Chrysler 300C & SRT8 Forums banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
OK, so I hate to ask, but has anyone else noticed a curious change (or lack thereof) in features on cars? Normally, once something is invented it gets cheaper by increasing volume. 5 years ago a HiFi VHS VCR would have cost about $400, now they're about $100 (if you can find one!) CD burners have gone from $4000 to $40.

My mom's 1986 Coupe DeVille had a nifty feature where you just push the trunk down a bit and latch the mechanism that automatically pulls the trunk closed. You can still get that...by choking up $40k+ for a DeVille! I'd have thought that would be standard on the cheapest Ford Focus by now.

Likewise I hadn't seen any car where the front part of the seat pulls forward to support your thighs since my dad's '86 TBird. Until I rode in my friend's 328.

Do the power seats with memory have some expensive sensor the regular power seats lack? Is there some reason why the lesser 300s have to get by without the automatic climate control? It can't possibly cost that much more. I'm getting pretty sick of the automotive caste system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
357 Posts
Content of new cars is all about balance. Manufacturers want to be able to advertise a long list of standard features, but they make much more profit on optional accessories, so they spend a lot of time and effort on market research, to see what buyers want, what they'll do without, and more importantly, what they will pay the most for.

For example, they learned decades ago that nobody without a country club membership cares about automatic trunk closers, and that most of us feel that they just add weight, complication and expense, all of which are significant issues to the manufacturer as well.

Maximizing profit and upselling are also why we have so many popular features and options today that don't make a lot of sense. For example, pushbutton start. Who asked for that? What focus group participant looked at a new car and said, "Well, it's nice and all, but it's so hard to start and stop the engine. I mean, I know the key is right there, in the most convenient possible spot, and I only have to give it a quick flip with my wrist. But sometimes I reach for the key, and my hand kind of...veers off, and I miss the key. It sure would be nice to have some kind of huge button, like the one in my grandfather's first car, only on the dashboard instead of the floor." And regardless of who said it, why didn't the marketing team just have a good chuckle, and move on?

The same with automatic climate control. Who asked for that? Even if your journey is going to take you through a change of seasons, the simplest manual climate controls are more than adequate. Who was it that first said, "Oh man, I'm feeling cold. I'd like to reach over and nudge that temperature knob, but it's just too much trouble. If only my simple and totally reliable cable-operated heat and A/C controls could be replaced by a network of sensors, microprocessors, and solenoids so complicated that it would sometimes act like it has a mind of its own, and maybe wind up with me at the dealer service department, being told, 'It's not doing it now, sorry. That'll be $145 for diagnostics.' That would be awesome!"

In terms of decontenting, that often has very little to do with manufacturing cost. Usually, it's more about pushing buyers into more expensive models and costly option packages. Manufacturers have learned that buyers perceive things like automatic climate control and memory seats as adding significant value. So they put manual climate control and non-memory seats in lower models so that they can say, "Air conditioning and power seats come standard!", but when someone comes to the showroom and says, "Aw, I really wanted automatic climate controls and memory seats", the dealer can say, "No problem, just step up to the Plus model for a mere $5,000 more. You'll even get pushbutton start!"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Yeah I kinda liked that trunk closing thing that GM cars did for a while. That seat adjustment bit is common in semi trucks, haven't seen it much in cars though.

Carl, FWIW I actually both like and see utility in both the push button start and automatic climate control. Though more the former then latter.

There's a bunch of seat features I'd like to see more of. Some BMWs had a seat back that hinges in the middle to adjust posture. Some old(50s) dodges had front seats that turned out. The seat pivoted out over the door jamb. I also much prefer when the seat belts are attached to the seat back like GM did for a while. Some column stuff as well, 60s T-birds had a steering column that moved to the right almost to the center of the car. I also miss headlight covers like on 60s Rivieras, as well as 2 door wagons/suvs and tailgates on wagons/suvs.

Ohh and BTW there's actually been some decontenting in the 300. My loaded 14 has a couple features that in later years wasn't even available as an option. Obviously the 5.7/AWD combo but also memory power adjust pedals and steering headlights. Also in the US 2011+ cars lost the headlight squirters.
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top