If you were a car builder,what would you do to make a superlative truck or auto?-Kevin
Same as anything else, talk to customers and especially former customers to find out why they went somewhere else. People want great styling, nice upholstery, and competitive cost, but that’s not worth much if the power train is not efficient and dependable and trouble free. And great styling and comfort and dependability is not worth much if you go to a bad news dealer with a poor service department.
And having just bought a washer and dryer, if I were Whirlpool, I’d start offering more colors than white again. To both my wife and a friend, color was a decider. Who would have thought? Not the transmission, efficiency, warranty, but color.
I think there would be a market for a basic car that a guy could work on and fix, sure that is 70s vintage, but with all the special equipment and tools needed to try and keep a car running why not just a regular car a regular guy can work on.
Just my pet peeve. Adequate headroom. I’m barely six feet tall but routinely rub the headliners in the rear seats of fairly large cars. For aerodynamics and styling they’ve made roofs swoop downwards too far. Sure, it makes for dramatic styling, but I hate having to stoop to get in, slump to fit, and then my view is lousy because the belt line is up around my shoulder and the top of the windows are level with my eyes. I can excuse that in a small car, but not in a big one. Yet it’s nearly universal. Legroom, on the other hand, is almost always generous, even in compacts.
10-4 on the suggestions,perhaps a designer will read this and incorperate some of these ideas.Seems Chysler really knocked the rear headroom out of some of thier models.
On pickups I would like to see a locker differntial and 10-12" of ground clearence,plus a creeper gear even on the 2wd(that would take care of a lot of stuff 4wd is needed for now)-Kevin
I hate the way that almost all automakers seem to do some things really well, but leave one or two things that should have been fixed before releasing the car to the public. It’s like no one was listening at the top level and then when it’s noticed, it’s like “oh well, too late to fix now, the design’s been finalized, we have to build” I had a Hyundai as a rental recently and it was a tossup on whether the airline seat I was crammed in or the driver’s seat in the Hyundai was the least comfortable. Very basic to get right, and one of the most important things to a driver, yet a big fail. (I will say this car had about the best A/C I’ve experienced)
You’d think automakers would realize by now that the car will be reviewed by C&D, Motortrend, etc., and experienced by the public at large, and flaws will be treated without mercy. Aren’t the execs driving the final products before signing off on them? Don’t they realize by now that by not spending money to fix driver’s pet peeves and reliability issues with a vehicle, that they’re doing major damage to their reputation and future revenue in the long term? Certainly a few $$ in extra production costs per vehicle adds up, but if everyone ends up buying a different brand next time because that $2 part that failed in the transmission wouldn’t have failed if it was a $4 part, what is gained? This isn’t as much of an issue with “premium” vehicles, but most of the country/world doesn’t drive them/can’t afford them.
As a side note, 3 out of 4 of kmccune’s posts seem to diss Chrysler…
Listen to your customers and keep improving the quality and reliability. Hyundai seems to have done this in spades in the last 20 years. That’s how a company that built virtually no cars 30 years ago can beat the daylights out of companies that are over 100 years old.
Agree that the packaging (styling) plays an important role as well as accessories available.
If you are going to build a world-beating car, the body structure should be made from non-corroding materials and the powertrain designed to last 250K miles with little or no maintenance. Likely replacement or repair items should be designed so they can be serviced without the need for special tools or major component disassembly …
And having just bought a washer and dryer, if I were Whirlpool, I'd start offering more colors than white again. To both my wife and a friend, color was a decider. Who would have thought? Not the transmission, efficiency, warranty, but color
From a manufacturing standpoint, colors seem to be less cost effective. We paint most of our product in-house, and white is what we powder coat with, and white is usually the cheapest color to buy(even in automotive colors). Not to say we don’t use other colors in-house, but white is generally what we use.
One of our red dryers had to be painted outside the plant and clearcoated, so factor that extra cost into the cost of the appliances.
White also tends to hide small defects, while the colors you could see just about every one, which caused a rejected part to be reworked, meaning more manpower and money being thrown at the part(s).
A few years ago, we offered an orange color on Kenmore front load models, I believe. I remember one being on display in the break room and someone put some green sticky paper on the door and made it look like a pumpkin for Halloween.
Well oblivion I’ve been around Mopar stuff all my life and I even currently have one(which could have been so much better if the maker had took a real look at the competition(these Dodge products are some of the most expensive things for sale around here) and in my experience some of the Quirkiest,there are two domestics and three asian,most all european companies I wont buy either,because I’m not getting any richer or younger and dont have the patience or the temperment to fool with some shady dealer or dishonest mechanic(who charges more for two hours of his time then I make all day) most most Chrysler engines will run a long time,but you need the rest of the vehicle to go along with it.
That being said, there are 4 Asian and one Domestic company at the present time I would probaly buy new,from.And it relates to personal experience and observation.One time my wifes old beater 740 GLE Volvo shorted the high tension lead on the exhaust manifold and blew the muffler up,well to make a short story out of it,She rented a Neon from a bodyshop and my daughter was crying from her babyseat to get the Volvo back(can a Caliber have any rear headroom? the Charger I rode to jail certainly didnt have much.The only thing that has saved Chrysler so far is the Cummins Diesel(which Case helped develope by the way and that V-8 they call a Hemi(a lot of folks tell me its not a true Hemi head)So I guess Dr Z bailed while the getting was good.-Kevin
Keep it simple, easily serviced, iron any bugs out, and stick with it. Unfortunately, that will never happen because most cars are just like containers of milk at the grocer. They go sour after a while…
Well, most of the stuff I’d want in a new vehicle–low cost of ownership, few options, extreme durability and parts support 25+ years out–matter little to average new car purchasers…and might even be counter-productive.
One thing I don’t understand, though, is why car bodies aren’t hot-dip galvanized. It’d cost me $800 or so…doubt it’d cost an automaker more than $500 in bulk. At least here in the rust belt, the original purchaser would stand to recoup all the premium on resale, so it shouldn’t be a deal breaker (might even be an asset).
I think this discussion shows that it’s impossible to make a car that will be at the top of the heap. Too many people want too many different things. I for one don’t want a plain simple car. I may be selfish, but I work too hard to drive a car without power windows or A/C or power seats. Durability isn’t a big factor for me either. I rarely put more than 40-50,000 miles on a car. Sure, I buy them used, but who wants to drive the same car for 12 years? Boorring.
I would like legislation (company promises wont cut it, I’m afraid) to support all computerized functions of cars sold throughout their forseeable lifespan. Too many critical functions are now controlled by an insustry that, shall we say, isn’t enamored of “proven technology” and “legacy support.”
I worry that (for instance), if my mom’s 2010 Fusion’s ECM breaks down in 2033, finding someone to fix it will be harder than tracking down a greying COBOL cowboy is today.
“. . . but who wants to drive the same car for 12 years? Boorring.”
@asemaster–I drove the same car for 33 years. I bought the car new in 1978 and sold it in 2011. I didn’t mind not having power windows and the seating position was comfortable for me without the power feature. However, the car did have air conditioning and that is a “must have” for me.
I really didn’t plan to keep the car that long. My son had the car during his first year in college. The car dropped to second car status when it was about 7 years old. The later vehicles that I have owned had power windows and I have never had a power window fail. However, I did go through a couple of window crank handles for the car I kept for 33 years. Fortunately, a universal fit window crank handle in the “HELP” parts section of Advance Auto Parts was less than $5.
My Buick Rivieras were galvanized. At least the rockers and bottoms of the quarter panels were. Never ground the paint off on the rest of it to know if it was dipped or not but the bodies never rusted in Minnesota. Now the framing was another matter.
@meanjoe75fan, “I would like legislation (company promises wont cut it, I’m afraid) to support all computerized functions of cars sold throughout their forseeable lifespan. Too many critical functions are now controlled by an insustry that, shall we say, isn’t enamored of “proven technology” and “legacy support.””
There’s no way that would or should ever happen. That’s like Microsoft being forced to still provide service and support for Windows 95 or Whirlpool being regulated to still offer parts for my 18 year old washing machine. If there is enough of a need for something the aftermarket will sort it out. Besides, the need for hard mechanical parts far outweighs the need for computer support in the auto repair industry. At least at my shop.
@Triedaq, “Fortunately, a universal fit window crank handle in the “HELP” parts section of Advance Auto Parts was less than $5.” You couldn’t find an old pair of vise-grips in the back of your toolbox instead of spending all that money at the parts store?
@kmccune: I don’t want to turn this into a diatribe about one manufacture’s merits/failures vs. another’s. All I can say is that the Chrysler products I’ve owned have been good to me, vs. Fords which have let me down at critical times, and GMs, which have been pretty neutral. I can well imagine your daughter cried after being thrust into an unfamiliar environment. If you’d had a Bentley as a loaner, she’d probably still have cried. Not exactly an objective argument. And riding in a Charger during a pretty bad day/period in your life probably isn’t going to make you rave about them either. Maybe a lot of your bias is due to associating Mopars with bad personal experiences and not actual problems with the brand? It would tend to sour me on a brand too. I’ve not forgiven Ford yet for a lonely New Year’s eve standing by the side of the highway at midnight instead of being with my friends, nor for having to push one to the side of the road during rush hour on a busy highway while people honked and nearly ran me over, among other things.
@Trideq: I’ve only had one power window motor ever fail, vs. busting the cranks on several hand crank windows over the years. I would say that most of the toys on cars are pretty robust tech by now, though even the 70s cars I had with power windows were trouble free. I can’t wait until people start getting bills for $800 to replace the $60 failed hard drive in their car entertainment systems…
Superlative and “top of the heap” come at a premium. Window cranks and austere environs aren’t really applicable in those terms. For me, transportation fitting this description would be one time payment.
I buy the car, you provide 100% maintenance and repair for some reasonable period. Let’s say 6 years, 150k miles. I drop car off for periodic maintenance and it’s done free of charge. Anything goes wrong (outside of negligence or abuse) and it’s covered, period. Eliminates the risk for the consumer.
Your answer is in your question. Superlative to whom? A few posters here expressed their thoughts; simple, cheap, easy to work on, fits tall people, stylish, reliable. The list goes on.
This is what marketing folks DO at car companies. They ask people what they want in a car. That got us the “flounder design” Ford Taurus, the Pacer, the Pontiac Aztec, the Edsel, the Oldsmobile Aurora (nice car, actually) and many other sales flops.
The toughest job it to create a car that people didn’t even KNOW they wanted. A car they just HAVE to own with features that amaze and delight.
That is VERY tough to do!