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Old 10-22-2021, 04:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yep, same argument as in 1973.

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Old 10-23-2021, 12:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by AeroMcAeroFace View Post
Problem is, that the price of fuel is so cheap compared to the price of a new car. (even in expensive fuel places like the UK, at currently 1.40 per litre) As a consumer spending $30 000 on a car that gets 35mpg vs $35 000 on a car getting 70mpg, which one is the average consumer going to buy? Where is the ROI for development vs adding electronics like cruise control, auto-start stop, ipod connectivity etc.

Consumers want larger and larger cars with more electronics and cupholders. I don't think in the lifetime of the pure ICE we will see much of a shift towards very low drag and low frontal area.

The trend is towards larger cars that are more aerodynamic, but due to greater frontal area, are no more aerodynamic than the equivalent car years ago. Isn't the original golf similar in CdA to the new golfs?
All fair points.

But you must consider that it is the upper 20% of income earners driving new car sales and trends. THAT is the demographic that wants all the oversized, overweight/ comfortable status symbols. Then when the next body style arrives, they tend to sell off the old car and get a new one, without any regard to per mile operating cost. To this demographic, the car is clothing moreso than it is a means to get around.

Everyone else has to make due with what they can find on the used car market, which tends to be the same cars that those wealthy enough to do so have previously purchased, and not necessarily what the used car buyer really wanted in a car. Most people who need cars to get around purchase used, and they tend to want to keep them for a long time to minimize their per mile operating cost.

A good way to tell what most people who use a car as a car actually want in a car is to look at which used cars are best at retaining their value. The cars that are efficient, reliable, inexpensive/easy to obtain parts for, simple to work on, do tend to hold their value much better(eg. Honda Civics, Toyota Corollas, fuel efficient hybrids, ect) than the overpriced status symbols that often lose 25%+ or more of their value year over year(most trucks, SUVs, luxury sedans, exotic boutique automobiles, ect).

A lot of the problem stems from the income/wealth gap. If people of lesser means were actually able to afford to buy new cars cars again, the sort of cars sold would probably change. As it is, the cheapest new cars on the market aren't selling, because this income/wealth gap has grown to such an extreme that the people who would have historically bought these cheap new cars are priced out of the market altogether. Do keep in mind 2/3 of Americans can't come up with $500 in an emergency and 3/4 of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Thus, the price of new cars is creeping ever upward because it is the well-off that want oversized fully-loaded everything which are driving the market. The same well-off don't generally care how much they are spending to keep operational. Once the next body style arrives, they'll sell their current one at a great loss and buy a new one to keep up with the fashion trend.

Then there's the industry itself. They only will offer for sale what they want the consumer to buy, and not necessarily offer the best possible product that the consumer wants. The industry will do everything they can to preserve a lack of certain market niches being available if those niches threaten the continued viability of higher-margin products.

The major automakers argued for decades no one wanted electric cars, even when the technology became ready in the 1990s and repeated studies indicated that there would be massive consumer acceptance if the cost was comparable with ICE cars for at least 100 miles range. Getting the cost comparable was mostly a matter of high volume production, and even back then, the technology was ready to offer 150+ miles of range. Now that Tesla has opened that Pandora's Box of offering a long-range, semi-affordable, practical EV onto the market, they can't keep up with demand and all of the other automakers are struggling to catch up. GM could have been 20 years ahead of Tesla. Without Tesla proving it could be done, it is doubtful we'd have any electric cars on the market at all.

There's a massive demand for cheap, small, no-frills pickup trucks for work purposes, but for a long time the major automakers wouldn't make them. They wanted you to buy the $40,000+ fully-loaded boulevard queens if you needed a truck. When Mahindra tried to take advantage of this niche going unfulfilled by offering an inexpensive, fuel efficient, small diesel pickup in the U.S. for about half the cost of its nearest competition, the major automakers banded together and sued Mahindra as well as lobbied the government to keep it out of the U.S. Thus, in the 2010s, 10+ year old used 4-cylinder Ford Rangers and Toyota Tacomas held their value extremely well because they were the cheapest work trucks you could get if you needed a work truck.

40 years ago Mercedes used to build cars that could last 500,000+ miles reliably with just basic maintenance. They don't anymore, and their longevity/reliability has fallen so far that the historically sub-par offerings from the Big-3 are now greatly more reliable and long-lasting. The wealthy continue to buy them regardless, because they'll just sell it when the next body style comes out and buy a new one to replace it, and never have to deal with the obscenely expensive repairs/maintenance that will inevitably surface. And because most used car buyers tend to be more budget-minded, they generally avoid these and the resale value drops quickly as a result.

When Pontiac was about to sell a turbo V6 Fiero GT that had faster acceleration and better skidpad performance than a Corvette for half the cost of a Corvette, GM had it killed because it didn't want to cannibalize the sales of a high-profit-margin existing product with what may have been a superior product that offered greatly less profit margins.

The industry itself is corrupt. Everything is done to maximize profits, no matter the cost to everyone else or the environment. The late Luigi Colani realized this applied even to big rigs with the industry using "styling" as an excuse to avoid making efficient designs, in effort to prop up planned obsolescence, and Colani once commented on this with "the stupidity is overwhelming". After all, it's a big rig. Who cares about its styling? The point is to use it to ship goods as cheaply and as efficiently as possible. Does it make more sense for a commercial fleet operator to buy a "pretty" 6 mpg 18-wheeler, or an aero 16 mpg 18-wheeler that can perform all the same tasks for cheaper? Yet the entire industry insisted for the last 40+ years on the more efficient version being kept off the market.

Last edited by The Toecutter; 10-23-2021 at 01:01 PM..
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