Durability versus Technology? Do we need to make a choice?
Many of the most prestigious brands in the automotive industry have built a reputation on reliability and durability. However, today, we seem to be immersed in a constant race to get the newest version available to us at the quickest pace possible.
Better, faster, stronger
This quest for constant innovation brought us a broad spectrum of advantages. For a start, it has definitely made our cars more comfortable, allowing us a fully customized and luxurious experience. Moreover, driving has become safer thanks to the incorporation of safety belts, airbags, break assistance, and many more features. Even when it comes to the environmental impact, car manufacturers have taken numerous of (obligatory) actions in order to reduce their footprint. And these are just a few of the many drivers towards innovation within the industry.
A car as part of your family history
If we compare today’s cars with those of half a century ago, the criteria of what makes a car good or bad are completely different. Back then, cars were meant to be your life companion taking you to places during your entire life. It would know every detail of your family history, from being single to getting married to getting kids. If all went well, you would pass it over to your kids to enjoy the journey of life with your car. What a difference with today, if you would know the life expectancy of today’s cars is between 5-8 years.
Return on Investment?
For today’s average consumer, a car remains an important investment. Depending on the model and manufacturer, prices for a brand new passenger car in Europe have oscillated between €25.500 – for a compact – and €38.000 for more luxury models in 2018. For that reason these investments seem to become difficult to make keeping in mind the ‘short life’ those vehicles might have.
According to Drilon Kllokoqi, Mechanical engineer of the University of Antwerp, “the innovations to the engine are meant to improve its efficiency, control the combustion process and/or increase the drivers comfort. To achieve these purposes, it is not uncommon that there will be subsystems added that will have to withstand highly dynamic loading environments. This will result in the more rapid wearing of these subsystems”.
So chances are there that car manufacturers will have to compensate on the life expectancy of a car, in order to meet all our requirements when it comes to comfort, safety and ecology. Wouldn’t that be contradictory?