Greenfield Talks, Subaru Swapps, Ford Patent’s Potential Repos

March 3, 2023
Fridays are for futurists as our friend Steve Greenfield joins us to talk about his latest Intel Report. We also introduce you to the new Subaru CEO as well as Ford’s new patent they said they don’t plan on using anyway. Who’s having fun!?! We are.
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  • Welcome back regular guest Steve Greenfield to talk about his latest Intel Report and what he is most excited about heading into March

  • Subaru has appointed 60 year old Atsushi Osaki as their new CEO replacing Current CEO Tomomi Nakamura who has been at the helm since 2018.

  • Osaki recently served as global production chief but has a tenured history in quality assurance; outgoing CEO Nakamura will become Chairman
  • The new CEO said “We at Subaru want to survive the age of electrification by being nimble, we will put various systems in place while focusing on flexibility and expansion.”  He also added that he sees sales growth in the US
  • Also announced is President & CEO of Subaru of America, Tom Doll, will be stepping down effective April 1st and will assume the role of Corporate Advisor, still based at the Camden, NJ HQ
  • "The Subaru brand and Subaru of America hold a special place in my heart. Since the day I arrived here 41 years ago, we have worked tirelessly to make Subaru more than a car company. The growth of this company has been nothing if not spectacular, but I am most proud of the good we have done with our Love Promise programs and the lives we have impacted. It is the employees of Subaru of America, the great friendships we have developed and our amazing customers and retailers who are the secret of our success," said Doll.
  • On April 1, 34 year Subaru veteran, Tadashi "Tady" Yoshida will be promoted to the role of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Subaru of America, Inc. from his current position of Executive Vice President who has served in the various roles of Overseas Sales and Marketing, Global Marketing and the Customer Service Division

  • Ford isn’t getting into the repo business and says it has no plans to use the technology that can disable a/c, create an “incessant and unpleasant” beeping, or even drive the car to another location in a repo situation in a patent they recently filed
  • “We submit patents on new inventions as a normal course of business, but they aren’t necessarily an indication of new business or product plans,” Ford said in a statement
  • John Van Alst, a senior attorney with the National Consumer Law Center said, “It really seems like you’re opening up a can of worms that, as a manufacturer, you don’t really need to be doing.”
  • This patent comes during a period when auto loan delinquencies are on the rise

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Steve Greenfield, Kyle Mountsier, Paul Daly

Paul Daly  00:32

Yo, it is Friday, first Friday in March it this month just seems like it's already got some traction. We have our friend Steve Greenfield here to just jam on the news a little bit and what a bunch of people in Ford's patent potential repos. Give myself a tongue twister too early. Towards patent potential repos can't afford. Everybody. Good morning, we have met, it's been a fun week. It's just been a lot going on. Wow, it's been a week news.

Kyle Mountsier  01:03

And it's been one of those things where like, it's just been a flood of things that we can talk about just over and over and over. I

Paul Daly  01:09

know, sometimes it's like, you know, we're digging deep to find something to talk about. And that wasn't the case this week at all. So yesterday afternoon was specifically fun, because, like a bunch of things happened. Number one, automotive news picked up one of our little content pieces and ran it, featuring Carrie wise, which is super cool. So I'm gonna take a sip from i, from my I was on automotive news, okay.

Kyle Mountsier  01:32

And also to was on automotive news.

Paul Daly  01:37

Also, it was fun, because Tom doll will talk about him in a minute, he chimed in on one of our threads. And, you know, he made some comments. We also noticed like some people following Soto on LinkedIn, or some like really high level executives, some companies you would recognize, and so it's fun to see the congruence, I mean, the congruence, the community, just kind of like inhaling and exhaling on a regular basis. And I don't know, man, it just put me in a good mood.

Kyle Mountsier  02:01

Yeah, it does. It puts you in a good mood. And even just, you know, yesterday, I got two text messages, like, hey, this would be great. These would be great things for a soldier to talk about, right? Like little articles or things like that. The funny part is, is like both of them. We had, we've covered in the email the day before, right, but I love the community just like being involved and the ideas and stuff like that. This really is a community effort. And we take all those things and run with them. And you know, Chris and Christie are writers are always thinking up and dreaming up new ways to contextualize everything that's going on in the automotive world. And speaking of contextualizing everything that's going on in the automotive world, segue. That was maybe the longest segue

Paul Daly  02:49

that was pretty long, it was pretty long. It's pretty long.

Kyle Mountsier  02:52

We are welcoming back today, Steve Greenfield to talk about his latest Intel report and even just chop it up with us with the news. Steve is a friend of soju. And we're really excited to have him and always share this time in the early MONTH to chat about what is going on in the industry and what he's seeing. Steve, welcome to the show, man.

Steve Greenfield  03:13

Guys. Good morning.

Paul Daly  03:15

Good, good. You just told us.

Steve Greenfield  03:18

Right, hold on, Paul, you guys. Definitely a surprise. Oh, yeah, we're getting started in automotive news. And I got CEOs and car companies falling out, okay. Nobody's surprised. You guys, I don't know why you're. Well, who isn't watching what you guys are doing right now?

Paul Daly  03:33

Oh, man, we appreciate that. Actually, genuine, you're gonna talk about this at the beginning of the show. We put it in our email this morning. And we're such community minded and you know, like we a lot of people know, we just raised the second round of funding. And we were able to partner with the automotive ventures Investment Club, to create a lane for just the regular people in our community to invest in the company and be part of the movement in a deeper way. You know, there's some more detail about that you can go to a forward slash a V for automotive ventures a, forward slash a V. And thank you for making a way because the people like what we do is based on this belief that elevating the culture and perception of the retail auto industry is possible. And it's going to take all of us to do it. And you know, you giving us this opportunity to make a lane for other people to do that on a deeper level is is something we're super excited about.

Steve Greenfield  04:30

Well, look, I'm gonna ask how put Kyle on the spot here not meant to be please do. But you know, some of the Kyle says resonates with me every single day, you know, talking about sort of like making sure that the next generation of kids who are out there, you know, actually want to be an automotive and you're much more eloquent than I am. But when you say that, it really hits me, right. I think it hits a lot of people, but go ahead, you'll do a better job than I will please repeat whatever it is that you typically say. Yeah,

Kyle Mountsier  04:55

I have this so I have a NINE and a NINE Seven and almost one year old in my household and my vision is that you

Steve Greenfield  05:05

almost always ready kids that I have cats nobody does

Kyle Mountsier  05:11

but my My desire is to see a world where when they're graduating high school or college that them and their friends are beating down the doors of the automotive industry asking their guidance counselors and and everybody in their in their ecosystem in their in their network to say how do I get in retail auto? Can I can someone find me a spot because it's so hard to get in? Because the network is so deep and the desire to be a part of this industry. And I know that if we do that, if we've got a culture that invites people so deeply into a career path into it, then we know that the retail business side of things is going to be so attractive to consumers that there's no way retail automotive takes away the dealership network. So that's

Steve Greenfield  05:57

what resonates with me, man, I kudos to you guys. I don't know, there's two people that work harder in automotive than you two guys. And also, I mean, who won't get on board with the mission. So I think for people to be able to cough up a few dollars and be part of this and help you guys achieve this mission. The whole industry benefits and that's why you guys have such a following with C level executives, and you get on automotive news, and you're only in the first inning.

Paul Daly  06:23

That's right, first thing. I love it. Well, let's talk about let's shift the conversation and talk about your monthly Intel report. Every month, you give a great like Steve's thoughts, right? greenfields. tager what's it called? greenfields thoughts, Steve's thoughts? I don't know. But it's the part where you like, you kind of articulately brained up and what's on your mind and what your point of view,

Steve Greenfield  06:44

I call that point of view. But marketing feedback on that, you

Paul Daly  06:48

know, point of view is great, that's exactly what it is. I mean, I'm just, I've got I got morning brain. But um, so you can get this by going to automotive And please, your email list is growing like a weed, people find big value in it, you're kind of at the center of the conversation Everywhere I look, what are you talking about this month? And why is it important?

Steve Greenfield  07:06

So this one's actually reflect I mean, you know, I was starting to write this thing over the last week. And I'm like, It's been three years since I left the corporate world. So I was like, you know, let me let me look back three years since I've been publishing the Intel report, which seems in some way has seems like a lot longer. But in some ways, it feels like man, three years, has already passed, right. So I have a sense of urgency to continue to put to push forward. But really reflecting back on what we've accomplished over the last three years. That the second fund is we, as you guys said, we launched this investment club, what we're trying to accomplish, and our mission overall, which you know, is very parallel to yours in terms of like informing the industry, and then also democratizing investments into the industry, and had some fun, you know, showed a couple of graphics around how our first fund has come together our investment areas, so some of the logos. And then you know, we're out of the gates on the dealer fund now, we'll get that thing closed by the end of April. And we've made three investments already. So we are we're moving forward. And I'm just looking forward to what the next year looks like.

Kyle Mountsier  08:09

Yeah, I love this, because there's been so many, you know, what you've done is you've said, hey, look, there's been a lot of dealers that have created technology over the years. And then there's been a lot of technology companies that have created technology over the years, both that serve the automotive industry. But one of the one of the issues is that like bridging the gap between either one of those for technology or for dealers, to be able to see and give insight to the other side is really important. I think the dealer fund, especially when you have a tech lead company that maybe doesn't come out of a dealer to be able to support and inform what's going on there. It's not just an investment side approach. It's it's a, it's an information side approach. And it's a commitment to seeing dealers and technology kind of like come together instead of them running, you know, just only parallel.

Steve Greenfield  09:00

Yeah, no, I agree. And something that you said really resonates. Kyle, as you know, more than me with with auto genius, we're seeing more dealers take it upon themselves to build software solutions. And I actually feature two of them in two companies to watch this week. But you know, this really excites me because that the cost of building software has come down, where dealers who are very forward thinking and saying, look, there's a big pain point in my business. If only I could hire some developers and build something to solve that pain point. This is happening. And you know, we could potentially I don't want to get ahead of myself here. But I've been thinking about this. What if we launched a fund in the future, and only invested in solutions that dealers were building themselves for the benefit of other dealers? Because I'm seeing this I'm shocked that almost on a weekly basis. Now I'm seeing a new solution. And often it's like, you know, an owner saying, Hey, Steve, Steve, I want to show you something. You can't tell anyone. You know, we built this. Let me show you what we've built. Honestly, we really we built this thing for our own employees, but I'm thinking about it. How do I bridge the gap? I start selling it to dealers outside of my, my group. And this is going to be like a new wave of innovation, because the barriers to entry to build software are low and what better place to start the innovation than with the dealers themselves?

Paul Daly  10:16

If that if that's not pushing back, I don't know what

Kyle Mountsier  10:20

Friday just ready to swing gloves and stuff like that, you know?

Paul Daly  10:25

All right. Speaking of that, everybody's got like a lot of things to do. Let we have two new stories we want to cover today, a lot of transition going on as usual. So we'll do the story. And as usual, we want to know what your quick hot take is audit. So let's get into the first story. Subaru has moved around they've appointed 60 year old to she Osaki as their new CEO, replacing current CEO Timon Tomomi Nakamura, who has been at the helm since 2018. Osaki recently served as global production chief but as a tenured history in quality insurance assurance, outgoing CEO Nakamura will become chairman, the new CEO said we had Subaru want to survive the age of electrification by being nimble, we will put various systems in place while focusing on flexibility and expansion. He also added that he sees growth in the US market coming ahead. And that was the only part of the story until we picked up the other part of the story, which is also announced was that President and CEO of Subaru of America, Tom Dahl, will be stepping down effective April 1, and assuming the role as corporate advisors still based at his at the home office HQ in Camden, New Jersey, I wonder if they're going to make a move offices, I don't know. But I'm going to read Tom's I'm going to read Tom's comment. Because I think it is just indicative of his heart for the industry and something we can all connect with the brand and Subaru of America held a special place holds a special place in my heart. Since the day I arrived. 41 years ago, we've worked tirelessly to make Subaru more than a car company. The growth of this company has been nothing if not spectacular, but I am most proud of the good we have done with our love promise programs and the lives it has impacted. It is the employees of Subaru of America, the great friendships we have developed, and our amazing customers and retailers who are the secret of our success. do with that? Will you want everybody?

Kyle Mountsier  12:16

Well, for me, I mean, we've gotten to meet Tom a couple of times now and he was at a soda con and, and like you said, He's commented kind of on, on what we've got going on here to Soto and I just the fact that he changes people's minds on calling dealers retailers, and the approach that he has and the care that he has, when he's in a conversation with you. And the number of people you know that I've that I've talked to that, like he remembers my name immediately. All of those type of things endear him to so many people, he'll be missed from the seat that he's in. But if I've learned anything in my brief interactions with Tom is that he will not be missed in this industry, because I guarantee he will still have a physical and a legacy impact on the way that we approach. Retailing.

Paul Daly  13:07

Steve, any thoughts?

Steve Greenfield  13:09

Just I mean, he's just a great individual, a great human being and you know, you talk to any of the dealers, and they just love him. So I'm sure it's creating anxiety with the dealers who the replacement is going to be but I mean, the dealer just really loved them. And I feel like he's always had their

Paul Daly  13:22

back. They did announce the replacement actually, he's a 34 year Subaru veteran. Tadashi, they come Totti Tadashi Yoshida will be promoted to Chairman and CEO of Subaru of America. His current position is executive vice president. So a lot of people know who it is. And there'll be promoting him. I do just want to make a comment. And I know it's not popular to make comments on people's appearance these days. But the new CEO of Subaru global, is I believe he's 60 years old, and he looks like he's about 38. I want the secret sauce.

Kyle Mountsier  13:55

It's actually indicative of the Subaru brand, right? It's a young brand that just continued to provide energy.

Steve Greenfield  14:03

You might have to go over to the Tom Brady diet, though.

Paul Daly  14:06

Oh, yeah. You know what, I don't think really many people want to do that. Because it's not it doesn't sound very fun. But I'm it's okay to be Tom Brady. You know, we kind of were tossing this around before and we might just approach Tom and ask if he wants to, like do a show with us like a real show. And we don't know the setting yet. But Tom Doyle is the kind of guy you want to build a show around. So Tom, if you're watching, you're listening today expect a phone call. Speaking of people that get phone calls to this one. I guess I tried to connect that to collections and repossessions. But here's the story. Ford isn't getting into the repo business, it says and has no plans to use this new software or technology that they just filed a patent. And basically it's a software that can disable things like your air conditioning, stop your windows from being able to roll down. It can create what they call an incessant an unpleasant beeping or even potentially drive the car To another location in a repossession situation. In this patent they recently filed Isaac put the patent picture up. I don't, this is a picture from the patent. And I feel like there's a meme waiting to be written about this. We're gonna have to work about it and think, but basically it links to all the little areas of the car that it can disable. So, basically, Ford said understatement we submit patents on new inventions as a normal course of business, but they aren't necessarily an indication of new business or product plans. John Van Oster, senior attorney with the National Consumer Law Center said, it really seems like you're opening up a can of worms that as a manufacturer, you don't really need to be doing as the patent comes during a time when auto loan delinquencies are on the rise. What are your thoughts on that gentleman?

Steve Greenfield  15:43

I'll take this one. I think it was like a no brainer, you know, I think, why hasn't anyone thought of it already? If the car is gonna be self driving, then just just drive the car back to the bank or the repo agent? Why have repo agents going out there and endangering themselves picking up the car? So to me, it seems like a no brainer. I know you know, people on social media this is lift people up, right? It's like whoo, you never did a combined car. But yeah, and you start paying today typically, like there's a starter interrupt with a GPS they turn your car off. So now they're not only gonna turn the car off they're gonna make it really annoying. And you know, imagine in the summer they turn on your heated seats usually so yeah, really make it really annoying for the consumer and then if you continue to don't pay we can warn you like hey, we're gonna Becky drive your car away.

Paul Daly  16:32

There's so much that can be made content that can be made. And there's a we had back when I had a fleet of vehicles in my first business you know, we had fleets and technology technicians all over and we before it was really a thing we installed this technology in the cars that we're trying to like make sure that like our guys weren't going too fast and things like that. And it would start to emit a beep like once they went like eight miles an hour over the speed limit. And what we found is they just turned up the radio all right, well, oh, actually, we're going over to the All Things our Clubhouse room because we're two minutes late for that because we're doing things Steve, thanks for joining us today. For you in the community check out a forward slash AV and we will see you in clubhouse.

Kyle Mountsier  17:30

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