Toyota Turns Around Its EV Tone, Ford Looks For Blue Ovals, Target Breaking Out The Tinsel

September 26, 2022
It’s Monday as we welcome our first week of Fall talking about Toyota’s changing tone on rapid EV adoption. We also talk about the badges which may be driving Ford’s supply hold ups, as well as Target going all in on holiday season…like now.
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It’s Monday as we welcome our first week of Fall talking about Toyota’s changing tone on rapid EV adoption. We also talk about the badges which may be driving Ford’s supply hold ups, as well as Target going all in on holiday season…like now.

  • Toyota is subtly shifting its tone toward EV adoption in response to some investors and environmental critics who say the company isn’t doing enough to quickly mass adopt EV’s
  • Toyota has been one of the most cautious critics of broad statements and stated manufacturing shifts toward BEV adoption citing concerns in the global ability to produce enough battery materials to support the move
  • Danish fund AkademikerPension, which manages around $19 billion on behalf of academic institutions and school employees, has battled with Toyota for almost two years over what it sees as the auto maker’s opposition to measures promoting EV adoption… saying EV skepticism was “jeopardizing Toyota’s valuable brand to the detriment of shareholder interests.”
  • Akido Toyoda, Toyota’s chief, is a prominent voice of caution about EVs and questioned whether the vehicles are as environmentally friendly as advertised and expressed doubt that consumers really want them
  • Ford recently issued an earnings warning which reduced its earnings by over $1B and also announced there will be between 40-45k vehicles awaiting parts to be completed
  • Although the company isn’t talking openly about it, sources confirmed with the Wall Street Journal that it is a lack of Ford’s iconic blue oval badges and nameplates which specify the models which are causing a large portion of the holdup
  • The company has considered options such as 3D printing the badges only to hold back over quality concerns
  • The shortage is linked Tribar Manufacturing, a company in the Detroit suburb of Wixom who has a large a-list of auto manufacturer clients and had a recent high-profile shutdown over concerns that they released high amounts of toxic chemicals into local waterways
  • Is Target responding to Walmart’s October push into the holiday sales season basically moving Black Friday to early October?
  • Last week we reported Walmart’s rolling out of its “no concerns” return options starting on October 1st. Now…
  • In an announcement, Target said they are kicking off its holiday season push with its biggest ever “Deal Days” promotion from Thurs, October 6 to October 8 where the retailer will offer “hundreds of thousands of incredible deals” and will price match everything they offer through December 24
  • Target announced weeks ago that it would be hiring 100k seasonal workers to stock shelves, pick online orders, and keep the stores in order throughout the season.
  • Target currently fulfills 95% of all its online orders.

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Kyle Mountsier, Paul Daly

Paul Daly  00:23

Well, it's fall time. It's Monday. We have things to talk about like Toyota and its tone on EVs force Michigan's blue ovals. And target is talking tinsel time already got go. The people like Groundhog Day is how many retailers can start Christmas. We'll talk about, actually, let's not talk about that. Because if we talk about it now, we're not going to talk about it later. I'm just gonna get sideways.

Kyle Mountsier  00:47

I'm gonna get so mad. I had

Paul Daly  00:51

a whole other experience in Costco that we get talking about 208. So welcome to another amazing week in retail, automotive, we got a lot of things coming up some of the things we're getting to trap men travel is like, it's coming in, like fire backup, fall travel, ready to go. And because I mean, not only summer travel, right, the summer travel Lawler, you know, it just ever dies down a little bit. But then like four months of intensive planning for a solo con, and we really only went to Philly a handful of times, right? Because we were so head down. And so now it feels like fire back up there a few things we're about to do, named Matt is next week, dude. Next week,

Kyle Mountsier  01:32

my wife and I were looking at second wind and and all of a sudden you come October

Paul Daly  01:39

next week. So we'll be named Matt. But we're also super excited that we are going to be late leading the industry's first ever creative track. At a workshop like at a conference, there's never been one that I'm aware of. I don't think you have either. But we're literally going to get in the dirt with the creative saying like this is the best practices, let's make some things together. Let's talk about best practices. We brought in a rockstar crew. And it's at Brian patches modern retailing Conference, which used to be triple A s on November 13, through 15th. in Palm Beach, if you have creatives on your team, and you're like, I want to find a way to invest in them. People actually call people always say that to us, right? That's always interesting

Kyle Mountsier  02:18

is everybody wants to find a way to invest in their creatives, but it's not been like widely known on how you do that. It's like how do I get better videos? How do I get better graphic design? How do I get better x from a creative and that really the majority of the resources have been outside of auto and so we're just bringing some of those resources in. And it's really cool that Brian kind of sees it as as an opportunity to bring us along and do this together. Because goodness knows. I'm telling you if our industry gets creative, right, we have LRS Yeah, like it's an industry wide. And like individual dealership, if you get creative, right you have an opportunity to tell your story better.

Paul Daly  03:01

It's not even an opportunity. You're going to tell your story better. But your and your internal team is going to be charged up but your ad spend is going to go way down. Let's just say that if you have better creative your ad spend goes way down or like hands down. If you want to join us and we hope you will can go to a show back or forward slash M AR C MRC for modern retailing conference forward slash MRC. Get a discount on your tickets. Come hang out with me and Kyle and Darren don't lie opinion. Nathaniel, Greg Glick, we're going to be tight. In this. We're going to teach your creatives in this we are going to send them home excited and energized to make better things for your store, which makes better things for everyone else. And why would you not? If you don't send them like I don't want to hear that. I'm looking for a way to invest in my creative.

Kyle Mountsier  03:51

I need better creative.

Paul Daly  03:53

Yeah, we're trying to solve the problem for you for crying out loud. We're trying to solve it for you. You got auto collapse,

Kyle Mountsier  04:01

auto collapse has come in? Well, okay, we're moving to twice a week for auto collapse. We got them on Tuesdays,

Paul Daly  04:08

as opposed to twice a day. And it wasn't sustainable. To breathe

Kyle Mountsier  04:11

a little bit. Take in the knowledge take in the information it's coming in. And then what you've got also is a brand new series that we'll be starting to talk about a little bit. But if you're in the know you're in the know, we've got a soda con sessions we, ourselves and three other incredible podcast hosts Alana Shante, Michael Cirilo and Glen Lundy hosted a little 10 to 15 minute conversations at Otakon. And look, they got real talk. So today, we're firing it up with effectives Anthony Jean Golia and Ashley Puckett. And we'll have episodes now through like mid November every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for you so get that little it's like it's just like these just little quick kits of information knowledge, some community some, some community build and conversation around what's happening in automotive, but

Paul Daly  05:00

are a lot of fun. Other people we try to put on the spot. Put each other on the spot, it's fun to put other people on the spot. So you can just link it up, it's linked up here or you can just search a so to con sessions and there's an episode 00. So you can kind of get a little preview and I love it. It's live. There's some ambient noise, which I think adds to the flavor and the character of the session. There. No doubt on auto clubs. Actually, tomorrow. It was just got out adjacent Stein is the guest tomorrow. So autoclaves gonna have a great guest tomorrow. All right. So if you haven't, if you haven't figured it out, we make a lot of content. Make a lot of content, because everyone can't listen to everything. And by the way, if you're not subscribed to our email, that email list is growing like a weed. You should be on it. If you're not just go to a soy And you will have the most fun and informative email in retail automotive hands down fully guaranteed money back guarantee in your inbox.

Kyle Mountsier  05:54

Five minutes of fun. That's the new that's the new tagline for the newsletter. Like five minutes of fun. Oh, and I learned something. Right.

Paul Daly  06:03

All right, we have some things. learning something. Oh, yeah. Segue. Speaking alert. Well, here's here's a great story. Toyota, and we've talked about this in the past. And we've talked about Toyota specifically, it's interesting that other people are noticing and they're catching a little heat for it. Toyota is subtly shifting its tone toward Evie adoption in response to some investors and environmental critics who say the company isn't doing enough to quickly mass adopt EVs. They have been been one of the most cautious critics of the shift. And basically saying, we're not gonna have enough materials as fast as everyone wants us to have. They're not saying they don't want them faster. They're just saying we don't think we're gonna have them. And they also think that, you know, consumers might not want them as much as everybody is saying, instead, Toyota doubled down on its move to a very successful move to increase production of hybrid vehicles.

Kyle Mountsier  06:59

For me, because it's right now, their hybrid technology already accounts for 30% of its deliveries worldwide, which is something that majority of manufacturers can't actually tout. So they've actually taken

Paul Daly  07:10

the walk. Right? Not everybody that has a hybrid option. Exactly. Let's

Kyle Mountsier  07:15

face it, I love that they're walking through it, though. It's like, alright, we went from ice vehicles, internal combustion. And then we've grown and introduced this hybrid technology into the market, and not just introduced it, but like, penetrated into the market at 30% of our total retail deliveries, like they have a track record of moving into new technologies. Well, so I think that yeah,

Paul Daly  07:39

I don't slack. I don't understand the flag. I mean, it's, it's, you know, so there's some major investment funds Danish fund, let's see if I get this right. AKA the maker that sounds pretty dangerous pension fund, which manages $19 billion on behalf of academic institutions and school employees. They have battled through yoga for almost two years, on what they say, as the automakers opposition to measures promoting Evie adoption, saying their EV skepticism was their skepticism was jeopardizing their valuable brand to the detriment of shareholder interests. I mean, like you think a Danish company very, you know, kind of very environmentally forward. And they also happen to have a much smaller country to power. You know, it's like just very much so. So what do we say a Keto Toyota with a D, if you didn't know, keto, Toyota is the CEO of Toyota. He's a prominent voice of caution about EVs and question whether or not there are as environmentally friendly as advertised, right? Like, there is no such thing as a fossil fuel emissions free vehicle, right? There's no such thing. It's where did the admissions actually come from in the production of that vehicle? So it looked like people at Toyota acres of land for

Kyle Mountsier  08:53

a single battery, you know, thing, you know,

Paul Daly  08:55

not not saying and we're not saying that it's like, not beneficial. We're just saying, like, just step back for a second. And let's give it a real solid assessment. But you know, that the pop culture narrative is just pulling everything forward. And Toyota is the one that's saying, like, we're gonna take a measured approach. And they're betting that when when the other shoe drops, right when the material shortages are real, and when it has a hard time, Toyota is going to be in a place where like, look, we're still on sound footing, we're stable, they have a history of being right about stuff in general. You know, people the company say that Toyota has been advised by their PR firm to withhold negative comments about the transition. According to Emma Harbor, VP of an advisory firm sage who work with Toyota in the past, she says, Toyota has flipped over and they felt the chart changing tide on how consumers and politicians and other stakeholders are feeling about her transition. So we asked the question, what's actually driving the change? Is it the weighing machine where it's based on evidence and facts and results or the voting machine, which is based on comments and social pressure?

Kyle Mountsier  09:57

Well, the shareholders will Want the stock to act like voting machine, but Toyota is leaned in on their history saying, hey, look, we're going to take the measured approach to revenue, and to retailing, which is leaning into the fact that they are still a weighing machine. But I do think that, you know, I think there's probably a little bit to gain on both sides of things, right? With Toyota being such an innovative company over the years, you know, hey, maybe they could lead the charge in this and be the ones to kind of look toward, although I will say this, like from a technology perspective, we talked with Brian Kramer, when he was still with Toyota and some of the things that he knew about, of what they're doing in just like core, you know, software technology is like, I think just people don't even know what's going on behind the scenes. And they times the best companies are working behind the scenes more than they are out in the open. So that's actually

Paul Daly  10:54

that that description sounds a lot like Toyota to me. Well, speaking of things that are out in the open subway Yeah, for just issued an earnings warning, which reduced its earnings for q3 by over a billion dollars and also announced they'll be between 40 and 45,000 vehicles awaiting parts to be completed. That's not the most interesting part to me anyway, although the company isn't talking openly about it sources confirmed with the Wall Street Journal that it is a lack of the iconic oval Ford badge, that and the main plates that they put on the car that's causing the delay. I always imagined they were just you know what I mean, just like, I'll just put another badge on that. That just goes to show you how tightly people are managing supply these days, the company's considered options like 3d printing, and some more like instant production of these in the interim, but they're like the quality is just not going to be there. And the shortage after like I looked into a little further, the shortage is linked to a company called try bar manufacturing. They're in a Detroit suburb, they do bad news for a lot of vehicles and Ford and GM. And they had a shutdown because they had an environmental issue where one of their employees actually overrode the like the chemical alarm 460 times in one hour. Oh, how many times you have to press the button in a minute? Like, what else was he doing at the time, but the alarms are saying that the chemicals are being released, you know, from the manufacturing process into nearby waterways is triggered a big environmental thing. They said the tribe are hindered the investigation, they told all the residents like they put a metal like a boil water, it was like a no contact. It was like don't touch the water. It's wild, isn't it? They found out that there were elevated levels of I think was chromium or something like that. But not over the limit because of the plants filtration. And you know, they had done some stuff and dumped a bunch of crap in the Hudson before. Either way. That's not really Ford's problem. Ford's problem is that they don't have badges for

Kyle Mountsier  13:01

badges, which is why they quit. Which can you imagine being like, alright, cars done.

Paul Daly  13:07

I think that goes for each of the companies.

Kyle Mountsier  13:09

He's like, there's nothing left boss, bring it down by a billion. Just bring it down by a billion not a problem. Like that just kind of blows my mind that level, day and time. I mean, hey, look, when you're dependent on a company, when the supply chain breaks, the supply chain breaks doesn't matter what it is, and literally, that you can't deliver a Ford without a Ford badge on it, right? I

Paul Daly  13:35

mean, the comments section that we linked up in the hierarchy, or the comments section is very entertaining, is a mix of people saying, You know what, like, actually, I've had a Ford truck for like three or four years and the bad kind of falls apart anyway,

Kyle Mountsier  13:48

it comes off anyway.

Paul Daly  13:49

The best comment by far he was like, well, it doesn't really matter, because like 75% of the Badgers are about to be replaced with the Punisher logo anyway. That's great. So not not laughing about Ford's problems just trying to make a little light of the irony of the situation before it is coming back strong. And they're still maintaining their end of year revenue revenue, meaning that they're q4. They're saying looking to rebound and post a substantially larger profit than they did last. So

Kyle Mountsier  14:18

here's the thing if you got a 3d printer sitting at home and you got a Ford badge, just mirror that thing and start shipping them jokers because you could be responsible for serious q4 revenue speaking before revenue that's the first time

Paul Daly  14:36

I think that's the first time we really were you like it was like bumps that we both tried to spike the ball. But let's go ahead Kyle watching lean into this. Well, I

Kyle Mountsier  14:47

look. Last week we talked about Walmart rolling out its no concerns return options starting on October 1. And in a in a wild turn of events, not really so wild, it seems like there are more companies looking to move Black Friday sales earlier into October one of those being Target. Target has recently announced they're kicking off its holiday season push with its biggest ever deal days promotion from Thursday, October 6 to October 8. So check them out. not buying advice, where the retailer offer hundreds of 1000s of incredible deals. And and here's the kicker, Paul, this is a goodwill price match everything they offer through December 24. That's commitment. That's some commitment that say and we're coming strong with these offers that saying we're going to be in four. Oh, this is what I this is what I actually really liked this. Because the the buying season for Christmas is already stressful enough. You like what do I get my mother in law? Right. But now, you know, that buying season also gets more stressful by the fact that it's like when do I buy it? You know, hey, look, just buy it when it makes sense. And targets gonna take care of you. So that's a pretty Yeah,

Paul Daly  16:06

I mean, it's following. Every everybody seems to be doing this. I've had some anecdotal evidence to Walmart last week announcing that they're going to do their program now target announcing their program. Everybody's hiring a bunch of people tire target and hired 100,000 people. They said they fulfill 95% of their own online orders. So they got people picking shelves and delivering. I was in Costco over the weekend. And was it still? It is still September. I was like was it still September like it's already October? Yes, it is still September and it was September. And what you see I was expecting like Halloween decorations and costumes. They had all the Christmas trees, the ribbon, the wrapping paper, the outside decorations, Christmas, and rows and rows of Christmas gifts. And I was like everybody is like all over Christmas this year. And probably some of it is that people are going to be back to stores in mass, right? Obviously, you know, like the pandemic is over. People are shopping, you see people just mingling in and about able to go wherever they want, unless it's important. Nevermind, we'll go talk about mourning group for a second. But people are just doing their shopping thing. And I think everybody knows that the financial situation isn't going to get any better or any looser. So they're like trying to incentivize people to spend their money.

Kyle Mountsier  17:23

That's exactly what it is. It's going hey, look, there's there's a finite amount of funds, we need to capture them as early as possible. And so I mean, thinking about that from an automotive retail perspective, think about like the December push for retail in automotive and what that might mean for available funds in consumers pockets and how you can start to incentivize and I mean, if customers are already getting this communication, why not lean into it? I mean, target already has, you know,

Paul Daly  17:50

I have I have I have a suggestion, a humble suggestion for any anyone that runs a December to remember promotion. A Toyota does all the time right with Lexus every year it is ready, December to remember, but in October What do you think? Just go for it. Let's do it. It's Monday, we're swinging for the fence on Monday. Everyone's gonna take our brand and advice. We're not gonna get any of the credit for it. But that's okay. Because we just show up to do this for you every day so you can go out there and do it for somebody else. So go