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Old 3rd June 2009, 12:17   #1
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Default Poor Engineering : A case of QC or deliberate

Many of you may have heard of the term "planned obsolescence".
For those you don't it means deliberately making cars which fall apart after a few years so that customer has to keep buying new cars.
And no prizes for guessing who started this. GM!
Yes the company which is going down pioneered this practice. 30 years later, its no more.
Now coming to the local scene here, does this exist in our auto industry also. Though nothing as radical as "car falling apart" I fee a lot of companies are intentionally engineering some non critical parts such that they fall apart, and customer has to buy them.

Case in point, the Tata safari Alloy wheel cup. Its a piece of plastic, which does not cost more than 20-30rs to manufacturer. Tata sells it for 230Rs/piece.
Well they can charge whatever they want, but thats not the problem, the problem is that it falls off easily. Even while driving on highways,
A gentle kick can dislodge it and so can a small pothole.

When it falls, you can leave the wheel hub bare, which looks like an eyesore to some, or shell out 230rs and buy a new one.

Its hard to put this problem as lack of QC. Even 10,000kms of road testing would show up this flaw, and I am sure manufacturers do much more than that!

Tata is not the only culprit here. Remember the turn indicator cover of old M800s which used to turn white from orange after one rainy season.
Or the wiper blades of most cars which survive just one monsoon.

If you can supply more examples it will be great. thankfully this malady has not spread to the basic engineering of the automobile. Even the GM cars in India seem to be well built, and not designed to fall apart after a few years. Maybe manufacturers have learnt that building reliable cars is more profitable.
But I am sure not all have.

There are so many skoda owners here who have their clutches gone just when the car is out of warranty. Add the flywheel to that, and it makes for some expensive repair.

Over the past few years I have also noticed that many cars give the maximum problems immediately after the warranty has expired. So looks like a deliberate case of "planned obsolescence", or maybe I am reading too many conspiracy theories!
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Old 3rd June 2009, 12:33   #2
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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Over the past few years I have also noticed that many cars give the maximum problems immediately after the warranty has expired. So looks like a deliberate case of "planned obsolescence", or maybe I am reading too many conspiracy theories!
Good point! However, I believe it's the later case here.

A good businessman will think less about earning couple of hundred rupee profit per parts "planned for obsolescence", and much more about overall poor impression that would create about his few hundred thousands rupee car.

After all, when people say they faced niggles with XYZ car, they are talking of the whole car and not just specific parts even if car otherwise is excellent.

So, in larger interest of business, it is better to earn profit by selling more cars (due to better quality) than earning petty profit on such parts.

I would suspect that, this theory holds good better in case of less expensive items (e.g. electronic gadgets) than expensive cars.
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Old 3rd June 2009, 12:36   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post

If you can supply more examples it will be great.
The other great example is " EXIDE CAR BATTERY."

Everyone knows it.

It is designed to fail immediately after warranty period. What a precise design skill.

Last edited by ASHISHPALLOD : 3rd June 2009 at 12:39.
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Old 3rd June 2009, 12:37   #4
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Our 2002 Wagon R had this irritating brake caliper clatter that kept coming back even after getting it replaced. One of the mechs told me that this is a very common prob with the car.

Luckily, the new car hasn't shown any such issues so far.

For the OHC, there is the O2 sensor, which will most definately conk off once you cross the 40,000 kms mark and we've already seen so many threads related to this. Cost of replacement is around 16-17K.

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Old 3rd June 2009, 12:40   #5
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I agree with RX135. Definitely any good business will try to promote the product as a whole.

But the case in point could be very well valid for cheaper electronic goods - take a inkjet printer for example. The cartridge could be expensive! I had a HP deskjet which costed Rs5000 way back in 2000, whose cartridge costed Rs3500 then. Now I guess the equations have changed for the good with printers and cartridges becoming very cheap.
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Old 3rd June 2009, 12:45   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASHISHPALLOD View Post
The other great example is " EXIDE CAR BATTERY."

Everyone knows it.

It is designed to fail immediately after warranty period. What a precise design skill.
It looks like we are very lucky. Our M-800 has an exide fitted in 2004. It is still running without any problems whatsoever!
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Old 3rd June 2009, 12:48   #7
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No wonder Toyota is where it is today.
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Old 3rd June 2009, 12:49   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AkMar View Post
It looks like we are very lucky. Our M-800 has an exide fitted in 2004. It is still running without any problems whatsoever!
That is clear case of non-confirming part.
At that time, something may went wrong with production at exide.
They may have produced some non confirming batteries which are lasting more than desired life of warranty period only.

edit: @ techno, congratulations, you are one of the exclusive happy exide club members!!!!

Last edited by ASHISHPALLOD : 3rd June 2009 at 13:08.
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Old 3rd June 2009, 12:55   #9
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I definitely dont think it because of QC but I also dont buy the idea that they would have parts in such a state that you would need to keep changing them.

IMHO the parts are simply of cheaper quality to keep the overall costs down/increase margins.

@ashish: unlike the popular belief on team-bhp I too am a happy Exide customer for many years
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Old 3rd June 2009, 12:58   #10
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Another part which comes to mind is the headlight of my palio. The water seeps in there and eventually blurs out the glass.
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Old 3rd June 2009, 13:05   #11
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This theory is well applicable to DELL laptops and PCs. They are designed to work till the warranty period and that is why DELL insists you to chose which warranty period you want, so that they can place those components which are designed to fail after the warranty period
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Old 3rd June 2009, 13:09   #12
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASHISHPALLOD View Post
The other great example is " EXIDE CAR BATTERY." Everyone knows it. It is designed to fail immediately after warranty period. What a precise design skill.
Small correction above: OEM EXIDE CAR BATTERY. If you replace it with an Exide, it does not conk off after the warranty period.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AkMar View Post
It looks like we are very lucky. Our M-800 has an exide fitted in 2004. It is still running without any problems whatsoever!
Just like there is the chance of a 'lemon' among the good ones, exceptions are always there to the rule!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Technocrat View Post
@ashish: unlike the popular belief on team-bhp I too am a happy Exide customer for many years
I have had happy relations with Exide in automotive / non automotive batteries as they are the ones which are the most easily available ones in my place.

But I have lost 5 OEM Exides around the one year mark. they goofed up on 4 as all of them died before the one year is over. Only one died on the 13th month and I ended up paying for a replacement Exide battery!
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Old 3rd June 2009, 13:16   #13
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I am also victim of Exide Car battery. In my case it conked off just after two years. Other items are

1. Clutch assembly in many cars. In this case manufacturers/dealers can easily blame driver/owner as you are driving with clutch foot. My 800's clutch failed around 24500 Kms and AkRoy's alto's clutch also failed around 30000 Kms.

2. Steel rim wheel cap. Most of time on highway you can see car with one of the wheel cap not present.

On Bike's front:

Hero Honda's headlamp/coils quality are too bad compared to TVS or Bajaj. It simply work as night lamp of household.

On Trucks/Buses:

Back light/Brake lights quality and wiring so bad as most of trucks/buses back light only you can spot from 10 meters. You can see Tata's trademark backlight design. Same assembly used in Sumo and 407s and trucks. Its too bad.

There is long list to go.
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Old 3rd June 2009, 13:22   #14
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I dunno but fellow tbhpian trace_nut Safari saw some of the worst terrain during the chandertaal trip and more than 35k kms later not even one hub cap has fallen off... lucky... may be?
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Old 3rd June 2009, 13:27   #15
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Guys we are going OT this is not a Exide issues thread.

The objective of this thread is to discuss the possible reasons for defective or earlier failure of parts
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