Lot Attendants, OEMs and Startups, Remembering Saturn, EV Charging Standards

June 10, 2022
Friday is shaping up to be a full day as we talk about yesterday’s trip, and specifically, two young lot attendants. We also talk about Porsche’s new partnership with new startup incubator, Up.Labs, Saturn’s ‘crazy’ idea from 20 years ago, and EV standards being shaped by the US.
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Porsche partners with UPlabs to fund several Auto related startups announced at UpSummit in Bentonville, Ark

  • Partnership will help seed up to 6 startups in the mobility sector from digital retail to supply chain transparency
  • Porsche will have the option to acquire the startups after three years and will have a minority stake in the companies

UpLabs launched by UpPartners, an investment firm focused on transportation, specifically, “technologies that help move people and goods cleaner, faster, safer, and at lower-cost - on the ground, in the air, on the sea, and in space”

  • The UpSummit is the company’s  an invitation-only annual gathering in Bentonville hosted by partnersTom and Steuart Walton, and Ross Perot Jr.
  • Take Away: Don’t let the OEMs have all the fun, Dealers can do (and are doing) similar things. (Vincue, Webbuy, Streamline, ASOTU etc)

Throwback to GM brand Saturn’s uniquely crazy idea over 20 years ago (Baltimore Sun)

  • Submitted by reader/troublemaker Eric Trytko via LinkedIn DM
  • ”Here is one you can have some fun with. This article is from 1991 when Saturn began selling cars and their philosophy. It sounds like SPOC and Single Pricing!  Hey what's really old is new again!”
  • “When Ed Sprigman lost his job as a pilot with Eastern Airlines, he decided to give automobile sales a try. But his brief experience at one Baltimore dealership had him rethinking his career choice.”
  • There is so much in this article that will make your eyebrows raise, you have to read it
  • Take Away: It’s not about acquiring more knowledge, it’s about executing on the knowledge you already have. THANKS Eric!

US Government to set standards for charging project

  • “The rules would require government-funded EV charging stations use DC Fast Chargers and have at least four ports capable of simultaneously charging four EVs and each must be at or above 150 kW. It would also bar charging stations from requiring a memberships to use them.”
  • 2030 goal of 50% of vehicles sold to be hybrid or electric
  • Uptime set to 97% for all charging stations
  • Other standards include payment types, charging speed, and pricing
  • Take Away: Building a new store? Become a hub for charging and make sure you are a destination people WANT to go to.


Kyle Mountsier, Paul Daly

Paul Daly  00:23

buckle up, troublemakers. It's Friday, June 10. Kyle and I spent the day in Philly yesterday doing all things a soda con spent time at a dealership. But there's things to talk about, like Saturn, and OEM startups and all these things, all these things. Like, we're not gonna get through all this.

Kyle Mountsier  00:41

We started putting the show notes together. And first thing I said was like, there's no news out there. And then all of a sudden, like, 10 minutes later, it was like,

Paul Daly  00:49

well, like, look, it's easy to look at the surface level news. And you know, sometimes it just you just need to figure that out today. I feel like there's like several layers of depth to what we're talking about, that aren't things that are typically talked about or kind of, like, turned around, like, let's get all these things and all these things in the conversation because it matters. We spent the day in Philly yesterday. Well, first, let's talk about all things use cars right after this live stream if you're on it. And every Friday morning, we have a clubhouse show called all things used cars. It is the most insightful hour in used cars hands down. There is always over 100 people involved in this conversation, which may sound chaotic if you're not familiar with how it works, but it's not. It's insanely amazing. There should be 1000 people in this room. So David Long is going to lead the conversation on today's topic is so it's so here. Here's the topic ready? Is it time to return to a 30 day stock and a strict 60 day turn roller grenade in the room? And let's see what happens. When I'll tell you why. 30 days? Sorry. 30 day supply. Sorry. Yeah, no, good. So yeah, we just want to make sure because we're gonna forget to talk about that. If I didn't mention it right now we're running. Yesterday, we went to Philly, Dallas Otakon

Kyle Mountsier  02:03

I would get home last night, my wife, it was so nice to actually get home like the travel plans just worked out. After Midnight in an hour I was home I was in my house before 10 o'clock on a day trip is beautiful. But I get home. My wife goes, Are you just exhausted from the day. And the first thing I said was No, I can't because of the energy that was around a day like I constantly felt lifted up by being in the spaces that were being in even just even just something as simple as the energy around the lady, I believe her name is Angela. And joining us around the room block at the Hotel Casino where the majority of the room block is going to be even just her energy in a hearing her excitement for it and, and US explaining what we were doing and, and her just kind of like catching that fire and then to go to the event space and and dream about like where everything's going to happen and then being Co Co Subaru and meet, you know, general managers and lot attendants. We'll talk about them in a second and everybody across that store. And then you know, everybody coming in from Tom doll to other Subaru to other co dealerships to industry partners. And it was just this, like, it was everything a day about automotive should have it was like

Paul Daly  03:22

automotive, that's a great way to sum it up. If you go to our Instagram account, at automotive State of the Union on Instagram, the stories are still live from yesterday, they stay up for 24 hours. So go to his stories, and you'll be able to see a lot of what happened yesterday, you know, including some conversations we had hanging out with Tom doll, CEO of Subaru of America and all of the things. I'm starting to get worried that a soda like there are going to be people that really want to come to a soda calm that aren't going to be able because we're gonna be out of tickets. I'm really, I'm starting to get worried about that. Like legitimately. Like before, I'm like, I'm pretty confident we're going to sell out, we sell out most of our stuff now. I'm like, there gonna be people that are upset.

Kyle Mountsier  04:00

Yeah. So go to New con.com Because here's the thing, what we're gonna do, we just decided yesterday, anyone that signs up on asotucon.com It's just a type form right now. It's super simple. It's not a big website know that it's coming September 11 through the 13th. It's a Sunday through Tuesday. But sign up there. We promise you that group that subset whether it's 51 5300 however many people sign up there are going to get access to tickets a full 24 hours prior to anyone else and more

Paul Daly  04:31

importantly, access to the room block not more importantly, but well it is more limited. So look, there's me 600 people there. The we have several hotels, the hotel we scoped yesterday is definitely I would consider the premier hotel of the three and they have 208 rooms there and they gave us 196 of their 208 rooms. So we're basically buying out this entire hotel, but if you know 196 is less than 600 so you want to be in that hotel if you can find possibly make it Thank you, Sandy for signing up the other day, I knew you'd be there. I knew it. I just knew it. So, okay, we need to move on. We're never ever going to get through this. So yesterday one of the most engaging things that happened, and we kept telling them this, probably one of the highlights of my day and probably yours, as well as that, we had a conversation with two lot of attendance at siopa Subaru and talk about two young men who just got involved with retail, automotive, and have all the talent and all the enthusiasm with all the respect.

Kyle Mountsier  05:31

Yeah, one of them in the picture, if you just saw the grip back

Paul Daly  05:37

on your back to hit it and Chris horsey.

Kyle Mountsier  05:40

Yeah, so So Jeremy, the guy in the lighter blue shirt. Actually, his dad has an independent shop, not a shop, sorry, an independent lot. And he was like, I want to be on the franchise side to learn that side of it. Because one day, I want to own my own my own store. And so he's like, I gotta learn this part of the business. And he said, I actually wanted to come in as a lot attendant because I realized that I needed to know every aspect of the dealership. Well, then two months later, you know what he does? Chris, the guy on the other side, he invites he says, Look, you gotta get these guys, you got to see this thing,

Paul Daly  06:16

right? He was working for the gas company in Philadelphia. And, and listen, I can't explain enough that these two guys had we start talking Instagram and social media, and then wanting to start a podcast. And we're like, they're like, We don't know what to talk about. We're like, oh my gosh, talk about being a lot attendant. Talk about life as a lot attendant like you've seen your everything. And there are other lot attendants out there that need to hear this. And we were like, This is exactly why we have so to write to wrap our arms, your tone about the event, they're gonna get to be part of the welcome reception and the concert we're throwing. And so we started sharing info, we made them promise us they were going to start their podcasts. So if you are listening today, which you may be, we're watching you and we expect episode one within a week. But you said you were going to do it over and over. And we're holding you to it here. And if you do it, we'll feature it here. We'll have you on the show to talk to people. So they're there. That's that. That's that

Kyle Mountsier  07:06

that's that. So also, if you're not at the cog dealership, or not those two guys, we have an avenue for you to share with stories about people in your dealership that a lot of tendons or technicians or salespeople or receptionist doing really cool things. so.com forward slash positivity. And you can share charitable stuff, things about how you're doing recruiting amazing things that people are doing outside of the dealership, we want to just pull that up into the industry and display it because there are so many cool things that our industry just does for the community. I wish I could tell you the story. Maybe on Monday or Tuesday or Sunday. I'll tell you the story about my Uber ride because that was a whole other part of yesterday. We can't even get to that.

Paul Daly  07:51

Alright, let's talk about some news. So in the news today or at a press release, Porsche is partnering with a company called up labs or up labs to fund several auto related startups. This was announced of the UPS summit in Bentonville, Arkansas. So first of all, the UPS Summit is an invite only annual gathering in Bentonville like Bentonville, right. That's where Walmart's headquartered. Yep. And three of the partners in up oh my gosh, show up Labs is what's another company apart. Okay, up labs, was established by a partners, some of the partners of partners are Taman Stewart Walton from the Walton family that founded Walmart and Ross Perot, Jr. Of course, and I was like thinking speaking of events that we don't get invited to, right. But either way, they they created up labs, to partner with people who are committed to mobility, right. So it's moving products and people forward and whether that's land rail space, and Porsches collaborating, funding seed seating, six startups. And after three years, Porsche will have the opportunity to acquire them. And they're working in areas like digital retail supply chain supply chain transparency, like this is this is a great way to pair talent, and, you know, retail automotive dollars, saying like, how are we going to solve the problems and I just started incredibly interesting.

Kyle Mountsier  09:14

It's so smart, because it's, you know, I'm a big soccer fan, right. And in soccer, one of the things that is really native to that that brand of sport is homegrown players, right? And basically, what you do is you kind of find these players in like late elementary or early middle school, and you acquire the rights to them as a soccer team. And you kind of you what you get is first first right of refusal, or first option for purchase, when they come available to be actually like at the pro level. And what you do is you're also grooming them along the way and you're crafting the narrative of like, their player style, the way they fit into the organization and all that type of stuff. And this is very similar to that. It's like, Hey, you're your own company, but We get like we get to watch the product roadmap, we get to watch how it integrates within our company, and then decide first right of refusal to decide to, you know, acquire that homegrown player or not. And it's, it's a really smart play, because then your time on r&d is actually handed off to another company's p&l. Super smart. Yeah,

Paul Daly  10:20

that's a great way to put it. But look, here's takeaway, don't let the investment firms the OEMs have all the fun, right? We've seen so many dealers get in the space of innovation and technology and partnering with other building their own platforms, companies like Vin, Q and Webb buy and streamline. And, uh, so two, oh, right. So let's don't let's take this as a cue for this is the way the world works now that we can actually speed up innovation by partnering with other people and playing in spaces that are a little bit outside maybe, and then for sort of selling them service up the phone

Kyle Mountsier  10:52

and call Steve Greenfield and get on the dealer fund. If he's still got spaces.

Paul Daly  10:56

Let's do it. Let's do it. Okay, another out man. This is a fun one, because this one was actually submitted by off by a troublemaker by one of the troublemaking community, a reader Eric trickbot, via LinkedIn, his, his name is linked up. So give him some love on LinkedIn. So in the show notes. So basically, he said, I came across this and I thought it'd be interesting. So it's a throwback, it's an article from the Baltimore Sun from 1991. And it starts like this. It's about Saturn, and this new concept, and it says, When Ed Springmann lost his job as a pilot at Eastern Airlines remember them, he decided to give Automotive Sales a try. But a brief experience at one Baltimore dealership had him rethinking his career choice. And then, man, I wish we had time to read this whole article. Because it's so awesome thing. I mean, we don't have time, I was literally going to read it like that a friend told him about a new dealership that was opening in Baltimore that touted a different philosophy and car sales. Now he's a salesman at the new Saturn dealership in Glen Burnie, which opens today, Saturn promises that customers won't be subjected to high pressure sales tactics or confusing pricing schemes. Services is important as important to sales. And the company says it's built a car that equals or tops, foreign competitors. And it just goes, you have to read this article. We'll have to read it in the future.

Kyle Mountsier  12:14

This is what's so interesting, right? It's like, everybody knows what happened to Saturn. Right?

Paul Daly  12:19

And if you don't, they got close. They gone?

Kyle Mountsier  12:24

A lot of 2008. Yeah, yeah. So it was a fall out of 2008. Obviously hard to scale up a brand in a very short timeline. I mean, it's really only, what 1516 years from the initiation of that brand in the early 90s. But what I really find interesting here is, is that you like the primary model was this 1.1 price model. And then a lot of the dealerships adopted some level of single point of contact as well, because they felt like that, because it was one price, it eases the process. And I just think honestly, they were just ahead of their time. Oh, it just kind of like sometimes, sometimes early looks like wrong. And at that point, it was too early, and so became wrong. And now we're seeing a wider adoption. I mean, everybody's one price right now. I mean, rarely do you want Goshi ation a lot. Let's just call it 80% of the industry is just primarily one price. But now you're seeing a lot more people lean into, is there a more seamless flow in finance? Or is there a single point of contact? Or at least can we do it at the same desk? So there's not this like, I'm going to the back office, right? Yeah. And so to look back and go, What mistakes did they make? And then also, where were they right? And how do we translate that into in this new economy and this new consumer experience?

Paul Daly  13:44

So this article also talks about how this affects the employee experience, right? So it's both and it gets into both of those, so it's even like more ahead of their time. So listen to this. Under the Saturn philosophy dealers are called retailers, salesmen are called sales consultants. The showrooms are designed in unpretentious open air style, the repair services beside the showroom rather than behind it, and customers waiting for repairs are seated in a lounge in a corner of the showroom. And he says it's no longer a concept that if the customer doesn't buy a car that I've failed, instead of just going with the product, we ask people how they would like to be treated. I was like, did they

Kyle Mountsier  14:24

have a time machine? And they'd seriously at a time machine. There's somebody

Paul Daly  14:27

right now that concept of that brand and worked on it, and that is just ripping his hair out and just they're just like I told you, I I believe they were social media enough for them to put this in social media and just be like, historically correct. Other than this 1991 Baltimore Sun article that Eric shared with us. It's probably I wonder who that is. We have to figure that out. They're probably doing something great.

Kyle Mountsier  14:50

I'm sure I'm sure we can find out who that person is because it is way ahead of its time and we should be looking at that list. Literally everything you just said was retail automotive mindset. Absolutely from like a retail mindset like really true retail outside of automotive retail mindset. It's unbelievable. It's we have to do

Paul Daly  15:12

we have to do something. Wait, we have to go. Like, let's sell cars like it's 1991 and a Saturn dealership. Oh, why don't you bring us home? We have a few minutes for this last one,

Kyle Mountsier  15:24

man. So yesterday, this was all around the news. This is probably the biggest thing in evey, the Biden administration and the government has set out obviously, I think probably 2030 days ago, they stated that they were going to be funding $5 billion into the charging network that came out yesterday with some of the regulations around those here are just a few of them is that DC fast chargers around the country will have to have at least four ports, meaning you're probably like think about the parking matrix that has to be done to real to realize even just things parking lots, right. And then they have to be at or above 150 kilowatts, which means they are fast chargers. And then they are leaning into things like payment types, charging speed, and even pricing regulating pricing on these charging machines on the price of electricity. So there's a lot of regulation that comes around this 5 billion. Now here's what's interesting, the goal 2030 Yet again, 2031, please make us a year 2030 Thank goodness. But they are their goal is that 50% of vehicles sold would be hybrid or electric. Now, really interesting when all of these manufacturers are saying we're gonna be 100% by 2030. Right, that I think there's a little bit more realism. But even still, they're only after 500,000 charging stations. 500. Like, that is not a network. I'm just telling that's not a network that supports it. So there, there has to be some intentionality. It's like

Paul Daly  16:59

your own airport outlet mode. It's unbelievable. We all need to charge our phones and there's one outlet next

Kyle Mountsier  17:06

to the one hour. Everyone's like standing around passing the thing around trying to get it charged up. Yeah, I guess. I guess I think dealerships have a massive opportunity to be a hub for this, where they reimagine their parking lots reimagine how, man and reimagine how the in store experience actually desires a customer to come there on a more regular basis. Like maybe it's a once a week retail experience, and you're connecting with other retailers to make it an engaging space. Think about the opportunities. We're sorry, I just, I just took that story. I was so excited about it.

Paul Daly  17:45

Well, I didn't say the word though. You're excited about the opportunity, knowing obviously everybody's talking about it, right. And everyone's talking about it, you're like opportunity, right? They're not gonna do it well enough, more enough. And you have the infrastructure and the great locations and all those things already in line. We wish we could stay here all day because we just like just peek a little bit of all the things that went on yesterday. Go to a soda con.com Free register. And if you don't get on the if you don't the email, get on that email list.