Toyota Steps Up, VinFast Gets Small, Walmart Goes Degree-Free

November 2, 2023
As we head into November, there is already a lot to be thankful for as we talk about Toyota voluntarily boosting production wages. We also talk about the potential introduction of sub 20k EV as well as WalMarts plan to ditch degree requirements and focus on actual skills for corporate positions.
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Show Notes with links:

As substantial attention has been turned to the UAW strike and subsequent pay increases for workers, Toyota is voluntarily boosting pay for their non-union production workers as the automaker has announced a 9.2% wage increase for its nonunion production workers.

  • Toyota raised the hourly wages for its U.S. manufacturing, distribution, and logistics employees to $34.80, effective Jan. 1.
  • This increase is the third in a year, following a 25-cent raise to $31.86 in September.
  • The wage boost is significant at 9.2%, especially considering the usual biannual wage adjustments by Toyota.
  • Skilled trades employees will see their top wage rise to $43.20 an hour from $39.50
  • Wage progression time is halved from eight to four years, and paid time off is increased for all employees, including temporary ones.
  • Chris Reynolds, Executive VP for Corporate Resources at Toyota Motor North America, emphasizes the company's ethos, "At Toyota, we take great pride in showing respect for people. We value our employees and their contributions, and we show it by offering robust compensation packages that we continually review to ensure that we remain competitive within the automotive industry."

Vietnamese automaker, VinFast,is contemplating the introduction of the VF 3 minicar to the U.S. market at a potential price point under $20,000. 

  • At a mere 10.2 feet in length, this chunky two-door electric vehicle (EV) is designed to cater to the Vietnamese market but may appeal to budget-conscious American city dwellers.
  • The VF 3 is described as both a car and a crossover, boasting 16-inch wheels and bold geometric design.
  • The potential U.S. price point of the VF 3 might make it eligible for the $7,500 federal EV tax credit when leased.
  • VinFast is transitioning to a hybrid retail model in the U.S., incorporating franchised dealerships.
  • Duke Hale, an adviser to VinFast, shared insights from dealer meetings, "They liked the whole lineup but the VF 3, I would say, got an almost 100 percent response. They really liked the VF 3 and the reason is it's probably sub-$20,000."

Walmart's five-star checkout survey and how it has been a source of frustration for both customers and employees. The survey is part of Walmart's customer satisfaction evaluation, where customers are prompted to rate their checkout experience. However, the pressure to achieve five-star ratings has reportedly led to stress among employees.

  • Some workers feel that their jobs are at risk if they don't secure perfect scores, while customers have expressed annoyance at being constantly asked to complete the surveys. 
  • The tension around this survey system highlights the challenges of balancing employee performance evaluation with customer experience.
  • The article indicates that the intense focus on achieving perfect survey scores may detract from the overall shopping experience, as employees prioritize ratings over genuine customer service.

Paul Daly: 0:28

Yo, it's told I'm not here, like extra noise in my microphone. That doesn't even matter. But Kyle's got, oh, Kyle had Christmas lights on just a moment ago and then he tricked me. He turned them off. We got other things to talk about in the car business.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:41

I did have Christmas lights,

Paul Daly: 0:43

do everything about that intro threw me off. All of a sudden I have this like noise in my ears. Because I was like, I saw your lights. I'm like, Oh, I don't know what's up with the Christmas lights. I still don't know what's up with the Christmas lights, but they're not there anymore.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:58

They're not there anymore.

Paul Daly: 0:59

What's the deal with Christmas lights?

Kyle Mountsier: 1:00

The deal with the Christmas lights is you know, we do the year and extravaganza thing every every year now. And so Nathan, our producer and I were just kind of looking at like, hey, there was a couple little pre produce things would it look on Christmas Eve and I was like look, changed lights Christmas. Hey, give your boy some string lights and it's over. You know,

Paul Daly: 1:19

it's been Christmas in like Costco for 30 days already. I

Kyle Mountsier: 1:23

know I that was the last Christmas the thing I do by the way until the day after Thanksgiving. Like I don't let it in my life not happening.

Paul Daly: 1:30

While it was snowing here yesterday and I was like oh man when there's snow and you're in the car with the family this time of year like I start to hear Christmas music. Yeah, it just is in your brain. And we have like you know probably like four albums that we listen to on repeat throughout the Christmas season. Like by the will talk about the Chris walk. We'll talk about that when it's Christmas time isn't funny, but not anything to do with Christmas time. Kyle and I are going to be traveling around a bit visiting some dealers on Friday. Next week. We'll be at use car week from I think that's like Tuesday through the very end of Thursday. So yeah, yeah. So make sure you come say hi, we're going to be roaming. Kyle is judging the never con or no what do you what are you the judge on that? navcon Okay, I thought that was what have you a green field and the troublemakers going to be dropping some judgment?

Kyle Mountsier: 2:17

Yes. Oh, look, that's like my favorite thing. Your wheelhouse your wheelhouse in the industry and be like

Paul Daly: 2:26

would just say if you're competing in that competition, Gird your loins. It's gonna happen. I don't like

Kyle Mountsier: 2:32

Steve Greenfield. He's like, You know what, let's just look at this. And I'm like, probably gonna skip it about. No,

Paul Daly: 2:38

I was like, if we walk away from this, and you don't even either hate me or love me, there's no middle ground. Right? You're gonna hate me, you're gonna love me. That's the goal. What else is going on Auto Collabs. Today, we are dropping our interview with Steve White, which was amazing with Claire voice talking about how they add 1 billion lines of data each month. Plus his backstory is such a great guy to have a conversation with Michael Cirillo, Kyle, myself had an awesome, awesome time in conversation with him. So check that out. You go to any podcast platform, and just search Auto Collabs co ll ABS just another one of the pieces of content in the asoto verse that you might just find out that you like little, little slower conversation than

Kyle Mountsier: 3:22

for sure go check out.

Paul Daly: 3:23

Yes. Okay. So let's get into some new. Let's get into it. Oh, this this is actually I don't know what trigger pad do I play this one? I don't play that one anymore, right? We can the other UAW trigger pad. It's weird because like now the UAW update is not even about the Big Three anymore. And until this thing's ratified, I think we're gonna be floating in this middle land. But this is metal space. I think this is a really positive story to come out of everything is substantial attention has been turned to the UAW strike and all the subsequent pay increases and benefits for workers. Toyota now is voluntarily boosting pay for their non union production workers. Toyota doesn't have a union. It's not like they have union workers and non union workers. They don't have any union workers. So they're boosting pay for their workers as the automaker has announced a 9.2% wage increase for the production workers. So they raise the hourly wages for US manufacturing, distribution and logistics employees to 3480 effective January 1, it's the third raise this year. So they typically actually do bi annual raises, so they already have two that happen every year. This is a third one which makes it a little bit unusual, but obviously we can tie it back to what's going on in the rest of the industry. If you're a skilled trades worker like you have a little bit more of a specialty skill set. Now your top wage is 4320 an hour which sounds very familiar.

Kyle Mountsier: 4:45

See numbers in those mid 40s Recently

Paul Daly: 4:47

up from 3950. So they got a bump as well as well as increased pay time off and including crease time paid time off for temporary workers. Chris Reynolds, the executive VP for corporate resources at Toyota nor If America emphasizes the company's ethos when he said, quote, at Toyota, we take great pride in showing respect for people, we value our employees, their contributions, and we show it by offering robust compensation packages that we continually review to ensure that we remain competitive in the auto industry. Yeah, how can we not I wish we had an applause trigger pad because like they handled it with Toyota level. Thank you. gotcha. I gotcha. Toyota just handles it with a level of decorum and, and respect,

Kyle Mountsier: 5:30

almost struggle to comment on this at this point, because I feel like sometimes it's like our little Toyota love fest, like we love other brands too. But there's just so much good in the way that they communicate the way that they care for people. It's clear that this comes alongside the pressure of what is happening elsewhere in the US with the with the UAW impacted on manufacturers, and they have to stay competitive. But like when you're consistently giving, cost of living adjustments, consistently giving raises, and then you respond to market to market pressure, in time before anyone like creates an uprising, you create loyal people within your organization and those type of loyal people, help you build brand help you build better, better experiences, better vehicles, all of that type of stuff. So like that's the focus for me is like they're paying attention to the market and they're paying attention to the people at the same time. And they're continually making improvements. But it's still it's like this, it's it's the same exact thing that's happening with like their approach to EVs. It's like a measured approach. Hey, look, if anyone just came to you without you like, asking or forcing, and said, you get a 9.2% increase, you'd run around like giddy. Okay. Well, you know, everybody, everybody

Paul Daly: 6:49

that works there is watching the

Kyle Mountsier: 6:50

strike. They're watching the strike, but like, they didn't have to do anything. They didn't have to go

Paul Daly: 6:55

30%. Exactly. That's I think that's the point. And, you know, the other stories around Toyota right now, right, incredible profits because of their, you know, foresight on hybrids. And what that's actually doing for the company and I think this ties back to like, the, the asoto way of saying it, right, like, help a lot of people make a lot of money, right? That's kind of benstock put that out there. But that really is like they're focused on their people. They can keep quality up and the balance sheet and the p&l shows it really does. Speaking of EVs

Kyle Mountsier: 7:28

segway, hybrids EVs hybrid, the balance sheet,

Paul Daly: 7:32

and you bench you mentioned this story yesterday. It did. Yeah. So like I had to bring this back around because it was such a great little part of the story. And I think it's a really like it's important development. So Vietnamese automaker vinfast. They're contemplating the introduction of their V VF three mini car to the US market at a potential price point under 20,000. This thing looks like a Yonka truck, a little one. It's like a swatch car and a Tonka truck got together at a mere 10.2 feet in length. This chunky two door Evie is designed to cater to the Vietnamese market. However, they're saying this might just appeal to budget conscious American city dwellers definitely easy to park. It's described as a car and a crossover. It's still a 16 inch wheels, which on a car that short look pretty big. Potential. here's the here's the kicker, the potential price point might be $20,000. When if it's eligible for the tax credit, you do the math, it's like pretty much price like a Nissan Sentra was back in 2001 12, grand 12 Five wild there's nothing like it on the market Dale Hill advisor to vinfast shield in shared insights from their dealer meetings they've been having because they were bringing on network of dealers I see there. And he says they liked the whole lineup but the VF three, I would say got it almost 100% response, they liked it because of the price point there like there's nothing else like it

Kyle Mountsier: 8:56

on the market. There is nothing else like it on the market and it doesn't look like the other cars that are in that kind of like size class like a smart car, the mini right look like it's just gonna get pummeled at this thing at least this thing kind of looks like it could hurt drive over something, you know, it could at least drive over something and I think that that's that's a big change too. Because there's a market for this small car, right? Don't Have Kids like city city driving and want to be able to parallel park get in garages get out things like that. And and a great second

Paul Daly: 9:29

vehicle. It's a great session, especially if you have to park it somewhere

Kyle Mountsier: 9:32

probably going to get higher, a much higher capacity on the battery because you have a lot lighter vehicle, potentially range is really good. And then that price point to get people over the hump of I'm going to try this thing out like imagine people doing your lease as a second vehicle to try and get into what is it going to be

Paul Daly: 9:53

under a two year lease as a second like 129.

Kyle Mountsier: 9:59

The residual on that thing, it's like a regular

Paul Daly: 10:01

check. If you do a 12 month lease, they give you$1,500 let you take the vehicle for a year. They're like, we'll take that tax credit. Actually think about that.

Kyle Mountsier: 10:12

That's not a bad dude. That's like,

Paul Daly: 10:14

man, tax credits like 40% of the cost of the right. So

Kyle Mountsier: 10:19

like, if the residuals probably going to be low, the residual because of the tax credit is probably going to be in the, like, 30% range. So yeah, we're gonna have any leftover of you know, four or five, six grand, right? Over over that time period like it is it's gonna be, it's gonna be like the 99 down $99 a month lease. Here

Paul Daly: 10:38

we go one day. Nathan's typing into the notes one day lease that sucker

Kyle Mountsier: 10:44

and flip it. Yeah, that's that whole thing that we were talking earlier this week. I mean, there's so much opportunity when when you grab that, so true, so true. Speaking of I don't even know so much opportunity, segue. So if you've been to Walmart recently, especially if you've done any of the self checkout, you've seen their five star checkout survey, and how it's been a source of potential frustration for both consumers and employees. So the survey is part of Walmart's customer satisfaction evaluation, where customers are prompted to rate their checkout experience. However, the reports are saying the pressure to achieve the five star ratings have reportedly led distress among employees, some workers get this This is Watch, we're going to draw a straight line here on this one, some workers are feeling that their jobs are at risk if they don't secure perfect scores, while customers have on the other hand expressed frustration or annoyance of being constantly asked to complete the surveys every time they go in or by the employee that standing close to them. This is a tension that we know all too well, in an automotive, very familiar, where the employee evaluation is extremely important to understand the customer experience, but the customer is is it's not like a willing participant in it. And so there's this dissonance in order to get the scores. And not just that, but there's so much pay, there's there's dealer pay, there's employee pay, there's, there's there's customer satisfaction all on the line, when talking about, hey, can we just get the feedback?

Paul Daly: 12:15

Well, the way the Walmart program works is that the managers are incentivized with their pay plan based on responses that employees are not, but obviously, the manager puts pressure on employees, there's stories in there of, you know, people saying your customer saying like I wasn't even done, and the employee just came up and press the five stars, right? Or, or when you walk away, which I would be the one who would like as my receipt pops out, like I'm already three steps out the door halfway gone. It's just showing up on the screen, in which case the employee some of the employers saying yeah, we were told, if they don't press it, then it must have been a five star experience if they don't do anything. And that I think the most important part of the story is like there is a balance between how do you get relevant feedback that doesn't hassle the customer. At the same time, don't put so much pressure on your people that they're paying attention and their eyes are wide open on the whole checkout experience. Because if you think about like the Walmart situation, you're worried about the survey. So you're worried about literally the last three seconds of that customer's experience when you might not be paying attention to the fact that you're looking at all the terminals, okay, who's ready to hit the five stars, that somebody has a little problem that's in line that you could solve, or the scanner is not working or something that actually is going to frustrate the customer at the end. And so I'll say it like this to the group that I was with before. And the reason why, just like real honestly, CSI came out of PE plans.

Kyle Mountsier: 13:35

I said, Because CSI isn't as a lagging indicator, to intent and experience. Yep, that's a great way to put it. Right like if you are waiting on or pursuing CSI at the point of survey, then you are creating then you are looking at it as a lagging indicator to the real experience that you could deliver. And so focus on the real experience and the surveys will take care of themselves.

Paul Daly: 14:03

Go the surveys will take care of themselves. Hey, by the way, if you listen to the show on the podcast, leave us a review. We want to know how we're doing or if you get the daily email, just hit reply, and tell us how you like it or don't like it. We'll see you tomorrow.

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