- 22 Mar 2022
- Reaction score
Utterly agree about the replace not repair attitude. Some of the computerization of cars is necessary and useful, a lot is just there to put a tick in the box, JD Powers ran an interesting survey recently showing how unused some "necessary" features are. Working in the industry I get to see some of the customer feedback surveys and it still amazes me how many people pay extra for features they either don't understand, don't use or even later claim not to have while the car has to lug it all around till it gets to the scrap yard. Some of it is also just a con. I won't name the vehicle or the company and it was quite some time ago but I once worked on a car where buying the "sport" version got you a chrome ring on the gear stick, two more on the front door cards and a rubber mat in one of the cubbyholes all for a mere £1000. That was it, no engine mods, no suspension mods but it sold.
Just to return to the original topic of the thread for a moment, once I'd decided that my initial career as a lawyer really wasn't for me I was lucky enough to get into computing and eventually became a technical manager in a large, and now deservedly-defunct, computer organisation. We had a range of machines (this was well before the days of PCs) costing many thousands of pounds, some of them being upgradeable. However the major upgrades were very expensive and the usual upgrade path was for us to buy back the old machine, which had usually already been upgraded as far as it could go, and sell the unsuspecting punter a factory-refurbished unit higher in the range; this would be delivered to them and then a couple of engineers would spend a day or two "commissioning and installing" it.
I say "unsuspecting" because what the customers didn't know was that the new refurb was actually exactly the same as their old one - the only difference being that a compiler for a different language had been installed (about a ten minute job) and a DIP switch had been flicked in the bowels of the beast. The refurbishment involved vacuuming the insides and respraying the case, and the reason for selling them a refurb was that the profit margin was much higher than that of a new machine, as we were basically just selling them someone else's old machine in a never-ending circle. I did suggest to Sales & Marketing that we could just take their old machine away in the evening, "refurb" it overnight and return it the next morning (or a day or two later) as a different machine but they didn't want to lose the extra profit made from the two days that it ostensibly took for the engineers to carry out their on-site pantomime...