Toyota and Science, GM Making It Rain, Gen Alpha Incoming


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Welcome to Wednesday as we talk about Toyota’s very scientific presentation to the World Economic Forum. We also talk about GM’s healthy profits, as well as Generation Alpha on the retail doorstep.

  • We’re talking about Toyota again this morning as their Chief Scientist Gill Pratt made a presentation at the World Economic Forum in Davos that posed a very scientific argument how a hybrid path to electrification will make a significantly more positive impact on carbon emissions vs an all electric only
    • Argument starts with 100 ICE Vehicles producing 250 g or CO2 per kilometer
    • Then assumes a limited supply of lithium (100 KW hours of battery life)
    • This can only fully electrify 1 of the 100 vehicles (Producing 248.5 g of CO2)
    • Finally, he models spreading that same lithium supply to create 90 1.1 KW hour batteries needed to make them hybrid (Producing 205 f of CO2)
    • As opposed to stopping ICE production, Toyota plans to sell some 5.5 million standard and plug-in hybrids a year in 2030 — more than double last year's global total of 2.6 million.
    • Pratt compared EV aspirations to the same over-assumptions we had about autonomous driving just a few years back
  • GM is coming out of Q4 swinging with a posted $2B in profit as their supply chain loosens up
    • “GM executives told analysts the company doesn’t plan to get drawn into a price war on electric vehicles, following large cuts recently from Tesla increase;and Ford Motor Co. ‘We think right now we’re priced where we need to be,’ GM Chief Executive Mary Barra said on an earnings call.”
    • GM is planning several new EV model launches this year, including the Blazer, which is a similar size as the Tesla Model Y and Ford Mach-E, and priced below both, starting around $36,000.
    • Announced yesterday they are investing $650 million in a mining company to jointly develop a lithium-extraction project in Nevada.
  • Is it time for retailers (and dealers) to start paying attention to Gen Alpha as they influence purchasing decisions and begin to enter their teenage years ?
    • Started in 2010, will end in 2025 and will be the largest generation of 2B
    • Research last year from Cassandra by Big Village found 64 percent of seven- to 12-year-olds would rather be a YouTube social media influencer than the President of the U.S. When asked how they introduce themselves, 58 percent of them said as a gamer, with 82 percent agreeing they can figure most things out if they have access to technology.
    • Mental health is a significant area of focus (pandemic, social crisis, bolstered rhetoric on eco crisis)
    • Expect DEI as a norm
    • One expert recommends a VP of Pop Culture for companies

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398 episodes