The car industry is becoming more disposable as car manufacturers look to juice the highest profit-margin possible. Due to the specialization of auto repair, few shops are capable of carrying out the extensive make and model repairs needed to keep autos on the road. This is especially true if the owners have been tight on money from unexpected bills or unknowingly neglected maintenance. Factory manuals are difficult and expensive to come by for most models. If you find any service repair information, it typically ends with advisement. It suggests that you consult a qualified professional to repair your auto beyond the most basic checks. Needless to say, obsolescence is a problem.
The Origins of Planned Obsolescence
Automakers have been building obsolescence vehicles since the Dark Ages to force consumers to buy a newer vehicle. General Motors (GM) initiated the marketing strategy of aesthetic obsolescence in 1924 to overtake Ford’s edge as the top auto producer. The new generation Volkswagen Jetta is the perfect example of planned aesthetic obsolescence. You can now easily distinguish this seventh generation model from the former by simply looking for the stunning sculptured body lines running along with the side windows. Adding any sort of special features to make a new model line stand out will typically create an inferiority complex for owners of the aging models.
Ironically, Volkswagen had originally mocked the idea of planned obsolescence by explicitly mocking the term in marketing materials. The Doyle Dane Bernbach marketing campaign alleged that Volkswagen does not believe in planned obsolescence and that there was no purpose in publishing a picture of the new 1962 Volkswagen because it remained the same. This was almost satirical, considering the fact that Volkswagen appears to implement this more than most other manufacturers today.
The Perfect Modern Example of Planned Obsolescence
Volkswagen had specifically engaged in contrived durability problems with its infamous 1.8T engine that burned out turbos and engines with its problematically small oil sump. On top of this, it appears many dealers were instructing the customers to run the engines on conventional oil. Other car manufacturers had employed similar techniques.
The concept is simple. You tweak the parts in an auto to require such an exceptional level of maintenance that they will fail unless serviced by a guru. This frees up the service bays at the dealerships for the routine maintenance of new vehicles that the poorly paid technicians are able to earn sufficient hours on. Volkswagen’s require a special tool for just about everything and are starting to build engines that cannot be rebuilt. Many Volkswagen repairs require expensive factory only parts that can run into the hundreds of dollars for a small piece of plastic.
Auto body Collision Repairs Being Phased Out
The elimination of bumpers from vehicles has made it more cost-effective to simply replace many luxury vehicles. For example, when they get into a small fender-bender accident the car is more likely to be replaced than fixed. More and more automakers are turning to aluminum to lighten the frames for higher fuel efficiency. Volkswagen was infamous for cheating fuel efficiency. They created a program that would trick the EPA as another form of juicing every dime out of a sale.
Putting it All Together
Perhaps this is why Volkswagen is the world’s largest auto manufacturer. They have pulled out every trick to fool consumers into giving them the profit-margins they desire. Instead of revamping an auto to expensively produce a new generation, the car manufacturers can simply outmode internal technology. Making it difficult for SmartPhone users to integrate their latest apps.
Electric vehicles are the next generation of obsolescence. Owners will be shocked when they are told they’ll need to replace their battery at a price of $15,000. These prices can fluctuate wildly as manufacturers blame contrived shortages in certain materials like Boron. This is what recently happened. The reality is that electricity is produced by unregulated coal plants. Therefore, stop and think before you go buy a new electric car. Consider the bigger picture. Finally, Think about what models you can bank on for easy long-term maintenance from an independent garage.