LIVE at the NAMAD Conference in Miami, Ford Loses Kentucky Truck Plant, Gigapress Use Is Growing

October 12, 2023
It’s Thursday and Paul and Kyle are live on the ground in Miami Florida for the annual NAMAD Members Meeting. We grab new president Perry Watson IV for a quick chat, then also talk about the latest strike target, as well as the growing use of gigapresses in manufacturing as other OEM’s take a page out of Tesla’s playbook.
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Show Notes with links:

“You just lost Kentucky Truck Plant”. Those were the final words of Wednesday night's negotiation meeting between UAW and Ford negotiating teams which included UAW President Shawn Fein. 

  • According to those close to the matter, the UAW informed Ford that they wanted to see a new counter offer by Ford on economics by 5pm. When they met and Ford didn’t have an updated offer, Fein stood up and said, “If this is all you have for us, our members’ lives and my handshake are worth more than this. This just cost you the Kentucky Truck Plant.”
  • Ford labeled the union's decision as "grossly irresponsible" and mentioned they had already provided an "outstanding offer". The company also indicated that the strike would jeopardize many other jobs and facilities.
  • Ford's Super Duty truck line holds immense significance for the company. The vehicle line alone generates more revenue than major corporations like Southwest Airlines, Marriott International, and Nordstrom did in 2021. It also accounts for over half of the market in commercial segments, including utility, mining, construction, and emergency response vehicles.
  • With the addition of this plant, there are now over 34k workers on strike

Italian aluminum casting machine maker, IDRA, known for supplying Tesla's innovative 'gigapresses', has expanded its customer base to include Ford and Hyundai. As carmakers increasingly explore this advanced manufacturing technique, IDRA is also nearing a significant deal with a premium European automaker, signaling a shift in vehicle production methods.

  • Gigapresses create larger vehicle parts, streamlining production by reducing assembly steps. This enhances efficiency, cuts labor costs, and potentially improves structural integrity by minimizing joints and seams.
  • A 'gigapress 6,100' with Ford's branding and IDRA's largest press, the 9,000, are being tested, with the latter set to be shipped to Hyundai for R&D.
  • IDRA has already shipped 14 presses to Tesla, including two 9,000 ones for Tesla's large cybertruck production at its Austin plant, Texas, according to sources and posts by Tesla on social media.
  • Six gigapresses are now emerging as the standard for an annual production of 500,000 vehicles, one source added.

ASOTU’s coverage of NAMAD is brought to you by TrueCar

Paul Daly: 0:00Hey, it's Thursday, October 12. I gotta say, it doesn't feel like October. We are live on site at the NE med conference, the 43rd. In Miami, Florida.

Unknown: 0:09

Unbelievable.

Paul Daly: 0:10

You beat me here yesterday, this place is like, it's not terrible. It

Kyle Mountsier: 0:14

is not terrible. It's a little bit like sticky on the humid. But it's okay. We really we want to start by thanking TrueCar for giving us the opportunity to sponsor and come alongside and create content here, whether it's the live stream in the morning, or we're going to be doing content with a bunch of people throughout the day, just sharing exactly what's going on here at name add, because the it's a growing event, but more people need to know about it.

Paul Daly: 0:36

Yeah, for sure. I feel like I was just talking to Damon Lester. And it feels like this year is kind of the tipping point from last year to this year. Just, you know, I got in late last night. My first time stepping on the floor was early this morning. The tradeshow floor is packed last year, we're like, Oh, where do we want to talk to people this year? It's like we're gonna have to work to find some space. Yes. So as we're getting started this morning, breakfast is about to start. And we found PE Watson, the fourth a brand new, I'm going to resign over a brand new president, brand shiny new president of name Ed Perry, thanks for giving us a few minutes because we just yanked you out everything that you were actually doing.

Perry Watson IV: 1:10

Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Paul Daly: 1:12

All right. So tell me this is you became president this year? I did.

Perry Watson IV: 1:16

I did. quite an honor. I definitely am definitely excited about being able to continue the legacy of the founders and the past chairman, and, of course, Damon, which is a hard act to follow. But you know, he's definitely mentoring me through it. So I'm very excited about

Kyle Mountsier: 1:33

it. Very cool. So as you take, obviously, you've been around the world have named Matt and, and you know, the, the environment and the people. And so it's you're not a stranger to it. But as you kind of come into this presidency, and look to take everything to the next level and engage the automotive community in new and fresh ways. What are you most excited about? For this next year?

Perry Watson IV: 1:57

You know, I would say that I'm most excited that we're seeing so many new people at the conference, we've got over 1000 people at the conference this year. And this is the first time ever, we've got I believe it's over 100 people doing one on ones with the manufacturers, over 70 vendors, vendor partners, because they are partners. And so that's the most exciting thing to me, you know, people really trying to jump out there and get a deal advance their career. So to be a part of that is a special thing for me in particular. And for us as an organization.

Unknown: 2:31

Yeah. And when you say get a deal, because this is an important thing that like doesn't happen anywhere else at conferences, is these these one on one OEM meetings, can you like describe to people that maybe I've never been here, what that looks like and why that happens here.

Perry Watson IV: 2:45

So one of the unique things about the conference is the OEM partners and, and, you know, there's too many to name right are here, and they're actually interviewing dealer candidates, and you really don't get that access anywhere else. And so for us, that's just that's the treasure. And I'm so so pleased at the advances that many of the manufacturers are making, I don't know if you saw the numbers, but we had a net of 110 new minority dealerships, and that is just in one year, in one year, in one year. So that's, that's incredible when you look at the net change over the last two years, but I want people to understand that it didn't just happen overnight. Many of these manufacturers from their upper level management, senior level management made it a relentless priority. They put key progress indicators in place, they have accountability. And so I'm just so happy for them. I'm so happy for the minority dealers that have the opportunities and that are really given back many of them, I get phone calls from them. And they're like, How can I give back? How can I get involved? And so we're plugging him in to name and next generation and mentoring and a lot of those great things. So it's just it's an exciting time.

Paul Daly: 4:00

Well, it's, we're really grateful for you having us here to be around the energy and cover this to get the word out. Let people know what's going on. Thanks for giving us a few minutes of your time. I know I pulled you out of what you were doing. We'll talk to you in a little longer form later. Absolutely.

Unknown: 4:12

I have a great show. Sorry. Appreciate you. Yes.

Paul Daly: 4:14

Thank you. And we'll just keep rolling. I'll tell you what, there is this essence of leadership. I don't know how to explain

Unknown: 4:24

it. Okay. So this is this is and it's Daymond to and set the tone. There's a quiet time, there's a quiet poise and the leadership within the name an organization. And its its humble, yet intentional, right? And you see that just in the way that they communicate and they they they know the value that it's bringing and they're pursuing this change and the desire for more minorities to be the man I met last night like I met, I met someone from India that's getting a point here. I met a couple of dealers that are having OEM meetings that they just cannot you know that they're GSM They're GMs. And they want to point someday that they're having these meetings to set the stage for potentially being out and out dealer principals. And it's like that level of energy when you have that much hope and option, opportunity opportunity. In an event like this, like, that's what sets the tone. Well, they

Paul Daly: 5:16

have a problem, and they don't know it yet. Well, maybe they know it. They're not going to be able to fit in here next year.

Unknown: 5:20

That's absolutely true. They're

Paul Daly: 5:22

gonna need a different. This has been the spot for a long, long time. We'll ask them that next to talk about it. It's absolutely packed. Now they have rearranged the room that we were in last year that two years ago, for the last few years. Well, while I've been here, there's a couple of them which is get me excited. And, and it's packed, it's packed, packed. Like that's it. They're done.

Unknown: 5:41

Even I was at the woke Canavan yesterday, like last year, they were in this little tiny room. This year, they were in a room and they had from the back to the front,

Paul Daly: 5:51

like the tiny room. So look, if you haven't checked it out its name at na ma d.org. Keep following the coverage here. TrueCar has helped us put this coverage on for the next couple of days. So we're gonna make sure we cover have a lot of conversations. I'm gonna release a lot of long form podcasts because of that. So yeah, so we still need to give you a little bit of a W update. There. Any sound trigger pads. So interesting developments at the end of the day yesterday, so you just lost the Kentucky plant. Those were the final words of Wednesday night's negotiation meeting between UAW and Ford negotiating terms in which included in person, the one and only UAW president Shawn Fain, according to those close to the matter, UAW basically informed Ford, it's nice to inform you, I want to see a new deal. I'm going to inform you they wanted to see and I want it what the deadline once it's interesting, man, that's the only word I can actually say right now. But they basically said, we want to see a new counteroffer that involves economics. So they want to talk some dollars not work life balance, right? They're saying we want to see some we want to see some movement on the dollars and cents. It didn't happen. So here's the here's the full quote, do I have it so after 1010 minutes, the meeting took less than 10 minutes at the end, it said that Shawn fain stood up said if this is all you have for us, our members lives and my handshake are worth more than this. This just costs you Kentucky truck plant

Unknown: 7:18

Whoa, which for then spat back and and they labeled the union's decision as what they said is grossly irresponsible. And then it would have an impact on not just those facilities, but other jobs and facilities. And we've already seen layoffs and all of these manufacturers at other facilities because they can't keep up. So

Paul Daly: 7:41

truck plants. It's so so this is Ford Super Duty truck line has immense significance for the company very, very profitable. The vehicle line alone generates more revenue than entire corporations like Southwest Airlines may have heard of them, Marriott International, Nordstrom in 2021, like the 2021, that one plant that one assembly line generate more revenue than those companies. And that's 2021. I know, right? Last year, right. But the profit coming in talk about last year, right? The numbers aren't in yet. So with the addition of this plant, there are now 34,000 workers on strike this added like 100. So you have to think like, there's gonna be a split up point here. What I mean, this is kind of the big one. Yeah, for Ford. Like, this is kind of going for the jugular, right? There's, there's not a plant that's more profitable. There's not one that's going to hurt them anymore. So maybe that's an indicator, like they weren't not going to use this right. They weren't know who was coming in anyway, and they decided to drop this one now. So I mean, hopefully it moves towards some kind of resolution. But man, what a what a, what a negotiation, what you can call it, that

Unknown: 8:44

was a thing. That's all we got to say about that. And this isn't really much of a segue. Yeah. Different things

Paul Daly: 8:51

are big things. There you go. A titan aluminum casting machine maker, Id are a known for supplying Tesla's innovative Giga press. Yes. I don't know if Tesla came up with the name Giga press. I have no because that's just their thing. Now they make Giga presses. Right. So I don't know. I mean, that's just a side thought. So basically, as more car makers, including Ford and Hyundai, are now in their customer bases, more automakers are exploring this method of manufacturing vehicles,

Unknown: 9:19

which makes so much sense what's out. Well,

Paul Daly: 9:21

actually, you contrast that against the labor talk. Right? Oh boy, because what is your pressing, pressing do

Unknown: 9:28

it just it speeds up the line creates efficiencies and doesn't need as many workers on the line creating all of these different parts

Paul Daly: 9:34

we have how many parts it removes, it removes a whole lot of moving parts from the assembly of vehicle, so less parts, less people, right, one step. So here here's some stats. So let's see. Ya Giga press 6100 model with Ford's branding and their largest press. The 9000 are both being tested with the latter being shipped to Hyundai for r&d. They have already shipped it RA has already shipped 14 of these presses to Tesla, including to 9000 models for the cybertruck production. And according to one source, you need six Giga presses as the standard to produce 500,000 vehicles a year. Wow seems like a pretty good ratio as you're moving.

Unknown: 10:19

I feel like I'd take that. Yeah, I mean, this is like this is going to be modern manufacturing as we know it. And and it's the future of creating vehicles that scale with efficiencies. And we know like the UAW comments aside, like the the number of people available to work in manufacturing is becoming limited. And so these automakers taking some of the practices that Tesla has learned, and the IDR as is making with new or presses, just gives them the ability to create vehicles at scale. The thing that I'm most excited about as you start to see this potentially open up quicker turns on like r&d for new model lines or design changes, just because the retooling requires less because you're retooling with a single entity instead of instead of entire line.

Paul Daly: 11:09

Yeah. And also one of the things that spurred this type of invention is the fact Evie manufacturing right, pressing it in. So the battery tray is where it is in the batteries going actually are a part of the structure of the vehicle, because they're so dense and they provide some rigidity. So hey, Tesla, push this innovation forward, and now it's being adopted by everybody. We have pigeons flying behind the pigeons like the movie. But that's all we have for you this morning from the shores of Miami Beach, Florida as the name at the 43rd annual named mad membership meeting, I believe is what they call us. Thanks to TrueCar for helping us get out here and sponsor this and get this content out to you follow along the rest of the day. We'll be posting we releasing podcasts. We hope you have an amazing day innovating and getting some things done

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