Cars are out of time
As part of the trend towards reasonable consumption, the demand for more durable cars is growing. Technologically, it is quite possible to satisfy it.
Among consumer goods, a passenger car is the most mass-produced of high-tech, the most science- and resource-intensive. In each - hundreds of kilograms of steel, under a hundred - of aluminum and plastics, tens of kilograms of rubber.
With global car production in the tens of millions (76 million last year and 90 million in pre-Covid 2019), the industry is consuming an enormous amount of different materials. Moreover, more and more of them (as well as those spent on their production of electricity, water, heat, etc.) are being spent - the service life of the car is reduced with each new generation. This is also in conflict with the fashion for ecology, and especially with the growing popularity (primarily 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 “first-hand” even a couple of years? Strange, don't you think?
Manufacturers were afraid to launch a "breakdown generator" on the market, and designers, with their primitive design methods by today's standards, took the dimensions of parts with a margin. The “premium” consumers of that time also demanded quality: the hereditary bourgeois were in no hurry to part with their hard-earned money because of the next novelty, but the European tribal aristocracy set the tone in premium consumption, after the cruel lesson of the mid-1940s, taking demonstrative modesty for virtue.
Squeeze everything out
And it was a long time ago: among car gourmets, the last day of the “epoch of the greats” is considered to be December 31, 2005, when the last of those engines, the Alfa Romeo V6 developed in the 1970s, was released, and three days later, 92 years old, its designer died , no less legendary Giuseppe Busso.
Geniuses in white shirts were replaced by inconspicuous engineers, and “talent dependence” in design was reduced to a minimum. Multibillion-dollar investments in research, new development techniques, leapfrogging progress in materials and production technologies have made cars incomparably better (see this one VIN check), although many times more expensive to develop.
But the more expensive the development, the greater the temptation (thanks, again, to new technologies) to make the design simpler and cheaper to produce. The simplest example is the suspension arms, which are now customary to do together with silent blocks, and not to press the latter, as before. A coveted savings of three kopecks for the manufacturer - and an additional few thousand 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 economy is aluminum cylinder blocks. They learned to count them in terms of rigidity without a margin and make castings much thinner and more complex than before. This gave a significant 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, like shown in this article VIN lookup free.
Further - more if the developers rely too much on electronics not in their computers, but on the machine itself. How long have you, reader, dirty your hands under the hood, checking the oil level? That's it: the oil dipstick is a thing of the past, giving way to a sensor in the motor and an indicator on the dashboard. And the sensor is not only not an absolutely reliable thing in itself, besides, it works in a very aggressive environment, but also the quality of the sensors is unstable. And in general, one hundred percent stability is a utopia. The result is oil starvation of the motor and its premature replacement or at least a major overhaul.
And these are just questions of economics. It's even more fun with environmental requirements: European politicians "biting the bit" compose 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 it, but the algorithms for “feeding” them with fuel are focused on a lean mixture, so that, God forbid, the engine does not eat too much, releasing gray smoke during regassing. On the contrary, you need to feed less than you need, and the smoke should go white, as during the election of the pope. And the fact that the unfortunate motor is not only dull, but also works all the time on the verge of overheating, which is very bad for a resource, well, legislators do not know this. Plus, in the name of ecology, engines are also hung with a bunch of systems and parts, each of which wants to break down (they have such a property, and the smaller the part, the more prone it is to breakage), suffering in an increasingly cramped and hot engine compartment: VIN decoder.
And the market, represented by the leadership of auto concerns, at this time demands “everyone, everything, immediately and more”: more power, more innovation and faster, until competitors wake up, there is no time to build up. Yes, and money for thorough resource tests, too. As a result, the conveyor gets products that hardly survive the warranty period. An example of “from the people” is the “robots” of VW, which suffered a lot of problems in the first years and pretty spoiled the reputation of the brand, and in the second generation they earned as they should.