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View Poll Results: Cars are getting lighter generation by generation. Is it good or bad?
Good 151 49.19%
Bad 156 50.81%
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Old 13th March 2017, 11:31   #31
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Default Re: Cars getting lighter, generation by generation

Originally Posted by deerhunter View Post
2005 C220 is lighter than the current one, isnt it? Still the lighter one has a better thud. Same with E60 and F10, but then this maybe due to lighter doors like you said.
But the newer cars are also bigger & have a lot more equipment / hardware. Their weight gain isn't proportionate to all this new stuff, thus the obvious area of saving weight via metal.

Also, a lot of next generation cars are lighter than their predecessors.
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Old 13th March 2017, 16:02   #32
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Default Re: Cars getting lighter, generation by generation

Voted for Good.

I believe thick sheet is not the only parameter which makes a car more secured one. The Structure/Frame, design are equally important for the overall safety of any car. Of course for minor collisions the car with heavy metal sheet will be able to withstand more damage but anything more than “minor”, does the thick metal makes any difference? Not so much.

My father had a 1982 model Mark IV Ambassador. It was pretty well built car but not that good in terms of ownership experience, fuel efficiency etc. We also own a Maruti Suzuki (much lighter) which is excellent in terms of ownership, mileage, reliability, environment.
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Old 13th March 2017, 17:35   #33
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Default Re: Cars getting lighter, generation by generation

I have voted bad in context of Indian cars selling in highest volume aka. hatchbacks.

Technically I understand the sheet metal weight has no bearing on the safety of the car but then all the recent NCAP testing of Indian hatches show a very similar trend. In my memory the only 2 hatches to have done well are Polo and Old Swift and both have fairly good build and are heavy as well (1000+ kg). All the light ones from maruti and Hyundai stable generally fair very poorly (~800kgs), with only exception being Liva. So my sense is that atleast in hatchback space most manufacturers are in the space of reducing weight even through compromise of structure which is not good for consumers.
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Old 13th March 2017, 18:05   #34
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Default Re: Cars getting lighter, generation by generation

Simple Math: Lighter cars translate to better fuel economy. As long as structural integrity is not compromised, I don't give a damn.

If a manufacturer wants to use light sheet metal which is prone to denting, they can do so in the lower segments and get away.

India specific:
I strongly oppose manufacturers selling cars without critical structures for safety to cut down on weight. This is, however, going to change with the new BNVSAP.
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Old 13th March 2017, 18:10   #35
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Default Re: Cars getting lighter, generation by generation

I have refrained from voting on this poll. Like some others have mentioned, shedding weight is not necessarily a bad thing. It helps keep manufacturing and running costs in check. What is important to note is that without any credible data(like crash testing the same model heavy car with the same model light weight car manufactured later), it is almost all down to individual interpretation and conclusion.

Besides, cars all around, from all manufacturers are getting lighter, then it would really not bother me, provided they are subject to crash tests. I would always prefer a lighter and more safer version over a heavier version with the same safety rating.
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Old 13th March 2017, 18:14   #36
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Default Re: Cars getting lighter, generation by generation

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Last edited by GTO : 13th March 2017 at 18:36.
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Old 13th March 2017, 20:21   #37
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Default Re: Cars getting lighter, generation by generation

Originally Posted by wildsdi5530 View Post
What I hate about thinner sheet metal is the dings that occur due to falling leaves. Someone puts a bag on your roof and it bends down. My labs tail has caused so many minor dents. Never had such issues in previous cars.
Understandable. Once an old lady carrying lunch box happened to pass close to my car (Ciaz) and the lunch box, under its normal sways, just kissed the door panel and lo, a dent of cognizable size formed on the panel. I now have to shell out in thousands to get it right.

I get uneasy when some one leans on my parked car, a street doggy rubs its midriff against the door panel, some one with heavy basket walks beside my car, playing kids come closer to my car and several other instances. My earlier Indica Vista had thicker and stronger panels (comparatively) and never did once I worried for these elements.

These cars with flimsy panels neither protect the occupants under major crash nor do they serve any economy purpose to their owners (money saved on fuel bills would be spent in setting the dented portions right).
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Old 13th March 2017, 21:57   #38
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Default Re: Cars getting lighter, generation by generation

I believe that it's not always heavy vs light. It's about the safety, NVH and quality of materials used. Let's face the fact that if given the same level of safety, NVH and structural integrity, it's always preferable to have a lighter car since it will hae a better power to weight ratio, would be easier to manouver, more fuel efficient and might save some money for the maunfacturer and maybe in turn for the consumer.

However, even if one of these criterias is unfulfilled, lighter cars are not the way to go.
Comprising on quality of material, structural intergrity and safety is NOT OKAY in order for the manufacturer to make the car more efficient or cheaper to produce.

(Maruti Suzuki, I hope you're listening!!)
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Old 14th March 2017, 00:45   #39
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Default Re: Cars getting lighter, generation by generation

To put in a new twist: A lighter car does not necessarily mean stronger car. Yes manufacturers are reducing the weight of the sheet metal. But that is for profits. They do not improve safety by crumple zones, cages etc. Also they can get away with a poor performing engine if the car is light enough.
I don't think that we can equate weight with sheet metal. That is just one component. Weight savings are made by using aluminum in engines, Alloy wheels, ceramic brakes, etc.
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Old 14th March 2017, 01:16   #40
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Default Re: Cars getting lighter, generation by generation

Voted for bad.

Though I am aware that light weight doesn't necessarily mean compromised build quality, still somewhere deep within me, I still trust heavier cars to be more stronger and durable cars.

Please don't get me wrong.Let me clarify.

I never said heavier cars are safer.Just that heavier cars are stronger and more durable.

The poll is whether cars getting lighter is good or bad- not safe or unsafe.
Occupant safety is just one aspect of that.

I wouldn't have voted if the poll was cars getting lighter is safe or unsafe.
Because I am yet to be fully convinced or not convinced about the extra safety that the thinner but supposedly advanced materials give over the older heavier parts.
So I can't comment about that.
My point is just about the structural cohesiveness or the impact withstanding capacity of the cars.

For instance,when a train collides with say, a truck, why is it that the train remains almost intact while the truck is shattered to pieces?
It is obviously not because of any advanced technology in the sheet-metal being used in the train.
Also not because of any crumple zone or any other safety mechanisms in trains.

It is just because of the sheer mass of the train.
Both the bodies receive the energy of impact from the other colliding body.
Since the train weighs thousands of tonnes, the truck's impact energy when transferred and propagated to the train's huge mass, becomes relatively negligible.
The huge mass fully abosorbs the impact of the truck.
But that is not the case with the truck.
It gets the impact of a full-sized moving train, but it has relatively lesser mass to evenly distribute and absorb this sudden flow of energy.
So it crumples and gets shattered to pieces within seconds, not able to withstand the impact of the huge mass with which it collided.

Similar is the situation when the same truck collides head-on with the most safest car on road.
The car gets shattered not because of the absence of any safety features or inferior build technology.
It is just because of the sheer weight of the other vehicle with which it collided.
Only owing to its sheer mass, the truck, With none of the safety features, still takes the impact and remains in more or less one piece, with far lesser damage than the car.
In most cases, even without a seat-belt, the truck driver escapes unhurt too.Because since the truck suffers minimal impact, the propagated impact energy to the driver's body is also minimum.

So, is it not applicable when any 2 bodies collide?
I believe that the heavier body always has an advantage over the lighter body, no matter how much safety feature-laden the lighter vehicle is.

I may be wrong in my assumptions and arguments.
But this simple high-school Physics always haunts me whenever I hear about newer cars shedding even more weight with every face-lift.
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Old 14th March 2017, 19:18   #41
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Default Re: Cars getting lighter, generation by generation

I have voted for 'bad'.

I agree that the safety aspect of cars are not due to sheet metal thickness alone. Thanks to technology and safety aids in modern cars, cars can score higher on crash tests due to these without needing thicker sheet metal.

But one should look at things in another way. Take 2 cars with the same safety kit and aids, and the one with the heavier sheet metal will easily score better on safety. In the Indian context, cars are getting lighter without the safety kit available on export models of the same car. Therefore it is more relevant here that we depend on better sheet metal.

A good example is the Ford Figo. The previous generation Figo failed the NCAP test (scored a 0) only because the base variant they tested came without airbags. But mention was made that the structural integrity of the vehicle was good. The new generation Figo scored 3 in the NCAP test, but only because the base version has airbags. This time though, it was mentioned that the structural integrity was unstable. Now had it been the old Figo with airbags, the score would have been much higher

Not to mention the fact that while crash tests are more for the scores in a lab environment, the peace of mind factor in the real world is much better in cars with the heavier sheet metal
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Old 15th March 2017, 18:31   #42
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Default Re: Cars getting lighter, generation by generation

Originally Posted by vishy76 View Post
is it good or bad for customers in the long term?
Please add one more option to the poll à la NOTA, viz. 'Unsure'
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Old 15th March 2017, 18:48   #43
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Default Re: Cars getting lighter, generation by generation

Depends on how we look at it.

In the context of Indian small cars where weight reduction is achieved to have better fuel economy, it is a very bad thing. e.g. An i10 sold in the UK is heavier than the one sold in India and has a better safety rating, similar is the case of Suzuki Swift vs Maruti Swift

In the context of other countries (mostly developed nations) where passenger safety is paramount, it is a very good thing as weight reduction helps in lower emissions and better power to weight ratios amongst other things.

I wont vote here, but OP can count my vote based on what perspective he is looking at this poll

Last edited by NiInJa : 15th March 2017 at 18:48. Reason: Typo
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Old 16th March 2017, 15:25   #44
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Default Re: Cars getting lighter, generation by generation

Many posts over here are talking about the feeling of being solid. Its good that we feel for our cars, but feeling is not scientific.
Most of the safety tests done for many of the costlier cars give it 4 or 5 stars which is a data equivalent of feel.

Lighter is not equal to unsafe and vice versa. Aluminum is far more stronger yet lighter and is used in many cars. The engine too, makes the difference.
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Old 16th March 2017, 20:31   #45
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Default Re: Cars getting lighter, generation by generation

While both both types of cars, those with thicker and thinner sheet metal might protect the occupants in event of a crash, the advantage of the lighter car MAY be in better fuel economy UNLESS the weight savings are nullified by extra equipment or wieght added elsewhere.
The advantage of a car with thicker sheet metal is on a day to day basis where it will be less susceptible to minor bumps and dents and reduced damage in case of a fender bender. Therefore it will either require no repairs, require minor repairs and by preserving its cosmetic appearance, the owner also feels better about his car.

Lets be honest big accidents are rare and one-off cases, you need to keep your regular day to day usage in mind also which doesnt often involve driving into a tree at 60 km/hr. Thicker sheet metal will give more peace of mind during ownership than a car with thin sheet metal but all safety features.
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