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Re: My next car...
Old 07-18-2006, 03:06 PM   #41
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Re: My next car...

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Quote from: TromboneAl on July 14, 2006, 08:35:12 AM
Why isn't there a market for a car that can take a 20 MPH collision with no damage?* I would buy that car.*


Because the energy of that 20mph collision has to go somewhere, so please choose one of the following

1. Aluminum, steel, plastic, rubber & glass

2. YOU
Maybe I should have said 5 MPH or 10 MPH.* I'm thinking of the time someone drove into my parked car while parking theirs,* and just kissed it, but the entire bumper and half of the side of the car had to be replaced.* I'd bought the car two days earlier, and after the repairs the paint never matched exactly.* That encounter should have caused zero damage.

The news media made a big deal about this 20 years ago, but nothing has been done.* *


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Re: My next car...
Old 07-18-2006, 06:30 PM   #42
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Re: My next car...

Another advantage of owning a POS car-- I can laugh at errant shopping carts and careless folks in the parking lot.

I mentioned this groovy washing machine we bought this year (made by Staber here in the US, uses little water and designed well. Still running great by the way . . ). One of the things that sold me on it is that it is made to be serviced easily by the owner. The parts (motor, switches, water pump, etc) are easy to get to, and the owners manual has a very nice troubleshooting guide.

I wonder if a similarly designed car would sell well. Anyone who has had to try to replace a spark plug buried under the AC compressor can immediately appreciate the issue. Even the oil filter on many cars is on the "back side" of the transversely mounted engine, very hard to get to.

What would such a car be like?
- All parts that normally need replacement are easy to get at. The heater motor/winshield wiper motors are NOT buried somewhere, you can find/replace them easily.
- Body panels, interior panels, dashboard, etc: Held on with screws or other easily operated, reversable fasteners (no "mystery clips"that break or escutcheons that require special tools to remove). The fasteners aren't hidden, they are tastefully integrated into the design.
- The company makes a committment not to change the sheetmetal, bumpers, lights/signals, glass, etc for ten years. Commonality of parts makes them easy to find.
- Bumpers-- Beefy, and with available bumper guards high enough to make contact with the bumpers on SUVs/trucks.
- Oil filter: mounted "right side up" on the firewall or other easy-to-get-at place.
- Diagnostic computer: A cheapo code reader comes with the car. Software on your PC helps you with troubleshooting.
- Carpets are easily removed (for cleaning, or drying if the car gets wet) and replaced.

I'm sure there are other great ideas.

Most of this stuff wouldn't cost much to implement. Engines now run for 200K easily before needing major work, but it is frequently impractical to keep a car that long because the other stuff breaks and is too hard/expensive to fix. Properly marketed, a car like this would become an instant cult-classic--the ultimate "green car" (manufacturing autos is extremely energy intensive--"buy a car designed to stay out of the crusher!").

I've always bought used cars. My next one will probably be a used or maybe a new Honda, Toyota, or Subaru. But if GM would "get it" and build a car like this--I'd buy one. They might worry that a car like this would generate less $$ for the dealer service departments, but I think they'd make most of that up with increased volume. As their market share continues to drop, maybe they'll give this a shot.
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Re: My next car...
Old 07-18-2006, 08:34 PM   #43
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Re: My next car...

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl


Maybe I should have said 5 MPH or 10 MPH. ....

The news media made a big deal about this 20 years ago, but nothing has been done.
I'm always surprised the insurance companies aren't doing more to push this. Seems they would have the most to gain, and could offer somewhat lower premiums to attract the budget seekers.

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Re: My next car...
Old 07-19-2006, 01:30 AM   #44
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Re: My next car...

Quote:
The company makes a committment not to change the sheetmetal, bumpers, lights/signals, glass, etc for ten years.*
That was a big factor in buying my old (new) Saab in 1993.. the design had been essentially unchanged for years & years. I also was considering the Volvos of that era for the same reason; then they went and changed them both dramatically. Some people can't leave well enough alone! Note that, despite this consistency, neither Saabs nor Volvos were particularly cheap to repair.

I can't imagine a car company these days willfully making a car that lasts twice as long and requires 1/2 the service/maintenance.. unless they can charge 2x as much for it. (Oops! the market just disappeared.) I think a more practical modular approach would have to come from outside the normal producers. Maybe IKEA could come up with something? (on second thought, maybe no..)

I think the Smart car has easily replaceable body panels that are made of recyclable plastic. They use it as a selling point that you can change the look of the car.

I notice on my car (13 y.o.) that things like door gaskets and headliners are starting to go. Not a big deal, but I wonder about all the other little parts inside that could slowly be rotting away unbeknownst to me.

--
on the subject of new cars.. does anyone know anything about the newer generation of 'keyless' ignitions and entry? Seems like a kind of RFID recognition. Would this be a concern if your battery goes dead?

I am having major headaches now since after a month of disuse, my battery went dead. Jumpstarting it freaks out the alarm system and I can't get it to shut off with the valet switch. Both remotes had dead batteries, too. Got a new battery for the remote but since we hardly go anywhere far away we'll have to plan a long drive before trying to fire her up agin'.

Anyway I was just thinking about remotes and car electronics vs. mechanics remembering how I was stranded one time when my remote didn't work. I was parked near some powerful radio towers that interfered with the remote signals and I couldn't get into the d***d car. At least it wasn't raining. Or nightime. But my 'security system' sure didn't make me feel secure that day!
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Re: My next car...
Old 07-19-2006, 08:03 AM   #45
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Re: My next car...

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Originally Posted by ladelfina
I can't imagine a car company these days willfully making a car that lasts twice as long and requires 1/2 the service/maintenance.. unless they can charge 2x as much for it. (Oops! the market just disappeared.)
You've forgotten to take your European socialist goggles off

The company that does this greatly increases their market share. Think how honda/toyota have increased their market share at the expense of America's big 3 for exactly these reasons, among others.
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Re: My next car...
Old 07-19-2006, 08:33 AM   #46
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Re: My next car...

Well, those same companies increase their market also by adding new models with new features and gizmos.

A big seller here is the Toyota Yaris, which they market based on its "Bluetooth" capabilities! Merits of buying a car based on the wireless-protocol-of-the-month aside, such a car would still look mighty tempting to many folks when placed next to a circa 1996 Honda Civic.

Both Saab and Volvo with their conservative body design approach and good reliability ended up getting sold to GM and Ford, respectively.. you know, the guys that change the bumpers and the headlights every year and have too many models to keep track of...

Boh!?!
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