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Old 08-14-2012, 12:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Maybe this is why cars aren't designed for economy

Around here we often wonder why vehicle manufactures don't do X,Y, or Z to improve the economy of their vehicles (fuel economy and/or total economy).

I had an interesting revelation recently. I've always been a believer in buying used vehicles rather than new ones (for financial reasons). According to cars.com, the average new car loses 40% of it's resale value in the first 3 years. Therefore, you can buy a vehicle 3 years old for almost half off--that still has most of it's life ahead of it. So, not to judge anyone, but from pure economy perspective it doesn't make sense to buy a new car. And yet, obviously, all vehicles are sold from the manufacturer as new. So, therefore, the manufacturers' entire market is to people who aren't buying based on economy. So why design for economy if that's not what your customers are looking for?

Just an interesting thought.

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Old 08-14-2012, 01:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Makes sense to me. Also, an economy minded person that does purchase a new car is a lot more likely to maintain it and keep it "until the wheels fall off", so won't be much of a repeat customer. Whereas the person that buys the newest whatsit is a lot more likely to buy another whatsit 3 years from now when the manufacturer makes a huge change, you know, like offering it with bigger wheels and different coloured lights in the dash.
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Old 08-14-2012, 01:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This is part of the harm that planned obsolescence has -- we value new things more than we value *good* things. Cars should be a durable good, and model revisions should be only done when there is an actual functional improvement. Because the car companies can sell us a new car more frequently, they will.
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Old 08-14-2012, 01:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard View Post
This is part of the harm that planned obsolescence has -- we value new things more than we value *good* things.
...Amen! We've become a "throw-away" population: R & R once meant remove & repair, it's now remove & replace.
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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That's a good analysis. I also believe that manufacturers always have to deal with the competition from the used car market when making small cars in general. Imagine a young buyer who can afford either a low-option Chevy Spark or a 2-3 year old nicely loaded 4-cyl Chevy Malibu. The Malibu is safer, more comfortable, more convenient, better looking (alloy wheels, spoiler, etc. compared to the base Spark's plastic wheel covers), and still gets very good gas mileage. It's hard to see the argument for the Spark in that case. The only things in the Spark's favor are extreme fuel economy, more warranty, and new car smell.
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Old Tele man View Post
...Amen! We've become a "throw-away" population.
Definitely true. I saw something once about how revolutionary it was when Quaker Oats introduced the cereal box. Prior to that, everybody sold things in either bulk or in reuseable containers (wooden boxes, barrles, tins, glass jars, etc.)
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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And, just to be clear, I'm not necessarily saying it's wrong for people to buy vehicles based on reasons other than economy...after all, I do drive a 3+ ton truck back and forth to my office job.
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My version of energy storage is called "momentum".
My version of regenerative braking is called "bump starting".

1 Year Avg (Every Mile Traveled) = 47.8 mpg

BEST TANK: 2,009.6 mi on 35 gal (57.42 mpg): http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...5-a-26259.html


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Old 08-14-2012, 04:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Also a lot of buyers are more concerned about power, handling, etc. Even looks. Getting the maximum economy out of any car requires sacrifices vs. "the driving experience" and most people won't make that trade-off. So why bother serving that population (us)?

I pissed off everyone between Boston and Morristown, NJ. 55MPH unless downhill. But I also got 35.5MPG out of a V6 SUV that weighs two and a quarter tons.
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Old 08-14-2012, 05:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Interesting theory, Dave!

It also used to be (more than 12-15 years ago) that the cheapest (entry-level economy) cars were the models that returned the best fuel economy in any manufacturer's lineup. Mostly this was a byproduct of being small and light, with relatively small (low-power) engines. Therefore, being very economical on the purchase side also meant getting good mileage.

But more or less since the advent of hybrids, fuel economy has become a "feature". With few exceptions, if you want the best MPG in a lineup these days, you have to pay extra for it.
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Old 08-14-2012, 05:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
Interesting theory, Dave!

It also used to be (more than 12-15 years ago) that the cheapest (entry-level economy) cars were the models that returned the best fuel economy in any manufacturer's lineup. Mostly this was a byproduct of being small and light, with relatively small (low-power) engines. Therefore, being very economical on the purchase side also meant getting good mileage.

But more or less since the advent of hybrids, fuel economy has become a "feature". With few exceptions, if you want the best MPG in a lineup these days, you have to pay extra for it.
That's an interesting point. There's always been somewhat of a trade-off between initial cost and operating cost, however, you're right that it used to be the cheapest cars also got the best mileage. Now, with the hybrids that's not the case. In some cases, the cars that get the best mileage actually don't have the best total economy because the purchase price is so high (the payback times are extremely long).

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My version of energy storage is called "momentum".
My version of regenerative braking is called "bump starting".

1 Year Avg (Every Mile Traveled) = 47.8 mpg

BEST TANK: 2,009.6 mi on 35 gal (57.42 mpg): http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...5-a-26259.html


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