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Mar 02, 2006 (12:34 pm)
With the constant influx of new features for safety, security, performance and entertainment, there is always the risk of reliability issues. Combine that with the flooded market and I expect some of the most reliable and durable products are on the way from any of the Automakers (Although the Chinese have a bit to prove still) but I don't expect 100% flawless all the time from every make and model.
Things look great, but they can always be better.
#7 of 24 I think alot of the time...
Mar 02, 2006 (12:51 pm)
we don't realize how bad we've got it until we experience something better. The 14.4k modems are a prime example. Of course, sometimes a website will have a bad connection or get some kind of other problems, or just have too much traffic, or get so complex that even with a DSL or T3 connection, it still takes forever. So then, in our mind we might wonder how far we've really come from the old 14.4k modems. Nevermind the fact that the things we're having problems with may have been flat-out impossible to even CONCEIVE with a 14.4k modem.
Now in some respects, cars may have gotten about as good as they're going to be. For instance, you can only make a car take off so fast because of the laws of physics and time. It simply gets harder to accomplish each additional increment in speed. For example, it's not that hard to take a car that does 0-60 in 10 seconds and redesign it for 9. but then, going from 9 to 8 is harder. Harder still from 8 to 7, 7 to 6, and from 6 to 5. Taking a 5 second car and turning it into a 4 second car is probably damned near impossible. And then going to a 3 second car would probably kill you!
Likewise with fuel economy. In the 70's it was rare to find a big V-8 car that could break 20 mpg on the highway. Today it's common to find a large-ish V-6 car that can hit 30, and outperform those 20 mpg V-8's of days gone by (and even many of the <10 mpg V-8's!). But then, let's see how much it takes to get something like a Lucerne, Avalon, 500, or Chrysler 300 to break the 40 mpg barrier! AND still retain some semblance of performance. AND do it cost-effectively. Reliability will always be a funny thing, partly because people mix it up with durability. And also, not all examples of the same model are equally reliable. For example, when they say the Toyota Camry is rated "much better than average", there are still a certain percent of them, no matter how small, that will merely be average. And a few of them will be total pieces of junk. Cars have always been like this. So it's entirely possible for me to go from my 2000 Intrepid, which CR usually rated around average for that year, to a new Camry which consistently gets high marks, yet still end up with an inferior car. How? Well, my Camry could be one of the few that happens to sludge up, or drops its tranny prematurely or whatever. It's instances like this that make people think stuff like "Oh, they don't build 'em like they used to" or "CR is full of poop", etc.
#8 of 24 Re: I think alot of the time... [andre1969]
Mar 02, 2006 (1:06 pm)
I'm not arguing your point, but John Force has done the 1/4 mile in 4.6 seconds (333mph), so I think a 3 second 0-60 is servivable.
Mar 02, 2006 (1:52 pm)
yes. Because this market has gone beyond the point of saturation and is now well into flood stage, which has all the carmakers scrambling to do what? Cost-cut, then cost-cut some more, and then some more. That will continue ad infinitum as far as I can see. Reliability will not improve again until they stop relentlessly trying to chase costs out of every aspect of their operations. Cheaper is almost never more reliable, more durable, or better.
Mar 02, 2006 (1:59 pm)
that's a good point, about the cost-cutting. I could see more thing happening along the lines of the throwaway rotors they use nowadays on cars. They warp if you look at them funny, but on the plus side they're cheap and easy to replace, so I guess it's a draw. I had to put new front rotors on my Intrepid around 98,000 miles. But I was able to do it myself. Total cost was around $83.00, including new front pads.
In contrast, the last time I had to buy one of those old-fashioned, big, bulky, one-piece rotor was back in 1997, for a '79 Newport. Suckers were around $90 apiece. Plus the labor to put them on. I didn't want to deal with repacking the wheel bearing and making sure everything was just right. But with these newer 2-piece assemblies, you just pop off two little clips and the rotor slides off as easy as a tire.
I'm sure there are plenty of instances though, where the cost cutting has no up-side. I know this is a stupid little nitpick, but it pisses me off that the new Charger has a hood prop! I have NEVER owned a Mopar with a hood prop! Actually, I take that back, I think my '88 LeBaron had a prop rod, but hell that wasn't a real Mopar anyway.
#11 of 24 Re: answer is [nippononly]
Mar 02, 2006 (2:04 pm)
So in your opinion you should buy cars and trucks now as reliability is going to see a falloff in the coming model years and this IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS. Get it while the electronics and wiring is top notch and before the price slashing begins, and before the beancounters start looking to give the parts contracts to the lowest bidder.........
#12 of 24 I see no reason why ...
Mar 02, 2006 (2:10 pm)
...it can't continue to improve over the long run. Engineering and design processes may improve, and manufacturers will develop superior assembly techniques.
But improvements may plateau over the short run, cost-cutting measures may contribute to that leveling effect, and the rate of improvement may slow significantly from what it once was. In time, the improvements may be so modest that they vary very little from year to year. If we reach that point soon, we may find ourselves benefiting from a new renaissance in design, as manufacuturers may no longer be able to use quality as a unique competitive advantage. (If everyone's quality becomes roughly equal, quality won't be a way to distinguish one's self from one's rivals.)
#13 of 24 Re: answer is [reddogs]
Mar 02, 2006 (2:34 pm)
Get it while the electronics and wiring is top notch and before the price slashing begins, and before the beancounters start looking to give the parts contracts to the lowest bidder...
I think we've already sailed well past that point. The major Japanese makes hit it about 15 years ago, and the domestics about four decades ago.
Mar 02, 2006 (11:04 pm)
got there before me. There is no question in my mind that while the numbers are just peaking now, the best years are at least a decade behind everyone, including the first tier Japanese. The race to reduce costs began in the early 90s and accelerated after 1995.
I wish I were more familiar with the exact numbers. I am willing to bet that Toyota and Honda have not improved their actual rate of defects and repairs more than a few percent since, say, 1995. Many of the other manufacturers have gradually caught up, while Nissan went through hard times and its numbers dropped way down.
I expect that from here on out other companies will bounce around on the list as they make good cost-cutting decisions followed by bad ones, while Toyota and Honda will stay fairly consistently at the top of the list, but stagnating in actual defect rates.