Asymcar Retired


Horace Dediu and Jim Zellmer discuss the politics, processes and possibilities of cars in light of: 1. Young people deferring drivers licenses. 2. The growth of car sharing. 3. Practical alternative power trains. 4. Urbanization. 5. Increased Congestion. 6. Driverless cars. 7. Rise of the "App Economy".

Hosted by Horace Dediu and Jim Zellmer.

#24: Get Rid of the Model T Men

September 7, 2015 at 12:00PM • 1 hour 51 minutes

We revisit “Antennagate”. Should organizations hire people with industry skills and experience or capable, driven outsiders? Horace shares tales from Henry Ford’s personnel practices during the Model T to Model A transition. The conversation accelerates into a discussion of aesthetics and jobs to be done. We muse on Tesla’s development, supply chain, aesthetics and market position while contrasting that with Toyota’s introduction of the Prius. We close with speculation on what a “meaningful contribution” to the auto ecosystem might look like.

#23: As an Industry Turns to Retro, You Know it's Over

July 25, 2015 at 12:00PM • 54 minutes

Horace and Jim talk with Matthew Gunson, Director of Brand Management at Phoenix based Local Motors. We learn about Local’s business model, their view of automotive jobs to be done and the 3D printing driven micro factory. Automotive nostalgia and a detour into consumer behavior closes our conversation.

#22: The Goddess

March 24, 2015 at 12:00PM • 1 hour 7 minutes

From the moment an idea is worth having no one cares what it costs - Andre Citroen The incomparable Citroen DS (French homophone: déesse), 60 years old this year. Hydropneumatic, self-levelling suspension aerodynamic and interior design efficiency, swiveling headlights, novel construction methods. Ahead of its time even in 1985. Why did this iconic design not endure?

#21: Where We're Going We Don't Need Roads

January 30, 2015 at 12:00PM • 60 minutes

Gartner asserts that “connected cars or smart cars are poised to play a pivotal role in the Internet of Things (IoT)”. We say “Hah!” Also How levies platform taxes. What in the world could “over serving” transportation mean? Using an Automatic App in a Porsche. BMW Sounding the Alarm over tech companies efforts to collect auto data China’s car industry and other unimportant details relative to declining interest in driving among young people.

#20: Iconic Design

December 23, 2014 at 12:00PM • 60 minutes

We consider Uber’s street smarts, “cash on the hood” driver acquisition tactics and their ability to operate over the top, that is above local regulations and norms. The proposed elimination of diesel cars in Paris and London ignites a side trip through today’s regulatory labyrinth. Horace reflects on a recent Tesla test drive while evaluating innovation on jobs to be done, form factor design, production methods and their business model. Jim considers Sandy Munro’s recent BMW i3 teardown, which lead him to conclude that “this car makes money”. Might BMW have leaped ahead of Tesla while pumping out 500,000 traditional 3 series this year? We close with news that Porsche has once again rejected an “entry level” sports car project. This, despite their growing SUV and large car portfolio.

#19: About that Ferrari SUV

November 13, 2014 at 12:00PM • 1 hour 1 minute

What motivates a company to destroy its brand? We start with Mini’s plans to sell 100,000 cars in the States by 2020, nearly double today’s pace and remember how Cadillac destroyed their brand and how Mercedes, Porsche, Ferrari et. al. can’t wait to do the same. Also, might retail power in the form of strong dealer regulation limit brand’s ability to improve or address customer experiences? What motivated Warren Buffet to enter the American car dealer business? (With a long aside on what Buffett investment logic is all about and why it’s not contradictory to a growth investor). We detour a bit into the information battle to come and how car makers yearn to be the masters of their own cars.

#18: Cars of the People

September 17, 2014 at 12:00PM • 1 hour 1 minute

Why did the Tata Nano fail? What is the future of low end disruption in the auto industry? What does sharing mean for cars? What are the jobs that spaces in cars are hired for that their makers don’t understand? Is Elon Musk an Industrialist?

#17: 27 Quadrillion BTUs

August 20, 2014 at 12:30PM • 60 minutes

Part I is a review of the “automotive stack” and note how there is no singular event that seems to affect disruptive change. From changing jobs to be done, modular design and manufacturing processes, powertrain evolution, urbanization, environmental interests, regulation and taxation. Part II is a review of a framework of analysis based on sources and uses of energy. Inputs, efficiency/losses, network effects and inertia, what can change and what can’t change. For a shot of theory, Horace reflects on the dichotomy of efficiency vs. efficacy when it comes to predicting change in the sector.

#16: Do the Numbers Add Up? Fuel Cells vs Batteries

June 26, 2014 at 12:00PM • 58 minutes

Steve Crandall joins us to discuss hydrogen fuel cells vs. lithium batteries. The two alternatives to post-internal-combustion motoring are far harder to assess than it might seem. Both require systems analysis and the systems themselves need to be weighed against the incumbent infrastructure and jobs to be done. We begin with Toyota’s fuel cell sedan announcement and recall Honda’s Clarity. The conversation leads to the observation that technical merit is not always sufficient or even necessary to market adoption success. We note that Toyota supported the Prius through years of low volume. Steve compares this to ATT’s abandonment of a cell service in the 1990?s. Steve compares the energy performance of hydrogen and gasoline and shares a look at the economic conditions necessary for a successful hydrogen fuel cell launch.

#15: Sunray Sedan

June 18, 2014 at 12:00PM • 51 minutes

Matt Grantham joins us to discuss electric vehicles, renewable energy, smarter software, solar opportunities and economics. Matt introduces us to Solar X, the solar car challenge. He reflects on these emerging technologies in light of Australia’s nearly extinct auto manufacturing sector. We explore the concept of a car as the home power source and consider possible EV disruption of traditional power generation and distribution concerns. The potential business models arising from these emerging technologies makes us pause in light of solar firm’s stock performance.