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Old 2nd October 2012, 07:36   #1
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Default Interesting insights on the state of Car Manufacturing

I found this article by a Porsche enthusiast to be spot on about the drastic loss of ethics/integrity in the car industry (actually repeats across almost any sector you care to see), probably the end game of the current capitalist model. Notions of design for repair-ability or any kind of long term thinking seems completely absent.

The old Porsches, the old Mercedes-Benzes, they had some integrity, some value for the Morlocks, for the third owners, for the hobbyists. They endured. They were like old Rolexes; expensive to run but durable by design. That’s no longer desired, if it ever was. Today’s “luxury” car is just like today’s “luxury” watch. The value of the thing is the price, the presence, the heavy flame-surfaced tank-like offensiveness of an X6 imposing your prosperity on your neighbor’s fragile psyche like a heavy gold chain worn around one’s neck a thousand years ago.

It won’t last. It cannot last. It is a house built on sand. I want to believe that the tide will turn, that we may value vehicles once again for their integrity, their construction, their durability, their real-world performance. The day may come when the Panamera’s successor meets the same icy disdain among the upper-middle-class as the downsized Fleetwood did in 1985. The purveyors of instant junk may push too far, too hard, dare too much, fly too high, crash too hard. The ultimate status symbol may become an old 560SEL, that million-mile aerosedan from another era. It may become the 993, that perfected expression of the air-cooled ethic. It might be an E34 BMW M5, the last six-cylinder gasp of the true M-car. Aw, hell. It could be a C6, for all I know. Concrete Sam could wake up and find that, against all odds, the Vette now gets them all wet.
and about the state of (auto) journalism:
I’ve been reading the Paris Auto Show coverage. Most of it was written by people who were flown to Paris by a manufacturer or an exceptionally generous media conglomerate. These people will never own a Porsche. They certainly won’t ever have to take personal responsibility for diagnosing and fixing one. They swallow the sewage-like PR poured down their throats about how wonderfully “upscale” and “luxurious” and “desirable” the Panamera and the 991 and the others are. They don’t ever stop to consider what it means when a company requires thirty-two steps to perform a basic fluid check. Many of them don’t even own cars. Very few of them could fix a car themselves or even perform an oil change.
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Old 2nd October 2012, 14:47   #2
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Default Re: Interesting insights on the state of Car Manufacturing

Text from Wikipedia- Planned obsolescence
"Once upon a time..... products were made to last. Then, at the beginning of the 1920s, a group of businessmen were struck by the following insight: 'A product that refuses to wear out is a tragedy of business' (1928). Thus Planned Obsolescence was born. Shortly after, the first worldwide cartel was set up expressly to reduce the life span of the incandescent light bulb, a symbol for innovation and bright new ideas, and the first official victim of Planned Obsolescence. During the 1950s, with the birth of the consumer society, the concept took on a whole new meaning, as explained by flamboyant designer Brooks Stevens: 'Planned Obsolescence, the desire to own something a little newer, a little better, a little sooner than is necessary...'. The growth society flourished, everybody had everything, the waste was piling up."

A classic case is the GM electric car stories from 90's. The otherwise extremely capable car wasn't mass produced because of lobbying by oil barons in US, who were on the verge of collapse if electric vehicle was revolutionised.
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