Service economy inspires crappy design

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Tortoise
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Re: Service economy inspires crappy design

Post by Tortoise » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:28 pm

Kriegsspiel wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:16 pm
I'm guessing that the lack of ease in home maintenance is a trade off the car companies make in order to achieve optimized aerodynamics and weight. That would help explain why back when people worked on their own cars, they were landboats.
And some of those landboats looked really cool!

Aerodynamics are an important part of fuel efficiency, but if you drastically reduce maintenance costs with a simplified, standardized, modular design it might be worth losing some aerodynamics.
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Re: Service economy inspires crappy design

Post by doodle » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:07 pm

Kriegsspiel wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:16 pm
I'm guessing that the lack of ease in home maintenance is a trade off the car companies make in order to achieve optimized aerodynamics and weight. That would help explain why back when people worked on their own cars, they were landboats.
Doesn't even have to be a home maintenance scenario....when mechanic has to drop engine to change timing belt a 50 dollar repair becomes 1000. Worst of all, cars bascially have a monopoly on transportation options for americans. We need affordable simple cars as badly as we do affordable housing in this country. The combination of horrible trends in these two sectors of our economy are causing people to bascially bankrupt themselves.

It frustrates me mostly because other than finding an old car and stripping it down and rebuilding it, I'm forced to choose from a lineup of cars that are all full of crap that I don't want and cost twice as much as I want to pay for something that takes me from A to B.
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Re: Service economy inspires crappy design

Post by Kriegsspiel » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:16 pm

Tortoise wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:28 pm
Kriegsspiel wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:16 pm
I'm guessing that the lack of ease in home maintenance is a trade off the car companies make in order to achieve optimized aerodynamics and weight. That would help explain why back when people worked on their own cars, they were landboats.
And some of those landboats looked really cool!
No doubt.
Aerodynamics are an important part of fuel efficiency, but if you drastically reduce maintenance costs with a simplified, standardized, modular design it might be worth losing some aerodynamics.
Worth it to the car companies? How would they profit from easier maintenance? The service center mechanics are employed by the dealerships, right? So the car manufacturers wouldn't see any labor savings that way.
doodle wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:07 pm
Doesn't even have to be a home maintenance scenario....when mechanic has to drop engine to change timing belt a 50 dollar repair becomes 1000. Worst of all, cars bascially have a monopoly on transportation options for americans.
That's true.
We need affordable simple cars as badly as we do affordable housing in this country. The combination of horrible trends in these two sectors of our economy are causing people to bascially bankrupt themselves.

It frustrates me mostly because other than finding an old car and stripping it down and rebuilding it, I'm forced to choose from a lineup of cars that are all full of crap that I don't want and cost twice as much as I want to pay for something that takes me from A to B.
Well, no arguments that those are the two things that cost people the most money. It's compounded when people spend too much on either when they don't have to. Seeing the average buyer spends $34,000 blows my mind. You know Nissan makes a sub-$10,000 vehicle? They don't sell it in America. At one time I was excited for Elio Motors, who were going to sell what amounted to a 3-wheel enclosed motorcycle for like $8,000 but they're having problems bringing it to market.

That said, it's pretty easy to find a good vehicle for under $10,000 used. Like you mentioned earlier, it's the demand that isn't there. Not many people seem to want a cheap 4 cylinder econobox in America these days.
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Re: Service economy inspires crappy design

Post by doodle » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:50 pm


That said, it's pretty easy to find a good vehicle for under $10,000 used. Like you mentioned earlier, it's the demand that isn't there. Not many people seem to want a cheap 4 cylinder econobox in America these days.-
Cause there is no honesty in marketing...and sadly none of us are immune from it's effects....how do we know what we really like? How is it that a kitchen that in 1980 would be on the cover of better homes and gardens as a model of elegant design would be seen as hideously outdated today? Does good design ever go out of fashion? If there is a flaw in capitalism it's that it isn't a system comprised of rational actors.
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Re: Service economy inspires crappy design

Post by l82start » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:07 pm

i would love to see modern cars built this way, i vaguely remember a concept car (pickup truck?) that was designed along these lines, detailed down to being serviceable with a mostly single size alan wrench and one or two size socket wrenches..

the modern pickup truck may be the absolute worst for this kind of crappy design, does a utilitarian vehicle really need a mess of non serviceable computers and plastic bumpers that are now more $ than an entire pickup truck used to cost.. one that would last three generations of farmers??
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Re: Service economy inspires crappy design

Post by Tortoise » Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:24 am

Kriegsspiel wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:16 pm
Aerodynamics are an important part of fuel efficiency, but if you drastically reduce maintenance costs with a simplified, standardized, modular design it might be worth losing some aerodynamics.
Worth it to the car companies? How would they profit from easier maintenance? The service center mechanics are employed by the dealerships, right? So the car manufacturers wouldn't see any labor savings that way.
That's an interesting question. I wonder how much of the total profit on an average car comes from dealership maintenance over its lifetime. A lot of people go to independent repair shops, so for them it's zero.

I would imagine that for DIY cars, manufacturers could make money on volume and also by selling all the parts. They could even spice things up by selling some fun modification parts and accessories to make the car more unique, or faster, or more fuel-efficient, etc.

But that would be the budget tier. The manufacturer could still offer premium tier cars with much higher profit margins (from price, financing, and dealership maintenance). Lots of companies sell both budget tier and premium tier products rather than exclusively one or the other.
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Re: Service economy inspires crappy design

Post by doodle » Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:19 am

Tortoise wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:24 am
Kriegsspiel wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:16 pm
Aerodynamics are an important part of fuel efficiency, but if you drastically reduce maintenance costs with a simplified, standardized, modular design it might be worth losing some aerodynamics.
Worth it to the car companies? How would they profit from easier maintenance? The service center mechanics are employed by the dealerships, right? So the car manufacturers wouldn't see any labor savings that way.
That's an interesting question. I wonder how much of the total profit on an average car comes from dealership maintenance over its lifetime. A lot of people go to independent repair shops, so for them it's zero.

I would imagine that for DIY cars, manufacturers could make money on volume and also by selling all the parts. They could even spice things up by selling some fun modification parts and accessories to make the car more unique, or faster, or more fuel-efficient, etc.

But that would be the budget tier. The manufacturer could still offer premium tier cars with much higher profit margins (from price, financing, and dealership maintenance). Lots of companies sell both budget tier and premium tier products rather than exclusively one or the other.
Being what the dealerships charge for maintenance, I cant imagine anyone would go there for repairs out of warranty period...in which case complicated maintenance undertaken at zero cost to customer hurts car manufacturers bottom line.

Trucks are absolutely the worst example of modern design gone haywire. I long for an engine bay that looks like this.
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Re: Service economy inspires crappy design

Post by doodle » Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:28 am

Radio and speaker systems is another thing that could be eliminated from cars. A simple usb power port and consumers can bring their own portable speaker into car with them. Radios and CD players are already replaced by phone so no need to install that either...same with any sort of onboard televisions. I recently took a plane ride on Delta and they had placed onboard televisions on every headrest at significant cost Im sure. Then...on another flight a few weeks later...I believe American airlines...they simply had a little holder on back of headrest where you could hook your ipad or phone onto it and use your private device to watch movies. Probably cost 1/100th of the price and as technology improves or things break Delta will have to remove those televisions and upgrade or replace whereas American doesnt have to worry about any of that.
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Re: Service economy inspires crappy design

Post by dualstow » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:37 am

Although car dealers like obsolescence, it seems like there would be a market for this “econobox” with companies that offer fleets of car share autos.
El Chapo’s family to compensate those who lost relatives in botched arrest. Isn’t that sweet.
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Re: Service economy inspires crappy design

Post by doodle » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:52 am

dualstow wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:37 am
Although car dealers like obsolescence, it seems like there would be a market for this “econobox” with companies that offer fleets of car share autos.
Econobox would be a good brand name. Lol I've been trying to find statistics regarding number of car crashes per mile driven to see if any of this technology really improves crash avoidance.... I know fatalities per mile driven have dropped and surely airbags and improved seatbelt design have made a big difference, but I also wonder how much improvements in medical care and treatment account for this drop. With the exception of a few additions I'm not sure our cars really are all that much safer than they were 60 years ago.
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Re: Service economy inspires crappy design

Post by Xan » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:12 pm

Speaking of 60 year old cars, how about a 1959 Chevy Bel Air? For the 50th anniversary of the IIHS, they crash-tested a new 2009 Chevy Malibu against a 1959 Chevy Bel Air. Sad that the Bel Air had to die (perhaps it had major mechanical problems or something...) but the resulting video is very informative as to which car you'd rather be in.
https://youtu.be/C_r5UJrxcck

Even among modern cars, there are some big differences. Here's a rollover comparison between a Volvo XC-90 and a Ford Explorer. The first 45 seconds during the Volvo test are pretty boring (which says a lot), but things get REALLY exciting in the second half when they do the Ford...
https://youtu.be/B6y3HR6b98E

So yes, the way a car is constructed makes a HUGE difference in safety.
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Re: Service economy inspires crappy design

Post by dualstow » Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:20 pm

I jumped right to the Explorer in the second video. Whoa.
I've always heard that in general terms, if you want to survive you want to be in Volvo sedan. If you want to kill someone, you want to be in any SUV.
El Chapo’s family to compensate those who lost relatives in botched arrest. Isn’t that sweet.
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