John Foley

October 3, 2023
John Foley and Jordan Cox sit down to chat at ASOTU CON 2023
Listen On
Apple Podcasts IconSpotify Icon

John Foley is the Co-Founder and President of Recharged.

Thanks to Effectv for making ASOTU CON Sessions possible!

Paul Daly: 0:02You're listening to a soda con sessions by effective live from a soda con 2023.

Jordan Cox: 0:10

We're out here at a soda con sessions sponsored by effective and we had a chance to talk with John Foley, who is the president founder of recharge. So, John, thanks for coming out. This is great.

John Foley: 0:20

Thanks for having me. I'm, I'm pumped about being here.

Jordan Cox: 0:22

Yeah. Like, obviously, you guys had some great topics this morning, as far as like, use DVS features of that, and even like the education around that, obviously, there's, there's a large push for that, like nationwide for dealerships. So like for you, we talked about what is really the future of what you guys are trying to accomplish. So in fact, let's start with this. What does recharge do? Sure. How do you guys bring value to dealerships? Yep.

John Foley: 0:44

Well, today, recharged is a Experience Center in Richmond, Virginia, and we are buying and selling used EVs. We're improving the experience that buyers might find today and trying to find and purchase an Eevee, we've added education, as you mentioned around charging and range, really try to help, you know, buyers understand and navigate that that entire process. So we're having a lot of fun doing that share. We're doing well, it's you know, we're having great, great conversations with with people, and we're learning so much every day, we're also getting a lot of confirmation that, you know, what we're doing is something that's missing from the market today. And that's really exciting. It's excited when I get a call from somebody who isn't even in the market to, to buy a car, and they're they just want to call into your song and say, Sure, I bought an Eevee, six months ago, and it was a terrible experience. But I really hope that you guys make it because it's like, yes, is what's needed. For sure. Now, I see a greater opportunity to help, you know, a much broader market in in a way that's, that's maybe a little different than we're doing anywhere else today. And that is, you know, I'd love to aggregate all of the used Ed inventory that's available, put it on the recharge platform platform, and make it available to buyers. So you know, a dealer marketplace where, you know, if if I am not comfortable selling EVs today on my own, but I don't necessarily have like, a great way to to, you know, get rid of the car that I have retail it through recharged, share, and find a buyer report that way. So

Jordan Cox: 2:28

yeah, what I love about what you guys are doing, John, is the fact that you're educating automotive retailers, and you're really bringing them up to speed with where they should have been, especially with the vehicles they're trying to sell. So it's it's very stereotypical that the Evie buyer knows more about the vehicle they're buying than the people selling it. Especially when you see stats where there's they may only have one, two or three EVs in stock, especially in the US side.

John Foley: 2:51

Yeah. So, you know, a couple of things. I said, we're educating the retailers, we're really educating buyers today, you're here. And you're right. So, you know, any used car operation will tell you that the buyer who comes in and looks at their vehicle knows far more about it than they do. Yes, they've spent hours researching this one car, I have hundreds of cars for sale. Yeah. But I think the delta between that and the US DT buyer is too great. So sure we are, we don't know every single thing about every one of our cars. We try to we do lunch and learns as a team, like, we really want to get better and understand everything any everything's an opportunity to, to coach and teach each other up. But yeah, we still recognize that the person who comes in and ultimately buys the car, probably not every time as we found, but probably knows more about it than we do.

Jordan Cox: 3:49

Sure. And also how do you guys produce, you know, the content, the training and things like that, that you can really bring forward to the market so that people know more about EVs additionally,

John Foley: 3:58

so I'd say like, it's, it's kind of deployed in phases right now. And what you see on our webpage are 72 Roughly pages of educational content, that that our team wrote on their own, we are now beginning to move into, you know, a bit more of the video digital content creation and, and want to kind of bring that, that education to life. And there really is a lot of opportunity in that space. Today, you know, there's there's great new car content out there. But I think in the used car space, there's there's a tremendous opportunity. So

Jordan Cox: 4:35

sure, and there's a huge Dean for that just because, you know, yeah, that times people don't know about these and they don't know what they don't know until they realize what they can learn, especially when they're in a space where they can learn and grow with that. So what would you say holds for like the future of free guys, what do you see you guys accomplished in the next couple of years?

John Foley: 4:53

Yeah, I think we'll continue to, to prove out the model that we're we're we've built today. That could mean, you know, market expansion could mean, you know, additional experience centers, and maybe, you know, leaving Virginia even. But at the same time, building up that deal on marketplaces is very critical to this. And so that's where you'll see a lot of our focus here, you know, over the next 12 months, especially, so, yeah, sure,

Jordan Cox: 5:21

in what has been your focus so far? So I should ask this when was recharged founded?

John Foley: 5:25

Yeah. Well, that's an interesting story. And, you know, so last year, I had, after 23 years in automotive, retail, I had a break in was considering, you know, what was next and I had a short list of ideas that I really wanted to go and explore. And none of them were back into automotive retail, where I'd spent the last 23 years here. And I'm sitting at a soda con. And, you know, I'm watching one of the presentations, and we're talking about the the volume of used car inventory that's coming to market, you know, over the next couple of years. Sure. And in my mind, I'm like, man, it just was, it was an aha moment, for sure. I mean, there is nobody who has specialized in used EVs today. And, you know, I'm not, I wasn't an enthusiast super passionate about EVs. But I know the automotive retail space and like, like, this is a problem that I can help solve. And so, you know, when I, when I pair that, with what I see happening on the new car side, manufacturers are putting very stringent requirements on their franchises, you know, around technology and people in education and like, why wouldn't that be the same for the used car buyer? Why wouldn't this the used car buyer demand the exact same experience and education and so like, I was leaning heavily on that, and like, once I got it in my mind, I could not, I could not leave. So immediately, you know, I mean, I say, flew in only in the sense that I was, you know, foot all the way down on the accelerator, leaving Philadelphia, heading back to Richmond, like, I've got to go do this, I've got to go chase this down. So that's where it started. And then, you know, over over the course of the next few months, you know, talking to people getting to socialize this idea, ended up meeting, my business partner, and, and so we got, we really got started last year, we have been, this is our second full month operational, we've been soft, soft, opened earlier this year. And so we're just going at it now. And it's a lot of fun. So

Jordan Cox: 7:27

yeah, it's cool when you can, you know, go from your experience in automotive retail. So you said 23 years in automotive, retail, and, you know, the struggles of what they have sales, process wise, education wise. And obviously, there's a lot of new franchises, I'm sorry, new OEMs, that are requiring their franchises to invest in the Eevee side of it, you look at Ford, for what they're doing $500 million, I'm sorry, $500,000, to even sell the new EVs, and that's I'm gonna stalk them, and they're talking about a $1.2 million investment, you know, to even stock them. So it's very clear that new OEMs know where things are going.

John Foley: 8:04

That's true. And, you know, I don't think as an industry, we have always highlighted that we're very good at change. And so, you know, when you when you think about the, you know, name any franchise dealer, and it's very likely that there's a large cohort in the team that is resistant to any shift to EVs Sure, stick with what works, right. But the, what I see and what I hear from, you know, the buyers and sellers that come and visit us, or recharge, who have had an experience. Unfortunately, a lot of times, it's not great, and what what they were presented was, you know, likely a salesperson, maybe a sales manager, who is only repeating the things that they hear from their management team, the executive team, etc. And, you know, as I said on stage earlier, if you don't want to be in the V space, I think that's fine. Like, I don't think you should, everybody should have to make that commitment today. But you do need to be thoughtful about how you present that to the people who walk in your dealership, because there are a lot of Evie. Curious people doesn't mean that they're all up buyers, but they are curious, they want to know, they want to learn more, and you should be prepared to have intelligent conversations there. Even if, you know, ultimately, you sell a gas vehicle or a hybrid. Yeah, so

Jordan Cox: 9:25

and even just the experience needs to be consistent overall, like, you know, not only the educational side of it, but also we need to be able to deliver a more promising so we're inside the US TV space, whether you're a buyer, whether you are an automotive retailer, it's very clear that we need to have a consistent customer experience because it's, I mean, it can be so hit or miss and you know, that like 23 years in automotive, you were involved in some of the first TVs that were in the market. You know,

John Foley: 9:49

I was I was with Nissan in 2012. And so I was there for the leaf. Yeah. For the launch of the leaf for sure. So, you know, the nine mile range Lee Yeah, Not anymore. 30 mile range. But the, you know, long ago, I was taught, you know, if you if you don't know, that's okay. Sure, you know, and be transparent. I don't know. But I know where to get the answer. Sure. You know, and I think that's pretty powerful when you're talking to somebody and you're just transparent enough to let them know, you know, hey, I don't know everything about the CV, but I do know where to get the answer. Let's go.

Jordan Cox: 10:27

Yeah, sure. No, I think we know the answer to don't we call John. Exactly, yeah. So you know, it's cool that you're able to see that you're able to have the experience automotive retail, what kind of advice would you give to people, whether they're maybe employees at a automotive retailer or their buyers looking for us, DBS? What kind of advice would you give them about the process for looking for a UCV? Where should they start? Where should they end? What should that look like? Yeah,

John Foley: 10:52

I think organizations need to make the decision first on where they stand. But if if I dropped into a dealership today and started my career over and I was selling cars, like, you know, I would certainly educate myself on the on the products that are out there. And especially some of the features and technology. And, you know, be able to have those conversations with people. I certainly wouldn't want somebody who, you know, you think about any training that's done around the trade the trade appraisal process? Yeah, it's never it's never leading with like, Oh, we don't want this car. You know, it's always like, let me get you excited about you know, we're excited about your call me and tell me more, you know, I want your car. I don't know what it is, but I want it. And so, you know, if somebody's first, you know, experience at your dealership, is you have a Tesla, like, you know, not great. And that, that may kill that, you know, that opportunity. So sure, you know, embrace it. You don't have to be an Eevee dealer. But there are already V's that are out there and, and just embrace that. So

Jordan Cox: 11:55

yeah, so if there's automotive retailers that are taking vehicles and on trade like that, where do you think they should start with? Do you think it's a self education standpoint?

John Foley: 12:03

Yes or no. So like, I do not pretend that is not a heavy lift to understand. All that there is to know about the Eevee market. And so, you know, I offer myself as a resource, or other, you know, you got John Ellis and others who are out here, you know, offering tremendous resources to, to help dealers understand what they're standing there and looking at. You may not want to be the owner of the car, and you may want to weigh out. And, and there, those answers are out there. So like, you'll pick up the phone and ask, that's pretty simple.

Jordan Cox: 12:37

Yeah. So I think one of the cool things is, like you said, it's not EVs that you were passionate about, but I think I've discovered what you are passionate about is the education of people, and the education around those products. It's the people it's not the actual product itself, that really fits within what you're trying to accomplish. In like, you know, years from now, obviously, you guys are continuing to growing, you had a launch this year, there's gonna be a ton of opportunities for you guys who continue to educate not only the market, frontline salespeople, people that are looking for a vehicle shoppers, things like that. I think the sky's the limit for you guys.

John Foley: 13:09

I've my teams have always asked me, you know, what are the things that are important to you? I'm working for you. I don't understand, like, what are the things that are important to you? And I always tell them, there's three things, but the number one thing every time is people. And it is it is your team that works for you. It's the people that you know, walk in and and our potential buyers sellers, service parts, it's your vendors. It's everybody. Yeah, and that matters. And so if you if you can't start there, yeah, the rest of it doesn't matter.

Jordan Cox: 13:42

Yeah. If you can't handle the people part, then nothing else really matters. Yep. What would you say is one of the most exciting things you've done during the startup process? Like what is one thing you're super passionate about, besides you know, working with people every day and helping them and guide them?

John Foley: 13:55

And you know, having been on the on the operation side for so long, like solving problems is just something I like, I really lean into and when you're starting something brand new, you're doing a lot of that I mean, it's it's all problems isn't

Jordan Cox: 14:14

it's 100%

John Foley: 14:15

and like you're just like fire fire fire, how do I solve this? I hadn't thought about that. And but I will say one thing that was especially fun about this show versus some of the other builds I've had over time is like I literally swung the hammer myself on the property so you know, went in figured out what need to be done. I called in a great teammate has worked for me in the past and he got side by side with me and we went in there for a couple months and and got the property ready and really brought to life the vision for what we want this experience center to be and and that's pretty that's pretty cool. You know, it's one thing to tell somebody and then they go do it for you but it's something else to go do it on your own. So that was that was a lot of fun

Jordan Cox: 14:57

shared Now, does this mean you're gonna build the next one?

John Foley: 14:59

Yeah. You know, I hope that you know, some of the motivation to do it the first time sure doesn't exist. The second the motivation,

Jordan Cox: 15:08

the drivers, so you did it right. Yeah. Cool. So John Foley, thank you so much for spending some time with us here in a soda con Sessions has been a great show with you guys so far. You guys have some awesome topics today. And there's a ton of more education Brandon. Thanks so much. Yeah, awesome. Appreciate you.

Paul Daly: 15:25

Thank you for listening to this. So to concession by effective 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 collapse, auto collapse. 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 a We'll see you next time.

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.