Mississippi Bans Direct Selling, VW EV Goes Down Market, Microsoft Office Does The Work For You, -Special Guest Todd Caputo

March 17, 2023
It’s Friday and we’re on the final lap of the week as we talk about a new Mississippi ban on aut manufacturers selling direct to consumers. We also talk about VW’s new low-cost EV, we also talk about the new Microsoft Office add on that does the work for you.
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Earlier this week, Mississippi passed a bill that bans EV manufacturers from directly selling their vehicles, instead mandating that they work with franchised dealerships.

  • The law includes a limited exception for Tesla's existing outlet in the state
  • Supporters of the new legislation say it will protect small car dealerships across Mississippi
  • EV startups including Rivian and Lucid have criticized the move, claiming it will hinder consumer choice and harm the state's economy

Volkswagen, has unveiled a “plug-in for the people” with its ID. 2all concept unveiled  Priced at $26k and boasting a range of 279 miles, this Golf-lookalike hatchback is set to be the plug-in car for the masses.

  • VW even took a not-so-subtle jab at Tesla, unveiling the car at an investor event just weeks after Elon Musk failed to reveal his own affordable EV.
  • Looks alot like a VW Golf hatchback with it’s strong C Pillar design
  • Charges from 10 to 80% in 20 minutes
  • Has a “self explanatory” interior with different screen theme options like ‘retro’ featuring analog gauges and a rolling tape deck when playing music
  • With plans to invest 180 billion euros ($193 billion) over five years in battery production and raw materials, VW hopes to overtake Tesla and others by increasing its market share.
  • Expected release in 2025 with an even lower cost model, the sub $20k ID.1, planned shortly after

Microsoft Office has been a place where millions of people get work done. Now the company is heavily deploying AI Language Model Chat GPT throughout the software suite to actually do the work for you with a new integration called “365 Copilot”

  • Combines OpenAI’s GPT-4 with Microsoft 365 apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Teams to provide natural language controls by which a user can create presentations, generate text, suggest tones for writing and manage inboxes, as well as providing real-time summaries and action items, amongst other functions.
  • The demo video shows some impressive power highlighting scenarios where the user prompts were
  • ‘Draft a proposal from yesterday’s meeting notes’
  • ‘Analyze the quarter’s business results and summarize key trends’
  • ‘Create a short presentation based on ______”

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Paul Daly, Todd Caputo

Paul Daly  00:32

What's up, Kyle is still on assignment on a family vacation that we sent him on. I've got special guests Todd Caputo. We're talking about Mississippi's ban on direct to consumer EVs, new downmarket. VW has a new downmarket Eevee and Microsoft Office is trying to actually just do the work for you. So we're gonna talk about those things today, Todd, good morning.

Todd Caputo  00:54

Hey, good morning. I don't get to see it two days in a row to today's what? Two days in a row? Oh, two days in a row. We're doing the two days

Paul Daly  01:02

in a row. Two days are getting a little laggy. Internet's probably on mine. I know two days in a row. Like we're getting used to this. We're gonna get you a microphone, and a different camera and some lighting. And some soundtracks taught Todd Caputo Studios is on his way in plotting and planning, so that's not too far away. Can you see and hear me? Okay.

Todd Caputo  01:22

I can see hear you just fine. Okay, great. Great.

Paul Daly  01:25

Well go with that then. Um, hey, a couple quick announcements before we get into the news because there's some juicy ones to talk about the SOTU X Live tour. So asoto live tonight is coming to several cities. The first one is Arlington, Texas. And just a few weeks from now, it's going to be on April 5, the site is open, we're about to start adding speakers and guests, our friend Todd computer will be there, we'll be teaching some workshop things. And of course, we're bringing the band and the fun, but we're also bringing a lot of substance. And we have a lot of great dealer guests, new guests that we've never had on a soda programming before. And that's one of the benefits. We made the show in the evening. So we want as many people from your stores to be able to go so if you're in the area and driving range, please send some folks that don't ever get to go to a conference. It's a great way to incentivize them to just dig into the industry. Meet a bunch of other people who are passionate about it and kind of get them to come home. Excited Todd yesterday we were talking about this and when you had your dealership and your you had your stores if this was near you, what was your suggestion to me? What would you

Todd Caputo  02:28

shut the dealership, I would shut the store down and send everybody honestly, you learn more because you learn more from people in the industry, just by associating with them and meeting them and hanging out with them. And there's just there's no better way to learn. I've made all my connections in the industry, most of them through conferences and by meeting other people and you pick up best practices and you have some fun so you know cut people out a little bit early Sunday night it makes it makes all the difference. The days of the days on the car business are very long. Very true.

Paul Daly  03:00

So that's a Wednesday we had it on a Wednesday right what's going on on Wednesday night at the store. Alright, let's get into exactly. Oh, let's get in some news because just about 1012 minutes from now we're going to be going into the all things used car room on clubhouse live. If you don't have clubhouse, just download it from the app store and search all things used cars. We have an amazing conversation that happens there every week and David lungs all things use cars. All right. Earlier this week, Mississippi passed a bill that bans Evie manufacturers from directly selling their vehicles to consumers instead mandating that they work through a franchise dealership network. Now the law does include a limited exception for Tesla, grandfather's them in limits the store to one because there's only one there. So they're saying we're going to let that one exist. Obviously supporters say that it's going to protect the hundreds of small cart franchise dealerships in the state. You know, and as expected Evie startups like rivian and loose lucid are criticizing the move saying it's going to hinder consumer choice. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves posted comments about the decision and the bill on Facebook saying almost 200 small businesses in communities across our state are seeking assurances, the big manufacturers can't just just destroy their businesses. That's fair. He says I also recognize that innovation in the industry is inevitable. And with innovation comes new companies and new business models. And he's committed to finding long term solutions in the changing market. And he looks forward to working with everyone involved in the situation. So this is a major swing bias state to basically put a full stop on direct to consumer sales from manufacturers with the one exception of the Tesla store that is already open. Um, Todd, you are your second generation dealer. What's your reaction and response? This could be because you're also very committed to innovation.

Todd Caputo  04:48

So I think that it's a great thing for all the dealers in Mississippi and maybe possibly for the rest of the country as well. It sets a pretty good precedent. You know, I don't think that the manufacturers Sure, and you and I've talked about this before truly understand what goes on in a car dealership on a daily basis. Sure. And if they if they did, they probably would reconsider wanting to do this. And I know they tried to do it Europe, and I know they're going to try to continue to do it in the US. And some of these new Evie manufacturers think that they can do it without dealers, because Tesla did. But again, I'm a Tesla owner, we know this, right? I've been to the Tesla store for service here in Charlotte. And, you know,

Paul Daly  05:27

how can I put it,

Todd Caputo  05:29

it's kind of a personality, no offense to Elon Musk, because I love his cars. And I think he's a great guy, and he's an innovator. But it's just, it's not like a typical dealership at all. And I don't see Tesla doing things in the community like car dealers do. And you need to have that relationship with a dealership, when you own a car cars are expensive. It's not a TV from BestBuy, or a smartphone from Apple. It's an automobile. And people want to deal with a car dealer that cares about them. And every car dealer that I know. They're good people, they do a lot for their community, and they employ hundreds, if not 1000s of people and generate a lot of sales tax revenue between the revenue generated out of the dealership plus the people they submit work to. It's nothing but a great thing for the industry, as far as I'm concerned. And I think you might see, especially overseas, or in some of the states where this doesn't necessarily pass as some of the manufacturers might want that backwards, because you're going to find a consumers won't be as happy dealing with a with a direct manufacturer than they would be with a car dealer.

Paul Daly  06:29

Yeah, it really is a difficult place to be because, you know, consumer choice is something that drives capitalism. It's one of the things in the foundation, foundational principles of why capitalism works. You know, so limiting consumer choice is always a tricky subject. And the fact that auto dealers are such supportive to the community like you, like you, there's this balance, right, you can't always put the winner upfront clearly. And you know, in this case, Mississippi, the auto dealer Association, and we see so many other people fighting for auto dealers state by state. And it's often like you said, the state decisions are the ones that set precedents that make it a lot clearer in other states. So we'll see how this pans out how this works. You know, as of right now, that's the law of Mississippi. So there's, there's reason to support that. And I think it's a call for auto dealers, every auto dealer, because let's be honest, there's some really bad dealers, right? They just do a bad job that they don't care. So, you know, they don't they don't prioritize the consumer. Like it just exists, right? Like we can never like, say every time and always because there's some dealers that aren't leaning in to customer experience that aren't leading in to making sure they are a staple the community. So I think this is a call for Yeah, go ahead.

Todd Caputo  07:48

Any business, it doesn't make any difference, there's always a few bad eggs. And those are the ones that don't last, there's a whole new generation of younger people, the younger generation that are coming into the business now that really know how to take care of a customer the right way. So I think you're gonna continue to see you know, the quote unquote, bad dealers probably gone and again, it's it's gonna be economics, people won't come back. So

Paul Daly  08:09

for sure the pressure these things put on the business model are good, because again, it's forcing dealers to lean in on consumer experience. And like you said, the ones who aren't willing to do it are going to be gone soon enough. Speaking of soon enough segway so Volkswagen has unveiled its what they're calling plugin for the people with its all new ID two concept unveiled earlier this week, it's priced at $26,000. With a range of 279 miles. It looks like a VW Golf. It's a hatchback. It's got that big fat C pillar. And they kind of did it in a way that was a not so subtle jab at Tesla, because they had an a quote unquote, investor event, where they kind of stole the thunder, everyone thought Tesla was going to introduce its low cost model, VW released theirs, it's going to come out next year. And, you know, they've announced some features that it can charge from 10 to 80%. In 20 minutes. They say it has a quote, self explanatory interior, which is very clean. It actually also has some fun stuff, like you can switch the gauges to retro and there's like a little tape deck that plays when your music's playing. But yeah, so they have this and there is another one they're working on that's going to come out later. The ID one they say is going to be sub $20,000. So you know, they're investing heavily in battery technology. And this was kind of something that I guess it didn't come out of nowhere but it definitely is moving the needle in this race for Evie affordability and adoption. I don't know if you heard anything about this one.

Todd Caputo  09:38

That cars a winner 26 grand for electric car that gets almost 300 miles in range. It'll it'll sell. Volkswagen is definitely all over it when it comes to the future. But every dealer that I talked to right now in the Volkswagen franchise is clamoring for product they cannot get product right now. I would hope to see these manufacturers focus on what's stopping up today like right now let's get these dealers some products we can sell them because a lot of Volkswagen dealers are hurting right now because they just don't have new car product to sell but that car to me looks like a winner hands got 26 grands a no brainer.


Yeah, I mean like try to think like what other cars on the market are you getting right now for 26 grand? Like what are some of the other stuff like, like a Kia, a Kia Soul, maybe a Sportage trying to think of stuff in the same kind of segment. Well,

Todd Caputo  10:25

Chevy is going to have an equinox it's going to be a little over 30. And I think that's, that's coming out soon, right? That's all Equinox, right? Yeah, that's that'll that'll sell too. But that that Volkswagen is a winter? For sure. Um, if it's all wheel drive or not. It's an all wheel drive, front wheel drive. Oh, it's front. Yeah, I mean, yep. The cars are winter straight, straight. Hopefully, they're gonna build them.

Paul Daly  10:50

Yeah, exactly. They got to build them, they got to build. And so 2025, again, is the expected release date. And also, they didn't mention in this that in 2024, they're going to be releasing that electric Volkswagen bus, they just put it in there. I haven't heard much about that. But I think that's going to be one of those immediate cult favorites, as well. Uh, speaking of cult favorites, segue, I don't know if we can call it we usually call the Apple users, the cult users and the Microsoft one, not if you look at some people excited about yourself. And, you know, obviously, it's been a place over the years where millions of millions of people get work done. And now the company's light laying so heavily into the AI language model chat GPT integration in their services throughout the suite, they're releasing a new product called 365. Co pilot that in my opinion, it actually does the work for you. So basically, it combines chat GPT language model with Microsoft 360 apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and it uses that to generate text to create presentations to answer emails, even and this is the one that I thought was, was the most impressive for me is to pull insights out of spreadsheets, so like financial models, and profit and loss and balance sheet. So here are some of the prompts that on on the demo, we link everything up in the show notes, you can see the demo, and it's super impressive. And so basically one of the prompts is draft a proposal from yesterday's meeting notes. So there were meeting notes, you talked about, you know, like services, and scope, and all that's in the meeting notes. And then you can just have this draft a rough proposal based on the meeting notes. Another prompt was to do with a spreadsheet, it said, analyze this quarters, business results, and summarize key trends of the third prompt was create a short presentation based on and then you could just say, like, these notes are this article or whatever. And it literally generated a PowerPoint with images, and you can give it prompts like make it more casual, make it more formal, make it more modern. And so just the scope of work that can be done like that. And granted, there's probably going to be some accuracy issues. But I mean, what What is your thought on this technology? I mean, you always on the new tech, how do you feel about this being a part of the workflow?

Todd Caputo  13:10

So I think that it's going to put people out of a job number one, that's the first thing that comes to my head, because there's just people that do that stuff. Now. It's also, I guess, it's gonna allow for more efficiency in business, which is, you know, could be a good thing. But, you know, in the end, I mean, I've got kids that are teenagers, and I got a son in college, I think that this stuff just makes kids and people in general, not so bright, make some stupid. They don't have to think they don't have to think about these things anymore. Because the computer does everything for him. The software does everything for him. And I think that that's dangerous. All this stuff come up with AI as all of a sudden, just hitting like that, right? Like it's yeah, this is the next period quizzes the next there's more when the internet first hit, and people didn't know exactly. This is the same thing. I think this is just like it was Yeah, it is altering, it's going to alter a lot of things. And I think we as a, as a culture, and as a society, we got to really think about that especially comes to educate kids, because I don't know, it's there's a lot of good things. But I think that there's a lot of bad as well. Yeah, long conversation when I'm tired, I think.

Paul Daly  14:10

Yeah, no, we don't. But I think the bottom line is that it's a lot to process, right? It's just a lot to strategically think through in the interim. And I think auto dealers and marketing departments and PR departments. dealerships can take such advantage of this new technology, and you should be paying attention to it. Because like you said, it's going to leverage efficiency and a lot of like marketing departments and office, they're understaffed. And this is a way I think you can elevate the consumer customer experience by just producing better things quicker and letting the people the people use their brainpower on critical thinking and observation and the human element instead of like the administrative element. So I hope we move forward, but obviously we're going to pay attention to it. We're going to do all we can to bring it to you, Todd, thanks for joining me twice this week. I hope you have an amazing weekend. I know you're just about to get into work that you probably started before the show, but you all have work to do too.

Todd Caputo  15:05

We gotta, we gotta sell some cars this weekend.

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