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WHEN: Today, Monday, January 4th
WHERE: CNBC's "Squawk Alley"
Following is the unofficial transcript of a FIRST ON CNBC interview with Lyft Co-Founder and President John Zimmer and General Motors President Dan Ammann on CNBC's "Squawk Alley" (M-F, 11AM-12PM ET). Following is a link to the interview on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000473627.
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
CARL QUINTANILLA: GENERAL MOTORS INVESTING $500 MILLION IN LYFT, VALUING THE COMPANY AT $5.5 BILLION. THE TWO COMPANIES ARE JOINING FORCES TO CREATE AN AUTONOMOUS ON DEMAND NETWORK. JOHN ZIMMER IS THE CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF LYFT AND DAN AMMANN IS THE PRESIDENT OF GENERAL MOTORS AND INCOMING LYFT BOARD MEMBER. GENTLEMEN, CONGRATULATIONS GOOD TO HAVE YOU WITH US.
JOHN ZIMMER: THANKS FOR HAVING US.
QUINTANILLA: I WANT TO GET TO ALL THE COMPONENTS OF THE DEAL BECAUSE THERE'S SOME LONG-TERM AND SHORTER-TERM ASPECTS TO IT. BUT FIRST OFF DAN, SOME PEOPLE ARE WONDERING WHY GM IS INVESTING IN A COMPANY IN A START-UP THAT YOU MIGHT ARGUE HAS A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON NEW AUTO SALES.
DAN AMMANN: WELL FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE WE'VE SAID A NUMBER OF TIMES WE SEE THE WORLD OF MOBILITY CHANGING MORE IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS THAN IT PROBABLY HAS IN THE LAST 50. WE SEE RAPID EMERGENCE IN GROWTH IN RIDE SHARING IN PARTICULAR AS PART OF THAT. THAT WAS REALLY THE BEGINNING OF OUR ENGAGEMENT WITH LYFT. AS WE TALK THROUGH THAT, WE FOUND MORE OPPORTUNITY AROUND THE AUTONOMOUS ON DEMAND NETWORK. REALLY AROUND REDEFINING THE FUTURE OF OUR MOBILITY, PARTICULARLY IN THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT. WE AT GENERAL MOTORS REALLY WANT TO BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF THAT CHANGE.
QUINTANILLA: JOHN WHAT DOES THIS ALLOW YOU TO DO, THAT YOU COULDN'T DO BEFORE?
ZIMMER: YES, I THINK BEING ABLE TO PARTNER WITH SUCH A LARGE AND SUCCESSFUL COMPANY THAT HAS AN AMAZING VEHICLE PLATFORM AS WELL AS A LEADERSHIP IN CAR CONNECTIVITY ALLOWS US TO REALLY TAKE STEPS TOWARDS THAT FUTURE WE'RE ALL EXCITED ABOUT WITH AUTONOMOUS CARS.
QUINTANILLA: DAN, HOW ARE THE ECONOMICS OF THIS GOING TO WORK FOR YOU GUYS? BECAUSE EVERY TIME I GET INTO A LYFT OR AN UBER, I LIKE TO ASK THE DRIVERS ABOUT HOW IT WORKS FOR THEM BUSINESSWISE. IT SEEMS LIKE MAINTENANCE AND INSURANCE ARE TWO KEY THINGS THAT DETERMINE WHETHER THE BUSINESS WORKS FOR THEM. HOW INVOLVED IS GM GOING TO GET IN MAKING SURE THAT THE RENTAL RATES ARE SUCH THAT THE DRIVERS CAN MAKE MONEY?
AMMANN: WELL, ONE OF THE REALLY SIGNIFICANT PARTS OF THE ALLIANCE BEYOND THE AUTONOMOUS ON DEMAND NETWORK IS THE FACT WE'LL ROLL OUT THESE RENTAL HUBS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. MAKING VEHICLES AVAILABLE TO LYFT DRIVERS AT A PRICE POINT THAT'S REALLY DIFFERENT THAN WHAT THEY'VE BEEN ABLE TO ACCESS PREVIOUSLY. WE HAVE A REAL ADVANTAGE OBVIOUSLY IN OUR ABILITY TO SUPPLY VEHICLES OUR ABILITY TO FINANCE THEM EFFIICIENTLY THROUGH THE GM FINANCIAL PLATFORM AND A HUGE ADVANTAGE FROM A CONNECTIVITY POINT OF VIEW THROUGH ONSTAR. PUTTING ALL THAT TOGETHER WE THINK MAKES A REALLY COMPELLING PACKAGE FOR THE LYFT DRIVER. WILL ALLOW MANY MORE LYFT DRIVERS TO JOIN THE PLATFORM AND REALLY PUSH THE GROWTH AND THE BUSINESS IN A WAY THAT'S REALLY DIFFERENT THAN LYFT HAS BEEN IN THE LAST YEAR OR TWO.
KAYLA TAUSCHE: JOHN HOW ARE YOU GOING TO CHANGE THE PERCEPTION OF WHAT LYFT IS TO BE ABLE TO RECRUIT DRIVERS WHO DON'T ALREADY HAVE A VEHICLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS PROGRAM? UP UNTIL THIS POINT, TO BE ABLE TO BE A WORKER FOR LYFT OR ANY OF THESE OTHER COMPANIES, YOU HAVE TO HAVE YOUR OWN CAR. HOW DO YOU MARKET THIS TO PEOPLE WHO AREN'T ALREADY IN THE SYSTEM?
ZIMMER: YEAH, WE ACTUALLY HAVE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF SIGNUPS FOR INDIVIDUAL WHOSE CAR DOESN'T QUALIFY. WHETHER IT'S A YEAR REQUIREMENT OR THE SIZE OF THE VEHICLE. WE CAN NOW MARKET TO THOSE INDIVIDUALS THAT HAVE ALREADY APPLIED BUT DIDN'T HAVE THE RIGHT CAR. AS WELL AS LET PEOPLE KNOW THIS SAY REALLY GREAT INCOME EARNING OPPORTUNITY, WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAVE A CAR.
QUINTANILLA: DAN, THERE'S BEEN SOME EFFORTS BY SOME SELL SIDE ANALYST ALSO TO GUESS BASICALLY WHAT HAPPENS TO NEW AUTO SALES IN 2020 AND 2025. IF THIS NETWORK EFFECT TAKES HOLD IN RIDE SHARING. WHAT SHOULD THE INDUSTRY BE PREPARED FOR?
AMMANN: I'VE READ SOME OF THE SAME REPORTS YOU HAVE. I THINK FRANKLY AT THIS POINT IN TIME, YOU KNOW, NOBODY KNOWS WHAT THE REAL NET IMPACT WILL BE. OBVIOUSLY OUR BUSINESS TODAY, OUR CORE BUSINESS AT GENERAL MOTORS, IS STRONGEST OUTSIDE OF THE URBAN CENTERS. AS WE LOOK AT THIS OPPORTUNITY TO REALLY DISRUPT URBAN MOBILITY THROUGH THIS STRATEGIC ALLIANCE WITH LYFT, IT'S MUCH MORE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GM THAN A THREAT AT THIS STAGE.
TAUSCHE: BUT DAN, SO FAR AS DISRUPTION IN THIS INDUSTRY GOES, UBER, THE BIG COMPANY IN THIS SPACE, HAS A VALUATION PRIVATELY THAT'S BIGGER THAN GMs. WHY PARTNER WITH DAVID AND NOT GOLIATH IN THIS EFFORT?
AMMANN: SO WHAT WE FOUND IN OUR TIME WE SPENT TOGETHER WITH THE LYFT TEAM IS A REALLY COMMON POINT OF VIEW ON HOW WE SEE THE WORLD UNFOLDING, WHAT THAT COULD LOOK LIKE, NUMBER ONE. NUMBER TWO, WE'VE FOUND A REALLY COMMON PERSPECTIVE ON HOW WE CAN BEST WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN AND TO BRING ABOUT THIS KIND OF CHANGE. AND FRANKLY, ALSO, A REALLY GOOD CULTURAL ALIGNMENT BETWEEN THE TWO COMPANIES. AND SO IT'S BEEN REALLY A NATURAL FIT RIGHT FROM THE OUTSET. WE'RE REALLY EXCITED ABOUT US BRINGING OUR AUTONOMOUS CAPABILITIES, OUR CONNECTED CAR CAPABILITES, PUTTING THAT TOGETHER WITH THE LYFT RIDE SHARE PLATFORM. AND THE COMBINATION OF ALL THOSE THINGS IS SOMETHING THAT'S REALLY UNIQUE AND NOT OUT THERE ANYWHERE ELSE RIGHT NOW AS WE PUSH FORWARD TO THIS AUTONOMOUS ON-DEMAND NETWORK OF THE FUTURE. AND I THINK IT POSITIONS BOTH COMPANIES TOGETHER TO BE IN A REALLY, REALLY TERRIFIC POSITION TO CHANGE THAT.
JON FORTT: JOHN, ARE YOU AT THE POINT WHERE YOU CAN PUT A LITTLE BIT MORE MEAT ON THE BONES AS FAR AS THIS RENTAL OPPORTUNITY? IS THIS GOING TO BE MORE LIKE A LEASE WHERE A DRIVER COULD HAVE A CAR AT HOME FOR WEEKS AT A TIME? OR IS IT GOING TO BE MORE LIKE A CAR RENTAL MODEL WHERE MAYBE IT'S ONLY THREE OR FOUR DAYS? AND DO YOU EXPECT THAT IF A DRIVER IS ACTIVE, IT WILL ACTUALLY MAKE MORE FINANCIAL SENSE TO DO THIS RENTAL RATHER THAN USE HIS OR HER OWN CAR?
ZIMMER: WELL, I THINK IT TAKES THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS. SO DRIVERS WILL BE ABLE TO RENT BY THE DAY, BY THE WEEK OR BY THE MONTH. BUT NOT HAVE THE LONG-TERM COMMITMENT OR HIGH INTEREST RATES THAT A LEASE MIGHT BRING. SO WITH THE STRENGTH OF GENERAL MOTORS AND GENERAL MOTORS FINANCIAL, WE'LL BE ABLE TO PROVIDE DRIVERS WITH AN OPPORTUNITY THAT THEY DIDN'T HAVE PREVIOUSLY, WHICH SITS RIGHT IN BETWEEN RENTAL AND LEASING. BUT SOMETHING THAT THEY CAN BRING HOME AND USE FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL NEEDS AS WELL.
QUINTANILLA: DAN, WHETHER IT'S RIDE SHARING OR OUTRIGHT AUTO SALES, CHINA CONTINUES TO BE A BIG TOPIC OF DISCUSSION, ESPECIALLY ON DAYS LIKE TODAY. WE COULD REALLY USE WHATEVER ANECDOTAL INSIGHT YOU HAVE IN LIGHT OF THAT PMI THIS WEEKEND.
AMMANN: OBVIOUSLY, WE'VE SEEN THE SAME NEWS AND HEADLINES THAT YA'LL HAVE BEEN WATCHING THIS MORNING. WE FRANKLY SAW A PICKUP IN CAR SALES IN CHINA THROUGH THE LATTER PART OF THE YEAR. THE END OF THE YEAR SEEMED TO END QUITE WELL FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE. SO WE'LL OBVIOUSLY NEED TO SEE HOW THIS YEAR UNFOLDS. THE CHINA MARKET FROM AN AUTOMOTIVE POINT OF VIEW HAS BEEN MATURING FOR A WHILE. THAT MEANS LOWER GROWTH, BUT IT ALSO MEANS OUR HIGHER VEHICLES – MORE SUVs AND SO ON. SO WE CONTINUE TO SEE IT FOR WHAT IT IS. IT'S THE WORLD'S LARGEST MARKET, IT'S STILL GROWING AND IT'S A VERY, VERY IMPORTANT MARKET FOR GENERAL MOTORS.
QUINTANILLA: DAN AMMANN OF GM, AND JOHN ZIMMER OF LYFT. GUYS, CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN. PLEASE COME BACK.
AMMANN: THANK YOU.
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