean, I Farley is a leader is looking obviously a lot at efficiency and I think post pandemic, most companies are coming out of the pandemic, right, they really squeezed operations and made themselves a lot leaner and a lot more profitable. Now a company like Ford didn't let people write like they weren't letting as many people go as some of the other like dealers and stuff we know, that had to like scale and stretch and but without a doubt, getting lean and mean in this next phase like a post pandemic life. And just think of how much fat there must be to cut if 8000 People can go away. And the fact that they built processes and procedures that can keep that sucker not only not only like, we're not talking about survival mode, right for it is like ambitious mode. Like I don't even I don't even understand the reconciliation. I don't know the inner workings of their business, but a bold move and a pretty surprising announcement. I thought,

Kyle Mountsier  11:55

yeah, I'm, I really don't have much context for how that works. Honestly, neither. Me neither.

Paul Daly  12:02

We need to we need to get we need to get an org chart and start to dissect it. Speaking of surprises, segue you know, earnings season is always fun, because like we get surprises, people

Kyle Mountsier  12:16

get surprises and promises. Those are the two things that you get. Right.

Paul Daly  12:20

Right, right. Hopefully, hopefully less surprises, more promises, hopefully more results. Yesterday, Tesla had their quarterly investor calling on a webcast. CEO Elon Musk said that the cybertruck that if you remember, q4 of last year, they said you know what? It's not good. Maybe next year, we don't even know right? It's been delayed since 2019, when it was announced and delayed, delayed, delayed delayed. Well, yesterday, they surprised everyone and said, You know what we're thinking about mid next year. So we went from like maybe sometime next year to mid next year, which really heats up the intensity of the Evie truck race, right? Ford's Lightning has come out and is going very strong. And you know, as being received very well. I don't remember when the Silverado started. supposed to come out. Silverado was later this year. Right. I think it is this year. So so the cybertruck probably picking up pace a little bit to be released, you know? Well, we'll see what happens. But I mean, obviously one of the most polarizing trucks that from a design standpoint, right looks like it's right out of Blade Runner. But that little announcement, along with a couple other things shows the Tesla is actually pivoting and moving a little bit. So their profits rose, their revenue actually declined. And they made a move converting 75% of their Bitcoin holdings to cash. So they they generated about a billion dollars in just liquid capital by liquidating 75% of their Bitcoin holdings. So a couple interesting moves by Tesla with a surprise announcement, um, you can check out their their presentation deck if you want. I've never looked at it before. But if you go to the investor page, it's like, it's like kind of like the projections and the playbook and all that stuff. And in Tesla fashion, it looks really nice. We linked it up in the show notes. You know, I don't know if this is just a you never know what's really going on. But under promise over deliver comes to mind. You know, like you said, they told me like, oh my gosh, maybe not. Yeah,

Kyle Mountsier  14:14

it could be I think it's also just pressure. I think it's pressure. Right. From like you said, the lightning and and the Silverado. You know, I mean, it's i It's funny, because it's the first time that they've really felt pressure from any other manufacturer. That's true. So I know it's that's a new thing. Like they've been the one pressuring everyone else and the truck race has been everyone else pressuring them. So I you know, I think that I think you got a little bit of that. You could have a little bit of, you know, under promise over deliver.

Paul Daly  14:46

Yeah, but I think I still just wonder like, right,

Kyle Mountsier  14:48

what's the usability of that cybertruck thing? You know, what, like, other than just looking really cool. Why is that the way that we're gonna have a truck look, you know what I mean? Well So what I mean, you know, Ford and Chevy just have down they've got like, this is the way of truck functions.

Paul Daly  15:05

It'll be interesting. That's a really great point because it has the cybertruck has that really unique hardcover that rolls over the bed? Yeah. Right. So and you can actually stand on it. So like, well, people like that, will they hate it? You know, obviously, things that are familiar, tend we tend to gravitate toward when you look at the f150 Lightning, it looks like an F 150. Anyone that wants to act like they're playing Halo in real life is gonna have a great time. Right? They're gonna have fun for sure. You know, when the initial video came out, right? There was no other Evie truck to get Herot too. So remember, they hitched it up to the back of the f150. And it just drugged that sucker around like a little kid drags around a baby doll. That f150 around. So you're like, Well, I can see use for that. And we're like, it can tow this much right you can get from it can pull this much weight but now that there are other trucks in the market, like Yeah, testers that used to be in behind or not, but they are just they are gonna be a little pressure like it. I think it's gonna be fun. Oh, it's good for it's good for everyone. Good. Oh, good. Titian, speaking of things that are good for everyone. Segue. I think it is. I think we all agree that accurate consumer reviews are good for everyone. Right? They're good for consumers that want to buy the product. They're good for the companies that sell it. It holds them accountable. Well, Amazon literally filed 10,000 lawsuits yesterday against Facebook 10 What does it look like to deliver 10,000 lawsuits and what does it take to process 10,000? lawsuits? Like I don't even 10,000 Anything's right. Amazon how to prepare 10,000 lawsuits talk about like, like,

Kyle Mountsier  16:43

I hope someone had a nice fine number place.

Paul Daly  16:47

Right in the middle mailmerge going on. Because like, you know, Betty was sitting behind the County Clerk's Office, you know, like with her glasses in her little chain thing. And somebody's just like, I just imagined, like, a dozen Amazon interns, right, just, there's 1000 there's 1000 there's probably all digital, I don't know, I don't know, lawsuits, there's probably something that has to be signed. And so 10,000 lawsuits filed against Facebook group administrators that run these Facebook groups that solicit people to leave fake reviews on Amazon. So Facebook group administrator, right, like, Hey, you come here, I'll give you stuff you go leave these reviews, right? I obviously get paid by companies that make these products to make fake reviews, and Amazon's like, Nah, no, it's lawsuit time. So a quote from their vice president of selling partner services says our team's stopped millions of suspicious reviews before they're even seen by customers. And this lawsuit goes a step further to uncover perpetrators operating on social media, protect proactive legal action, targeting bad actors is one of the many ways we protect customers, by holding bad actors

Kyle Mountsier  17:57

accountable. Isn't that wild? Like, just I mean, I've heard of this happening, you know, when you get like a new product on market that comes from overseas or something like that, and all of a sudden, it has 5000 reviews, and then the active date on the product is like a month ago, right? But that's, it's just nuts to think like, a company like that has to put in these level of safeguards just to make sure that reviews are verified. And so, like, that's where, you know, as a consumer, you're always doing that, you know, trust, but verify Trust, but verify on anything that has to do with reviews. And so, you know, I love you know, DealerRater a review platform and automotive has a really interesting take on this they force you know, they force a couple of things in their review platform. One is they have a very, very deep like validation matrix to tie PII to, to retail data, so on the service and sales side, and then they so like, that's verified purchaser reviews, similar to how Amazon does a lot of that. But then also, they, they, they force you to write a certain number of characters, which a lot of customers get annoyed at. And they'll write really funny things if you ever had a dealer ID or accountant. But the reason why they force is because they know that if they if they push people to write a deeper story, then the relationship of that to the future customer is a lot stronger. And they probably get more actual verified reviews out of it. So man, all of this to just make sure that everybody knows what's going on with a product or service that someone might be offering. So from from that side, like get your customers to leave the best reviews and also as a consumer just be careful as you're out there kind of like reading through reviews and understand that like trust but verify is extremely important.

Paul Daly  19:47

Yeah, without doubt. I mean, look us consumers trust one another. Yep. Right. That's all there is to it. If you bought it, I want to know what you think not what the company says about it. So obviously honest reviews are important to everybody. I wonder if this raises There's more suspicion or quells any existing suspicion? Because I think there are a lot of customers out there that don't even think about that. Yeah, you know what I mean? Like great purchase thinks like, Oh, that's a great review, right, the two above it, and the two below it could have been like, do not buy, you know, so interesting how that works. But I mean, it's good to see Amazon being proactive. And like, Look, we all need to be honest. And we need to do what we can to keep the marketplace honest, because it keeps the vendors and the suppliers and the businesses accountable to do better. And it keeps the consumer informed and, you know, be able to wise to make the good decisions because I don't know if you noticed, but inflation is kind of a thing. And disposable income is a little bit on the decline. So a couple good things coming out. So we hope that you have a couple good things going on today. Go out there, leave some reviews, actually do things that would make a customer want to leave a really great review and go check out the new podcast auto We hope to see you there.