Weblog – Counterfeiters

Weblog – Counterfeiters

Car manufacturers are like lemmings. Best example and, in my opinion, worst excess is the dynamic turn signal. Since Audi started, the fence has been closed. With the few exceptions such as Porsche and BMW, everyone from Jaguar to Peugeot took over the trick. Even the fossil Mondeo and a breeding trailer I caught on those horribly moving LED strings.

What a sad meeting that must have been, when the Boards decided to follow the trend. Such a symbol of redundancy shows how insecure manufacturers are. They see the consumer as the gadget-addicted herd animal that should not go wrong. The fear of missing the boat is immense. So they all do pretty much the same thing in the same style.

Thus, the life of a motoring journalist became a perpetual Groundhog Day. Rarely do you come across a technological surprise that contributes slightly more to safety and well-being than even bigger screens, even more behaviorally disturbed safety assistants, even more mood lighting, even more LED trim in the intimidating fighter’s noses. Rare that wow feeling of the brilliant find that you will not encounter with anyone else. Innovation progress? Well no? Imitation. Conformism is dripping from the configurators. These days I go from one coupé SUV to another and all those cars are practically the same except for the logos.

Manufacturers have condemned themselves and each other to hopeless copying behaviour. Nobody dares to really break the pattern. So you come across less and less interesting outsiders on the market, cars that arise from an uncompromisingly elaborated and relevant idea. The commercial risk is probably considered too great. I have two compelling proofs at my doorstep; the Audi A2 and BMW i3. Precisely because those waterless cars embodied intelligent and valid mobility and sustainability scenarios, and thus became too idiosyncratic and expensive, they were condemned to the margins. A disruptive company only avoids that fate with exceptional added value or with stunt prices. Tesla created a Spartan interior architecture that turned everything upside down and sometimes left it rough when it comes to finishing level, but did build EVs with unbeatable stamina and a network of super-fast chargers – and the Dutch state did the rest with the addition regime. Dacias didn’t look good, but cost nothing – cash register.

Last week, in the umpteenth suv coupe that drove just as superbly dull as its technically identical brethren from the same house, I wondered what I have right to complain about in the car range now that the general standard is so high. So this; the total lack of fun whimsy, of interesting creative finds. Every time I die a little bit, when I see the dynamic tell-tales of my test car in front of the traffic light in a glass facade in the evening.

While there is so much work to be done. The most necessary step for car manufacturers is reduction; of size and weight, of technical means. You could significantly strip the electrical facilities of EVs for the sake of energy consumption. No more big screens, no more electric windows, mirrors and seats; none of this is easier by hand and your smartphone can do everything better than the multimedia fossils of the industry. Click it in a holder, done. You have to get rid of those steel masses. Create views and transparency with glass, so you can park with your own senses again instead of a camera. You also make bodies and especially wheels smaller, because those huge wheel arches for 20 inches and more eat up valuable space. On such an electric platform with all the technology under the floor, you can then conjure ergonomically with layout and space like never before.

Does this budding process have a chance of success commercially? Are people going to spend money on debloated cars on 14 inch wheels? Tricky business. Saving weight means working with expensive materials – aluminum, carbon, plastic – and therefore high prices. Then buyers want widescreen touchscreens and fat light metal for their good money. And design only has a chance if it colors within the fashion lines. That didn’t work with the A2 and the i3 either. Form follows function now means alas; very different from the fashion norm, although it is as unsightly as the average coupe-suv.

That is also why I am incredibly curious about what that weird solar cigar from Lightyear will do on the market. That will be a long slouch with no visible competitive ambitions. The car becomes a test case for the common sense, at least for those who can afford the one and a half tons. And the answer to the key question: do people eat logic? Currently alone with all the trimmings. And dynamic turn signals. But I hope the tide turns.

– Thanks for information from Autoweek.nl

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