Disposable Cars

Most Saturdays I eavesdrop on my husband while he listens to Ed Wallace’s Wheels on KLIF. While I love cars, I don’t know a whole lot about them, so I pick up good tips from Wallace. His Backside of American History is pretty interesting, as well. This morning, a caller mentioned a Toyota sports car no longer on the market. The discussion turned to great little cars at $5,000 over production price and it made me recall my favorite little car: a Suzuki Esteem.

Built like a sports car for motorcyclists, the Esteem was my first standard transmission car. I fell in love with it instantly, and it was a sad day when we finally had to let it go for parts.

So much of our culture today is built around “disposable” products, it seems to me only common sense to design a “disposable” car; something small, affordable, efficient and yet appealing to the “sports car” mentality.

Car manufacturers, for the most part, really want customers to keep purchasing new cars on a regular basis; however, most cars are so expensive due to manufacturing and labor costs that a family tends to keep a family car for 10-15 years if possible. Wouldn’t it make more sense to churn out disposable cars at low prices which could be replaced every five years?

Unrealistic and impossible? Maybe. Perhaps we just aren’t willing to appeal to the unreached market segments of society. After all, it’s more profitable to put money into research for improving “sure thing” products. New ideas are risky and costly: the polio vaccine, the Oregon Trail, the Space Race, portable radios, personal computers, etc.

Maybe it’s time for some new blood in the automotive market, and maybe it’s time some entrepreneurs backed those new ideas.


Posted on 2014/09/27, in The Way Things Are and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I’ve bought some cars so far into their lifespan that they were disposable. I also kept a Triumph Spitfire for over 30 years – until the repair/restore cost exceeded original price by more than 100%. The idea of a new, cheap, fun car is appealing.

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