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Thread: Is there a market for basic cars, appliances,etc?

  1. #1
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    Is there a market for basic cars, appliances,etc?

    I was reading the thread about the GE refrigerator which had a chip in the water filter that didnít work. We all hear that the car makers canít make cars because of a chip shortage. I have a washing machine with a menu Iíve never used. I have two cars , a 2015 Honda Pilot and a 2017 Nissan pickup, they both have buttons Iíve never used. I have tools for 20 years with variable speeds which Iíve never changed
    How about a washing machine the has one button, on/off. Or a car sold with no options , one color , one engine,a/c, auto trans,, etc. ( now that I think of it, didnít Henry Ford offer that)
    is there a market for basic stuff, no bells or whistles?
    ( Maybe this question should be in the ď you know your getting old whenĒ thread:
    Dennis

  2. #2
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    There is for me. If the computer manfuacturer stops supporting your computer it is because it is too old and technology has moved on. OK, fine. A computer costs what? $1k? When a car manufacturer stops supporting a part for your car what are you supposed to do? Buy another car? For what $20k? $30k? $68k? The $68k figure is listed for a reason. My truck is a 2016 Ford F350. It came with Ford Sync. On July 1, 2017 (yes, at most one year after it was built) Ford discontinued the Ford Sync service. I did not buy the truck in 2016 and new. I purchased it in 2018 used. So the fact that Ford discontinued the Sync service doesn't bother me. But what about the original owner and every other owner of 2016 Ford vehicles, they all just got a feature they paid good money for shut off with nothing they can do about it. I recently worked on a car where the brake line between the master cylinder and the ABS manifold rusted through. There are two lines. GM discontinued one but not the other. I ask service advisors and/or service techs at four different dealerships what they would do if I dropped the vehicle off and asked them to repair it. Two of them told me since the part were not available they would not be able to repair it. So yeah, for the smart people out there, there is a market for basic cars/appliances.

    As far as I can tell, my car only needs to have a few things:
    1. decent acceleration
    2. good gas mileage
    3. fog lights
    4. cruise control
    5. standard transmission
    (6. sunroof would be nice)

    They can keep all the rest of the "emmenties". I don't need ABS (I know how to actualy drive and not just make the car go down the road). I don't need TPMS. I don't need a built in GPS that I have to pay for updates or may break and cost tons of money to have repaired (smart phone + dash mount = GPS that I don't have to pay extra for current maps which I am gauranteed to be able to get). I don't need the extra expense of an automatic transmission. If the past 507k miles (257k on one car and 250k on this one), I have spent a whopping total of $7.95 of the transmission. That was because the CV boot joint died and I had to replace the axle (because they didn't make a repair boot that fit) and in doing so I lost a quart of gear oil which cost $7.95 to replace.

    As for applicances. I fear the same and similar things to the OP reference (GE water filter chip). What if GE stops making the water filter? Then what? Buy another new fridge? Everyone is so worried about the amount of trash being created and the manufacturers are one cause of it. Perhaps the fridge has a design flaw and the water line is routed too close to the freezer and freezes shut so the water dispenser won't work (I know two people that bought similar model Whirlpool fridges that had the same problem). Convienent, but what if it breaks? What if they don't make the parts for it any more? Too bad they don't have you-pull-it yards for applicances (LOL). Someone local tried to start one for lawn equipment. I liked the idea, but it didn't last long.

    These are valid things to consider during your major purcahses. So go basic and save yourself the headache in the long run.

  3. #3
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    I am starting to think seriously about making myself a utilitarian electric vehicle. Either an old VW, Isuzu Pup or Chevy Luv conversion, or something bicycle based. Street legal is big a challenge. It needs to have wind and rain protection, carry one adult, a dog, and some tools. with a range of 30 miles and a speed of 20 MPH or more.
    Mostly dreaming, and doing research.
    Best Regards, Maurice

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maurice Mcmurry View Post
    I am starting to think seriously about making myself a utilitarian electric vehicle. Either an old VW, Isuzu Pup or Chevy Luv conversion, or something bicycle based. Street legal is big a challenge. It needs to have wind and rain protection, carry one adult, a dog, and some tools. with a range of 30 miles and a speed of 20 MPH or more.
    Mostly dreaming, and doing research.
    The electrician who has done work for me is in the process of converting a Volkswagen Beetle to electric
    Dennis

  5. #5
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    My answer, sign me up, yes.

  6. #6
    Yes, within reason. I stated in another thread, I am philosophically opposed to ice makers, water at fridge door and garbage disposals. Most people think I’m crazy. I suspect on this forum many would agree that simpler is better in many ways.

    I am all for progress, but marketing ploys that make things complicated to a fault are making things and our lives way more complicted than they need to be.
    Last edited by Ron Citerone; 03-16-2022 at 9:22 AM.

  7. #7
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    A repairman told us once that we should never let go of our washer and dryer. He said that we had the last of the fully electro-mechanical machines and that anything newer would have electronics. We moved and let the machines go with the house. We have compact machines now that are heavily electronic. We pay $7/mo each for extended warranties. We pay the same for our fridge and range. I used to scoff at extended warranties but Iím a believer now.

    but count me in for a simpler car. My hope is that the electric ones will be simple.

  8. #8
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    We searched thoroughly for a non digital gas range back in 2002 and it was hard to find back then. In many ways our technology has out-paced our common sense. Grandma's neighbor made himself an electric car when my mom was little. I think it is still in the museum in Corydon Iowa. Those electric VWs sure are neat!
    Last edited by Maurice Mcmurry; 03-16-2022 at 9:55 AM.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  9. #9
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    Vehicle manufacturers often do offer "base" versions of many models, but there's limited demand for them. And even those really need to have current generation safety features which require some level of electronics. EVs will be "mechanically simpler", but obviously will be more complex electronically, even for base models.

    There are basic appliances available. There's a limited market for them, too, and a lot of that goes into low-end apartments and in "builder special" packages that often get upgraded by the folks actually buying a home.

    Personally, I like the bells and whistles...
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
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    I think the answer to this, like a lot of things, is it depends.

    I can't help noticing how many people want a simplier car, but then ask for good gas mileage. We'll ignore the issues with the complexity built into the ICE engine itself, and point out that one of the uses for chips on cars is good gas mileage, so there are trade offs. Not so sure I'd want electric seat heaters.....

    Also I have buttons on my 2016 car that I haven't used, starting with the trip tracker, and also the emergency blinkers.

    The reason they're there is that it's easier to just include them, same with power windows, power breaks.

    While it sound reasonable to have a "simplier" car for people who like that, the truth is that it's simplier for the manufacturer to build one model, or a couple of models that have more features and not have to track the additional skus. So simplier for whom? There's a reason why you can't get the "simplier" manual transmissions anymore, not enough demand. Also a lot of options that weren't standard have become so over time. Does anybody really want a car without a radio, ac, or an electric starter?

    @Maurice - what you've described is a golf cart. No joke, look it up, they're relatively cheap, and in demand for the uses you're talking about.

  11. #11
    As far as EVs go, I want all the features possible. I did some serious research on EVs about a year ago with the intention of buying one. My problem is that many of the non-Tesla EVs just don't have the features that I want yet. Tesla was just way ahead in the software development area. I don't know if I can remember all the features I was looking for but one was "Dog mode" which allows you to park the car and leave the air conditioning on (if you have to leave your dog in the car). Another was display of cars around you on the screen. I want to be able to look at the screen and see a representation of where all the cars are that are close to me. The cars have all these sensors for self driving so this should be easy to do.

    There were a few more features that I can't think of now. I had a list of features I want in priority order. After all this chip shortage settles down I'll go looking again. One thing I didn't like about the Tesla was that the ride was too harsh. They targeted the cars at performance driving and I want comfortable driving - a much smoother suspension. Jaguar had a good smooth ride but was way behind on software features.

    My problem was that too many of the cars were just too basic - just a replacement for an ICE car. There's so much you can do now that there's powerful processors in the car that I want to see the manufacturers go crazy with features. It's just software so it only adds to the development cost and not to the vehicle cost.

    Mike

    [The Tesla Dog mode was pretty sophisticated. You set how much battery you want to preserve and if it gets close to that level, it sends you a message on your smartphone. You don't want to run the car all the way down or you wouldn't be able to get home. The AC doesn't draw a lot of power, especially compared to moving the car.]
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 03-16-2022 at 1:24 PM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  12. #12
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    I think the other question is what are we trading simplicity for?

    Take GPS. It's a system that requires multiple satellites in orbit around the earth, synchronized via an atomic clock, and communicating with the ground via radio waves, which are received by the receiver which triangulates position, calculates it, and displays the results on a display made up of millions of little electronic dots. OR you could use a piece of paper. Yet GPS is often times the better approach, because the piece of paper forces a lot of complexity onto the user, including route planning, estimation of position, and errors in reading the piece of paper can be catastrophic.

    The piece of paper will work without electricity, or the satellites, but I don't see anybody selling paper maps anymore. If you ask anybody, they'll tell you the GPS is "simplier" to use.

  13. #13
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    I swapped an old 911 that met most of your requirements for a Tesla that also meets most of those requirements in different ways. Many aspects of the EV are simpler than a conventional ICE car - no transmission, virtually no brake maintenance etc. With a Tesla, the interior is more Spartan than any vehicle ever although some don't like the lack of conventional controls. It all works because Tesla is a thriving company however. If they went under the car wouldn't work so well.

    On the old 911 (964) it's interesting that resale value for non-turbo versions is inversely proportional to the number of features they're equipped with. The convertibles are worth the least and the highest value ones are complete 'strippers' that sold for the least originally - no AC, no sunroof, no armrests on the door, 2wd.

  14. #14
    the no-frills vehicle thing has been done--
    yugo.jpg
    'nuff said?
    Question: would you ever buy one?

    No frills appliances that work fine, no problem-
    wd.jpg

    And back to no-frills vehicles, the absolute King of them all (IMO):
    checker.jpg
    these things hardly changed from 1960 to 1982...
    Question: would you ever buy one?

    Like most other Americans, I like reasonably unique stuff, especially cars.
    And if it's not unique enough for me, I'll do something about it!
    When I inherited my mom's plainjane Stratus, I got busy with the vinyl cutter
    and got new wheels and tires, and voila-
    stratus.jpg
    -the only one like it (at least around here anyway) (my son's owned this car since 2015)

    There IS a market for inexpensive stuff that works, but flashy stuff seems to sell better...
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE- make that FOUR now - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew More View Post
    I think the other question is what are we trading simplicity for?

    Take GPS. It's a system that requires multiple satellites in orbit around the earth, synchronized via an atomic clock, and communicating with the ground via radio waves, which are received by the receiver which triangulates position, calculates it, and displays the results on a display made up of millions of little electronic dots. OR you could use a piece of paper. Yet GPS is often times the better approach, because the piece of paper forces a lot of complexity onto the user, including route planning, estimation of position, and errors in reading the piece of paper can be catastrophic.

    The piece of paper will work without electricity, or the satellites, but I don't see anybody selling paper maps anymore. If you ask anybody, they'll tell you the GPS is "simplier" to use.
    Two observations on GPS:
    1. Yeah, the paper map will work without electricity or the satellites. Problem is, a lot of the scenarios that make the electricity and satellites go away will also result in the car being pulled by a horse.
    2. I'm continually amazed by the number of people (not you, or hopefully anyone here) who think GPS was invented so they won't get lost on the way to Home Depot.

    Re paper maps: if you happen to live in southern California, the printed version of Thomas Guides is still available.
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