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Company Cars

Company Cars

By Jesse Chan

Making Cents of the Car Business. Join us as we talk about the ideas, decisions, people, and organizations that made the automotive business the way it is today.

Do you have a question about the car business or shopping for a car that you would like answered on the show? Email companycarspodcast@gmail.com with your question and you might be featured on the show!
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Currently playing episode

E21: Company Cars with Quinn Osha of Topmarq

Company Cars

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E31: The End of the Manual Transmission
E31: The End of the Manual Transmission
On this episode, I mourn the end of the manual transmission and discuss how from a business perspective we've wound up at this point. I also discuss the first pickup truck on rental car roulette! Have an automotive related question? Send it to companycarspodcast@gmail.com! 
29:06
September 14, 2022
E30: Car Buying Today vs. Pre-Pandemic: An Interview with the Alberts Family
E30: Car Buying Today vs. Pre-Pandemic: An Interview with the Alberts Family
On this episode, I interview the Alberts family (Jeff, Maria, and Stephanie) about their car buying experiences pre-pandemic (Stephanie) and today (Jeff and Maria). Having been involved in both purchases, we talk about their car buying experiences, how it's changed, and their advice for car shoppers today. I also briefly discuss a second appearance on rental car roulette for the Ford Edge, which has been refreshed for 2022 with minor updates!
37:37
August 22, 2022
E29: The Death of the Affordable New Car
E29: The Death of the Affordable New Car
In this episode, I explore the death of the affordable new car, with average new car prices rising to over $46,000 recently (up from $39,000 in December 2020). I'll discuss why the average price has jumped so dramatically, why this issue has flown under the radar, and my thoughts on how this will trend over the next few years.  I'm also revisiting a previous rental car roulette selection, the Mazda CX-30 2.5S Select. 
28:06
August 08, 2022
E28: What Makes a Car Influential? And Influential Cars of the Past 25 Years
E28: What Makes a Car Influential? And Influential Cars of the Past 25 Years
In this episode, I talk about what makes a new car "influential" for the automotive business, in my opinion, and share thoughts on the three most influential products of the past 25 years. I also discuss another rental car roulette, where I experience the current generation Ford Escape with the 1.5L 3-cylinder engine. Have a question about the automotive business? Send it in to companycarspodcast@gmail.com! 
38:07
June 27, 2022
E27: Company Cars Visits the New York Auto Show!
E27: Company Cars Visits the New York Auto Show!
It's the first post-pandemic era auto show season, and to explore what this meant, I visited the New York Auto Show in mid-April 2022. I talk about how the auto show has changed since the pandemic, how the extremely tight supply of new cars affected the Show, and how the New York show compared to the post-pandemic Austin show. Plus I discuss my latest experience with Rental Car Roulette at Hertz in Atlanta. 
37:26
May 23, 2022
E26: Is Carmax the Way Car Buying Should Be?
E26: Is Carmax the Way Car Buying Should Be?
In this episode, I explore the Carmax concept of used car sales--the idea that selling used cars can be very similar to buying a new desktop computer. I also explore the modern evolution of this concept--the internet only used car retailer by exploring the business model of Vroom, Carvana, and Shift, among others.  I also discuss another rental car roulette--a 2019 Kia Optima LX with 55,000 miles on the odometer! 
40:20
April 04, 2022
E25: The Internet Revolution (?) in Car Buying
E25: The Internet Revolution (?) in Car Buying
In this episode, we explore the past internet revolution in car buying, the forthcoming (or already underway?) internet revolution in car buying, and how the pandemic accelerated the forthcoming internet revolution. In rental car roulette, I discuss the Chevrolet Trailblazer and why it's a better sub-compact SUV than the Jeep Compass from episode 24.
43:17
March 21, 2022
E24: Where did all the affordable new cars go?
E24: Where did all the affordable new cars go?
In this episode, we discuss the rapid disappearance of affordable new cars, especially in light of record high new vehicle transaction prices and the explosive popularity of one particular affordable new car, the Ford Maverick. Rental Car Roulette also returns with a bright orange Jeep Compass Trailhawk!  Note: In rental car roulette, I mentioned the Compass had around 15,000 miles. This is erroneous. It only had about 9,000 miles when I drove it. This difference in mileage does not affect my opinions on the car.
40:57
February 21, 2022
E23: Auto Shows
E23: Auto Shows
Ever wondered what an auto show was? Why do automakers bring a bunch of cars, park them inside a convention center, and then sell tickets to people to come and see cars? Has the pandemic destroyed the need for an auto show? Those questions explored on this week's episode of Company Cars! 
28:51
January 17, 2022
E22: Tesla, Part 1
E22: Tesla, Part 1
In this episode, we finally take a stab at addressing the elephant in the room on this podcast: Tesla. Over the past year, I've gotten many requests for episodes to discuss various things Tesla is doing, and this episode marks the first of probably many episodes where we discuss Tesla and the many ways it has revolutionized the automotive business.  We begin very broadly with a brief discussion of the critical insights that led to the company's founding, how these insights guided the initial direction of the company, and how these insights led to Tesla's competitive advantage in electric vehicles today. In future episodes, we'll dive more into the specifics of the company and examine specific events, products, and people in greater detail. 
35:31
January 04, 2022
E21: Company Cars with Quinn Osha of Topmarq
E21: Company Cars with Quinn Osha of Topmarq
On this episode, we sit down to talk with Quinn Osha, the founder of Topmarq, an online platform to gather bids when selling your used car. We sit down and talk about Topmarq's story, its role in the car business, and Quinn's thoughts on how the car business has changed with COVID-19 and his opinion on what to do if you need to buy a new car right now. Plus we do a brief industry news round up covering the latest events in the automotive business as we approach the end of 2021 and a drive-by review of the Los Angeles Auto Show, the first major in-person auto show we've had since the beginning of COVID-19. For more information about Topmarq, visit: https://www.topmarq.com/ 
23:01
November 20, 2021
E20: Navigating the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Time to Buy a Car
E20: Navigating the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Time to Buy a Car
On this episode, we're checking in with the supply shortage of new cars and how the car market has (or has not...) changed since our last episode in May 2021 about this topic. We get a little more tactical about what to do if you happen to find yourself in need of a new car during this tumultuous time. And we celebrate the return of rental car roulette, where I check in on the state of Hertz's rental car selection and try out a Mazda CX-30. 
40:55
November 09, 2021
E19: A Trip to the CAFE
E19: A Trip to the CAFE
In this long-delayed episode, we explore all the business decisions behind the large, miles-per-gallon numbers you see on a window sticker when you go car shopping. We discuss what regulations govern fuel economy for cars sold in the United States, how the numbers used for regulatory purposes differ from what you see on the window sticker, and how fuel economy regulations can influence the cars that automakers sell in the United States.  We also make an exciting announcement about rental car roulette and catch up on some administrative things.
30:19
October 12, 2021
E18: The Origin Stories of Japanese Luxury Cars: Amati
E18: The Origin Stories of Japanese Luxury Cars: Amati
On the final episode of our multi-episode series, we talk about Amati, the luxury brand that never made it to the starting line. We discuss what Mazda had in the works for Amati, the rumors surrounding what Mazda was working on, and why timing is everything in the car business.  For Raphael Orlove's 2018 Jalopnik piece about Amati, visit this page: https://jalopnik.com/it-was-japan-s-most-daring-car-then-the-economy-implod-1826265571 For the New York Times' piece about Mazda's success moving upmarket itself, visit this page: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/27/business/mazda-sales-pandemic.html Have a listener question? Email it to companycarspodcast@gmail.com! 
23:57
August 09, 2021
E17: The Origin Stories of Japanese Luxury Cars: Infiniti
E17: The Origin Stories of Japanese Luxury Cars: Infiniti
We continue our multi-episode series (Episode 3 of 4) about the origin stories of Japanese luxury car brands. In this episode, we examine Nissan's efforts to launch a premium brand named Infiniti, best known for its quirky TV ads that featured no shots of the car to build curiosity and interest in its first car, the Q45.  Have a listener question? Email it to companycarspodcast@gmail.com! 
28:54
July 13, 2021
E16: The Origin Stories of Japanese Luxury Cars: Lexus (Part 2 of 3)
E16: The Origin Stories of Japanese Luxury Cars: Lexus (Part 2 of 3)
We continue our multi-episode series exploring the origin stories of Japanese luxury car brands. In this episode, we walk through how Toyota decided to launch Lexus and how Lexus upended the US luxury car market in a way neither Infiniti nor Acura did. Have a listener question? Email it to companycarspodcast@gmail.com! 
28:39
June 29, 2021
E15: The Origin Stories of Japanese Luxury Cars: Acura (Part 1 of 3)
E15: The Origin Stories of Japanese Luxury Cars: Acura (Part 1 of 3)
In this episode, we begin a multi-episode series exploring the origins of Japanese luxury car brands. You may have seen Acuras, Infinitis, and Lexuses of all ages driving around and wondered: where did these brands come from? In this series, we walk through how the original business decisions underlying each brand have shaped their presence today and we walk through the origin story of one luxury brand that never made it to the starting line: Amati.  This episode starts with the context and business environment in Japan when Acura, Infiniti, Lexus, and Amati were conceived and walks through Acura, the first of the four brands to reach the market in 1986.  Have a listener question? Email it to companycarspodcast@gmail.com! 
31:55
June 22, 2021
E14: Empty Lots- The Supply Squeeze Explained
E14: Empty Lots- The Supply Squeeze Explained
On this episode, we explore why a perfect storm of factors has made this summer the worst car buying market in recent history. We also send the Craigslist Challenge out for summer vacation, explain why it might make sense to buy out your lease, and explore when the market might recover from the current insanity! 
28:08
June 01, 2021
E13: Is the Price Right? How Automakers Price Cars
E13: Is the Price Right? How Automakers Price Cars
On this episode we explore a topic near and dear to my heart: automotive pricing! What forces shape automakers' pricing decisions? Who decided that new car was going to cost exactly $29,995? When do automakers start thinking about pricing a new car? How does an automaker know it's priced a car correctly? How do they course-correct after a car goes on sale? We'll explore all those topics, plus a practical-themed Craigslist Challenge this week.  Craigslist Challenge pick: 2015 Honda Odyssey Touring, 78,000 miles, $21,980 as of 4/25/21: https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/845112063/overview/ 
37:04
April 27, 2021
E12: The Truth Hertz: Rental Car Company Economics
E12: The Truth Hertz: Rental Car Company Economics
How does the business of renting cars work? Do rental car companies buy and sell cars differently from the rest of us? Why are rental cars so expensive for Summer 2021? Is the rental car business a good one to be in? How might the rental car business evolve over the next decade?  All those questions explored, plus a fun, summer-themed Craigslist Challenge on this week's episode!  This week's Craigslist Challenge pick: 2001 Porsche Boxster, 84.5k miles, $10k list price: https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/cto/d/north-hollywood-porsche-boxster/7302985206.html
29:60
April 12, 2021
E11: Let's Make a Deal: Car Dealership Economics
E11: Let's Make a Deal: Car Dealership Economics
Ah yes. The car dealership. Everyone's favorite place to visit, right? Wait... not everyone visits car dealerships for fun?  In this episode, we explore the economics that allow car dealerships to function. Specifically, we'll discuss the background for why dealerships exist, how they're organized, what the business model(s) look like, how this has changed over the past 2 decades, how it could change going forward, and what this means for you the next time you go to buy or lease your next car. And on this week's Craigslist Challenge, we see what family SUVs you can find in our Nation's Capital for around $20,000!  The Craigslist Challenge listing. A 2017 Toyota RAV4 LE FWD listed for $17,354 with 33k miles by an Acura dealer in the DC metro area: https://www.radleyacura.com/vehicle-details/used-2017-toyota-rav4-le-falls-church-va-id-40385350?utm_campaign=cars.com_deeplink&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=cars.com
56:34
March 29, 2021
E10: On the Highway to Hydrogen (?), Part 3
E10: On the Highway to Hydrogen (?), Part 3
This week, we wrap up our multi-episode series about hydrogen fuel cell powered cars. We explore hydrogen's potential role in the future of clean energy transportation, what the near term future looks like for hydrogen powered cars and the hydrogen fueling infrastructure, and how BEVs and FCEVs can complement each other.  We also take a listener question about whether or not to trade cars with a family member, and we try another round of the Craigslist Challenge!  Craigslist Challenge ($10,000, Austin, TX market) cars:  Car #1: 2011 Acura TSX, 118k miles, $9900: https://www.sterlingacura.com/inventory/used-2011-acura-tsx-2-4-fwd-4d-sedan-jh4cu2f62bc016774 Car #2: 2013 Toyota Camry LE, 107k miles, $9800: https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/840301430/overview/
32:02
March 15, 2021
E9: On the Highway to Hydrogen (?), Part 2
E9: On the Highway to Hydrogen (?), Part 2
Hydrogen powered cars. What is the history behind them? Who is working on this? Who has been working on this? How does the government support hydrogen fuel cell research? In the second of a multi-episode series, we explore the history behind the hydrogen-powered vehicle. We explore how the government has supported hydrogen fuel research and development and the unlikely excitement for hydrogen fuel cells among large oil companies. We also discuss an update on a topic discussed in a previous episode, a new listener question, and we introduce the Craigslist Challenge!   Craigslist Challenge Cars (price point: $5,000; location: Atlanta, GA metro area):  2001 Honda Accord EX-L Coupe: https://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cto/d/lawrenceville-2001-honda-accord-ex-vtec/7284087617.html 2005 Acura TSX: https://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/cto/d/roswell-2005-acura-tsx/7283984615.html
33:55
March 01, 2021
E8: On the Highway to Hydrogen (?), Part 1
E8: On the Highway to Hydrogen (?), Part 1
Hydrogen powered cars. What are they? How do they work? How are they different from a battery electric vehicle like a Tesla? Why are these cars only available in California? In the first of a multi-episode series about fuel cell vehicles, we explore the basic structure of hydrogen powered cars and specifically hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). We also explore what hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are available for sale today, why these cars are sold only in California, and whether we'll see more FCEVs soon. Plus, we take a listener question about how I became so interested in the automotive business. 
25:15
February 16, 2021
E7: The Big Short (Squeeze)
E7: The Big Short (Squeeze)
As we all hear about the recent stock market frenzy about a video game retailer and redditors attempting to take down hedge funds and short sellers through something called a 'short squeeze', this week we explore an automotive short squeeze that many have been comparing GameStop to this past week. We'll examine the infamous Volkswagen / Porsche Short Squeeze, how a tiny little automaker from Stuttgart almost secretly took over one of the largest automakers on the planet, and how Porsche quickly became the hunted after hunting for a long time.  We also explore a listener question Tesla's dominance in Electric Vehicles!  As an episode note, there are lots of fantastic stories written about the VW / Porsche short squeeze. In particular, I found the Financial Times article especially helpful: https://www.ft.com/content/0a58b63a-4294-3e07-8390-c3aabef39a26 I also enjoyed this recounting of the short squeeze from the Priceonomics Blog: https://priceonomics.com/porsche-the-hedge-fund-that-also-made-cars/ A more technical explanation of the short squeeze that happened at VW: https://moxreports.com/vw-infinity-squeeze/ A 'car guy' angle from the team at Automobile magazine: https://www.automobilemag.com/news/porsche-and-volkswagen-what-happened/ A fairly well written post on Medium: https://medium.com/@amateuranalysis/the-vw-debt-trap-460e982a1091  
34:35
February 02, 2021
E6: A Star is Born
E6: A Star is Born
It's 2021, and the year has already given birth to a new automaker! This automaker already has an accomplishment under its belt: the world's 4th largest automotive group, behind Volkswagen, Toyota, and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. On January 16, 2021, Stellantis was born from the merger of French carmaker Groupe PSA and Italian-American carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). Why did the two automakers decide to merge? What does this mean for American car shoppers? We explore those questions, celebrate the RETURN OF RENTAL CAR ROULETTE, and take a listener question about factory equipped dash cameras. 
42:49
January 26, 2021
E5: Ghosn in 60 Seconds (2/2)
E5: Ghosn in 60 Seconds (2/2)
In the second of a two part episode, we discuss Carlos Ghosn's retirement from being CEO of Nissan, his last grand project to reshape the automotive landscape, and the charges that led to his arrest. We also discuss Carlos Ghosn's rebuttal and his possible motives for doing what the Japanese government has accused him of doing.  In addition, an exciting update on rental car roulette and we talk about a listener question related to rental cars! 
37:10
January 19, 2021
E4: Ghosn in 60 Seconds (1/2)
E4: Ghosn in 60 Seconds (1/2)
Carlos Ghosn was the star automotive CEO of the 2000s. Having turned around two struggling automakers and leading them through the global financial crisis, Carlos Ghosn's skills and insights were the envy of boardrooms across the globe. But, in December 2019, this former star CEO became an international fugitive having escaped from house arrest in Japan and smuggled into Lebanon in an elaborate scheme straight out of a spy movie. Who is Carlos Ghosn? How did he end up being the only CEO to run two Fortune Global 500 companies at the same time, often flying a corporate jet between the US, France, Brazil, Lebanon, and Japan? And how did he go from jet-setting CEO to wanted international fugitive in a 5-year time period? In the first of a two-part episode, we discuss Carlos Ghosn's meteoric rise from competent tire executive to global automotive legend and the complex legacy he left behind at Renault, Nissan, and the Renault-Nissan (now Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi) Alliance.  Plus, Jesse takes a listener question about Hybrids and explains the absence of Rental Car Roulette. 
31:49
January 08, 2021
E3: MaaS Transportation
E3: MaaS Transportation
As many of us departed our home offices for our living rooms, the press was abuzz with rumors Apple wanted to get into the car business. What about the car business makes Apple so interesting? Why are technology companies so interested in disrupting the car business? Is car ownership dead? Why are people in the car business suddenly talking about buzzwords like "mobility" and "subscriptions"? In today's episode, we explore Mobility-as-a-Service and why suddenly everyone wants a piece of the pie. Plus, we explore a multitude of listener questions on this week's episode of Company Cars. 
27:12
December 29, 2020
E2: Crossing Over to the Tall Side
E2: Crossing Over to the Tall Side
Take a look around any parking lot in America and chances are you'll see a wide assortment of tall, wagon-y shaped things called Crossovers or SUVs. Why are these cars so popular? When did they start mushrooming and appearing all over the place? What happened to all the 'normal' cars we used to see in the 2000s? Plus Jesse takes a listener question on episode 2 of Company Cars. 
23:33
December 22, 2020
Pilot: Happy Winter Car Sale!
Pilot: Happy Winter Car Sale!
Why did winter car sales become such an American cultural institution worthy of memes and comedy skits? Is it really a good idea to gift someone a car and make it a complete and total surprise? Are the prices better for cars during these winter car sales? Why do car dealers and manufacturers make such a big deal of these sales? All those questions answered plus Jesse reminisces about rental car roulette before the pandemic on the pilot episode of Company Cars. 
24:48
December 15, 2020
Trailer
Trailer
A preview of a new podcast about cars, the car business, and why the automotive business is the way it is today. 
01:04
December 13, 2020