The millionth reason to NEVER buy "your" next car

At least if it’s a new one.

Operating costs, pollution, countless hours spent in traffic or hunting for parking spots, driving getting less glamourous every year… for hundreds of millions of people there are already LOTS of reason to stop owning a car, or to never do it if they are young. This year, another reason is getting closer: car companies hoping to make billions by charging monthly fees for add-on features like heated seats, that they could turn on or off remotely, depending on your payments:

The millionth reason to NEVER buy "your" next car /img/stupid-car-rental-model.jpg

Yes, that’s the millionth reason. The fact that your car would not be your car anymore, because it has pieces that are, for all practical purpose, RENTED. And rented in the worst way, because you can’t get rid of the those parts if you don’t want to pay for them anymore, and for all the reasons below.

What this “business model” really is

Smart, it is not: for car “owners”, this is almost like renting a bulky drawer for your living room of your house, everything paid with your money, but knowing that it cannot be given away to free space if you get tired of it. Unless you sell the whole house, of course. More on this below.

Privacy-wise, it is a nightmare: no matter how the carmakers put it, all this centralized activation and deactivation of stuff is more profiling of your life, more accumulation of data that may be misused, when they should have never existed in the first place.

Reliability-wise, it is another nightmare: this is very easy to see with heated seats, but true for any other “rented” feature, in principle.

What if, maybe after enough months that you had already abundantly paid the actual full cost of those heated seats, they are switched off in the middle of a winter drive because this month, and this month only, you don’t have those extra few bucks? And what if you pay, but there is no connectivity to reactivate them right away, even if it’s freezing outside?

Payments aside, all this “renting” means adding more stuff that may break. There is no way to get around that. If some remote server, or some equally remote, likely underpaid subcontractor must be able to turn them on and off, those seats MUST have more parts. But only what is not there will not break.

Environment-wise, is one more nightmare: carmakers say that this approach “can also allow them to streamline manufacturing by building cars to more uniform specifications”. Huh?

If the features must be controllable remotely, “uniform specifications” means placing on EVERY model all the features the carmaker may rent, even if they will never be used on all cars. It means, that is, placing in every car even more highly polluting chips and other raw materials, that unlike other parts may literally never be used. Sure it is a small contribution to the overall pollution of a modern car, but unlike the rest, it’s totally unnecessary.

“The advantage is CLEAR”. Whether it’s REAL, is another matter

That article says that for carmakers, “the advantage of this model is clear. Not only do they get a stream of recurring revenue for years after an initial purchase, they can hope to maintain a longer-term relationship with the customer and build brand loyalty”.

Get it? In and by itself, brand loyalty can be a very positive thing, for all parties involved. That’s OK. But here we have carmakers who hope to just lock in people, sorry: “build brand loyalty” by:

  • dumping on customers all the nightmares above…
  • and making them pay more, possibly much more for them (because what else could “stream of recurring revenue for years after an initial purchase” mean, in the great majority of cases?)

And you still own stocks of car companies???

I’ve been saying for years, for example here, that carmaker stocks don’t seem a smart investment to me. This “approach” just strengthens that feeling. It makes one pray that electric cars will become unaffordable for the masses, as the Stellantis CEO fears, well before this stupidity takes hold.

In any case, I do hope this “business model” epically explodes in their faces. And if you still own any car as reliable and scam-free like this:

The millionth reason to NEVER buy "your" next car /img/fiat-panda-1980.jpg

hold it dearly, as it looks every year more that the smartest car you may ever own could be something old like that, just electrified.