Ford’s EV Dealer Model Plans, Rail Strike Averted, Walmart’s Virtual Try-On

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We’re back in the saddle talking about the ongoing Ford Dealer meetings in LasVegas regarding the shift to Model e. We’re also talking about the rail strike that may never happen, and WalMarts new tech that allows users to upload some ‘personal’ photos to virtually try on clothes.

  • Ford Dealer meetings in Las Vegas this week have dealers driving EVs and reviewing their options to remain eligible to to sell Ford EVs
    • By 2023 Ford is requiring Dealers to invest from $500k to 1.2M dollars if they want to remain “Model e” certified
    • There are 2 levels, “Model e Certified” and “Model e Certified Elite”.
      • Both levels require no haggle, one-price models for all EVs
    • The investment money will mostly go toward the installation of fast chargers
    • Certified: 1 public facing charger
    • Certified Elite: 900k initially to 1 public and one internal fast charger, with a second public facing charger soon after
  • Sam Pack, CEO of Sam Pack Auto Group in Texas, said he plans to have each of his 4 Ford dealerships become Certified Elite. "The message I heard was one of optimism. Yes, there's a lot of questions that have not been answered. But we'll work through those. This is a learning journey."
  • From Jim Farley’s LinkedIn Newsletter post yesterday, Sept 14th: Our dealer network is our secret weapon, comprised of entrepreneurs who can deliver for customers all the way through the ownership experience. These are big changes, but we’re up for the challenge. With change comes progress – and success.
  • After 20 consecutive hours of negotiations, a U.S. railroad strike has been averted as a tentative deal is reached
    • A strike would have caused major problems for OEMs and Dealers as rail transport is a primary means of moving inventory around the country
    • Joe Biden thanked both unions and rail companies “for negotiating in good faith and reaching a tentative agreement that will keep our critical rail system working and avoid disruption of our economy.”
    • If a deal wasn’t reached, the Friday deadline for a walkout could have been halted by Congress under emergency economic regulations
  • Walmart's new “Be your own model” experience allows consumers to use their app to upload a full body image and browse what over 270k clothing items look like on them
    • Acquisition of virtual try-on platform Zeekit last year is powering the experience
    • Users upload a full body photo with tight fitting shorts and top and then enter their height in order to use the experience
    • “A single shirt can come in six different colors, seven different sizes and two sleeve lengths. Our technology captures all the variations and shows how they look uniquely on each individual,” says Walmart in a press release announcing the new feature.
    • The feature doesn’t support Men’s fashion at this point
    • Walmart did not comment on how it intends to protect intimate customer photos

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