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Among consumer goods, a passenger car is the most mass-produced high-tech, the most science-and resource-intensive. In each-hundreds of kilograms of steel, less than a hundred-aluminum and plastic, tens of kilograms of rubber.
2022-11-20, by ,

#2022 || #Automotive || #Cars ||

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With a global car production of tens of millions (76 million last year and 90 million before Covid 2019), the industry is consuming a huge amount of different materials. In addition, more and more are spent on it (in addition to those spent on the production of electricity, water, heat, etc.) - the service life of the car is reduced with each new generation. This also conflicts with the fashion for Ecology, and especially with the growing popularity (especially among the enlightened creative class) of reasonable consumption. Buying clothes "without bleaching with chlorine", restoring old wardrobes, wearing grandmother's "Louiviton" - and driving cars that live for several years and" firsthand " even a couple of years? Weird, don't you think?

Manufacturers were afraid to launch a "fault generator" on the market, and designers, with their primitive design methods by today's standards, took the dimensions of parts with a margin. "Premium" consumers of the time also demanded quality: the hereditary bourgeois were in no hurry to part with their hard-earned earnings for the next novelty, but the European tribal aristocracy set the tone for premium consumption, after the cruel lesson of the mid-forties, mistaking demonstrative modesty for virtue.

Old times

And a lot of time has passed: among car gourmets, the last day of the“age of the great” is considered to be December 31, 2005, when the last of those engines , the Alfa Romeo V6 developed in the 70s, was launched, and three days later, at 92, its designer, no less legendary Giuseppe Busso, died.

White-poached geniuses were replaced by inconspicuous engineers, and the "dependence on talent" in design was minimized. Multibillion-dollar investments in research, new development techniques, advances in materials and production technologies have made cars incomparably better, albeit many times more expensive to develop.

But the more expensive the development, the greater the temptation (thanks, again, to new technologies) to make the project easier and cheaper to produce. The simplest example is suspension arms, which is now customary to do together with silent blocks, and not press the latter, as before. A coveted saving of three copeche for the manufacturer-and a few thousand more for the owner, who is forced to change the entire lever instead of replacing a couple of parts with crumbled rubber. Another example of progress in the name of the economy is aluminum cylinder blocks. They learned to count them in terms of stiffness without margin and to make much thinner and more complex castings than before (like this one VIN check). This allowed considerable savings in metal-and not at the expense of function, but only as long as the block is fresh and its material has not lost its properties.


Moreover, more if the developers rely too much on electronics not in their computers, but on the machine itself. How long, reader, have you been getting your hands dirty under the hood, checking the oil level? That's it: the oil dipstick (VIN lookup free) is a thing of the past, giving way to a sensor in the engine and an indicator on the dashboard. And the sensor is not only not an absolutely reliable thing in itself, moreover, it works in a very aggressive environment, but the quality of the sensors is also unstable. And in general, one hundred percent stability is a utopia. The result is a lack of engine oil and its untimely replacement or at least a thorough overhaul.

And these are just matters of Economics. It's even more fun with environmental requirements: European "bit-biting" politicians make up less and less realistic requirements, fulfilling which designers are forced to make engines less and less efficient. That is, the engines themselves have nothing to do with this, but the algorithms for "feeding" them with fuel are focused on a lean mixture, so that, God forbid, the engine does not overeat, releasing gray smoke during regassing. On the contrary, you need to feed less than necessary, and the smoke should turn white, as during the election of the pope. And the fact that the unfortunate engine is not only boring, but also always works on the verge of overheating, which is very bad for a resource, well, legislators do not know. In addition, in the name of ecology, the engines are also hung with a bunch of systems and parts, each of which wants to break (they have such a property and the smaller the part, the more it is prone to breakage), suffering in an increasingly cramped and hot engine compartment.

And the market, represented by the leadership of automotive companies, at this time requires “everyone, everything, at once and more”: more power, more innovation and faster, until competitors wake up, there is no time to build. Yes, and also money for thorough testing of resources. As a result, the carrier receives products that are unlikely to survive the warranty period. An example of" from the people "are the" robots " of VW...

Source: VIN decoder

Ted Jackman

Ted Jackman contributor to
Independent Financial Adviser