Are Cars Designed to Break Down?

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Ru Chen
Updated on Apr 27, 2022 · 3 min read
Planned obsolescence is a strategy that revolves around designing products with a limited lifespan. With products becoming either nonfunctional or unfashionable after a planned period of time, consumers will be incentivized to buy something new. The car industry is rife with a long
of planned obsolescence, and it can affect
car insurance
rates too. 
Would automakers really want to build cars that break down by design?

Planned obsolescence in the automotive industry 

A very popular example of planned obsolescence is the Apple ecosystem. New iPhones are released frequently, break easily, and cannot be easily repaired.
The same thing happens to cars. Although, cars are usually built to last since you don’t want a car to break down and cause a car accident.
It’s just that companies want you to want the hottest, most advanced cars every year.
went over how you can trace planned obsolescence all the way back to 1924.
The president of General Motors decided that the company needed annual design changes for vehicles. That way, consumers would be encouraged to get replacements every single year.
GM called it dynamic obsolescence back then, but it was obviously planned obsolescence. The company saw great success, and very quickly other automakers followed suit to try to compete.
Smaller automakers who couldn’t manage to maintain the yearly expenses soon phased out.

Types of planned obsolescence in cars

Planning for obsolescence in today’s day and age has become harder, in a way. You can’t just recolor a vehicle and call it a day.
Consumers want the newest released cars to have more value. If a new model is just a rerelease with next to no upgrades, it probably won’t sell well. Car replacements are pricey, and it’s harder than ever to buy new cars as they hit
record-high prices
That’s why manufacturers need to employ careful and smart strategies so that they can make a profit and not take a hit to their reputation.
One strategy is to have constant restyling. Used cars and older cars are usually fine to drive. With a few chips and creaks here and there, their functionality is probably adequate. So companies have to market their newest car as the best there is.
Restyling includes actually improving each new model. Nice upgraded features, a better engine, a sleeker look—sprinkle on some hype and you can get yourself a hot-selling new vehicle every year.
Sometimes, the new car will have groundbreaking new upgrades, but this obviously can’t happen every year. Technology does need time to advance.
Another strategy is to make spare car parts rare. Manufacturers will likely not do this immediately after a car’s release, but over time they’ll phase out spare car parts indefinitely. If it’s too much trouble to repair an old car, people are more likely to buy a new one.
At the end of the day, knowing about planned obsolescence shouldn’t totally deter you from getting a car upgrade you want. Car upgrades are cool and desirable.
suggests that you should be aware of your financial situation and avoid making impulsive purchases. Whether you have a new car or an older car can affect how much your insurance costs, but this does depend on what coverage you need. 

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