Home » Here Are The Car Companies That Bank Of America Thinks Are Winning And Losing The EV Wars

Here Are The Car Companies That Bank Of America Thinks Are Winning And Losing The EV Wars

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What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago, at the Old Lightning Site, Matt and I spent a considerable amount of internet ink tracking public investments into “green loans” for goofy shit like Solyndra and an inflatable car. Now it’s 2023 and Ford’s getting a huge, huge loan to build battery factories in America in a gigantic electric push, as if the “green” promises made after the Great Recession are having a kind of New Industrial Revolution moment. But expect a lot of chaos along the way, a new report tells us.

A very happy Friday to you all, Autopians. Also on tap as we close out the week: J.D. Power has strong words over “vehicle quality,” traffic deaths are down in America and, yes, the new cars are overly expensive to fix. Let’s get started.

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Vidframe Min Bottom

Tesla, Ford Still Poised To Lead America’s EV Race—For Now

Mach E Premium Cropped

One topic of conversation this week has been us wondering just how serious—I mean, really serious—the automakers are about transitioning to electric vehicles. Oh, they’ll say they’re all-in on EVs, but behind the scenes, they have backup plans in case that doesn’t work out; varying levels of reluctance and displeasure about the changes coming; and will likely finance it by selling gas trucks and SUVs for a long time.

Can you blame them? This transformation we’re seeing is the biggest shift the business has seen since the creation of the assembly line. It’d be a lot easier to just not do any of that. In the meantime, we as consumers can expect a good amount of chaos—and plenty of winners and losers.

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That’s part of what’s covered in Bank of America Securities’ Annual Car Wars Report, which this time focuses on 2024-2027. (Note: I’m still trying to get a copy of this report myself, so what you’re about to read is pieced together from other news reports. If I get it and anything’s noteworthy, I’ll update this post.)

First off, the report predicts Tesla will keep its EV lead for the next few years, leaving General Motors and Ford to fight for second place. That’s a shift from previous years, Bloomberg reports:

The forecast marks a shift after Murphy said last year that Tesla was likely to be overtaken by Ford and GM in 2025. The landscape has changed due to Tesla’s price cuts, the latest report said. Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has been willing to take lower profits as he reduces prices to keep market share.

With affordability an increasingly important factor in wider EV adoption, Tesla is in line to protect its market-leading position through additional price reductions and new models. The report predicts the company will launch a new, low-priced vehicle in 2026 and a revamped Model 3 the following year.

BofA’s analysts say Tesla cut prices much more than they anticipated, and this buys the company some breathing room before it needs to launch new cars (that are presumably more mainstream than the Cybertruck) in 2026. Personally, I’m not sure I agree; I’ve said this before but I think Tesla’s greatest weakness is its ability to launch new products. Can price cuts carry the Model 3 and Model Y another three years, and probably become most people’s first EV?

Over at the Detroit Free Press, they frame the report around what it means for the home team: GM, Ford, and American-Italian-Franco-Dutch conglomerate Stellantis. And it focuses on “replacement rate:” the percentage of the automaker’s sales volume to be replaced with new or next-generation models, which in this case would probably mean at least some gas cars getting replaced by EVs.

According to the Freep, the report puts Ford in the lead, GM in the middle and Stellantis in the back with regard to replacement rate. Coming in last means a lineup of older cars that could drive buyers to fresher competitors:

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“We believe replacement rate drives showroom age, which drives market share, which in turn drives profits, and ultimately stock prices,” the BofA Global Research report says.

And while it forecasts a competitive stretch that could challenge profits in some cases, the report also shows a silver lining for the industry in terms of U.S. auto sales, projecting “a relatively steep increase” from 14.3 million vehicles in 2023 to a new peak in the auto cycle at about 18 million by 2028.

Before then, however, the industry will be in a bit of scramble.

“The challenging macro and shifting powertrain strategies are wreaking havoc on product planning. There is a significant acceleration of EV launches, greater uncertainty around new (internal combustion engine) launches, and likely more last-minute product cancellations. The next four-plus years could be some of the most uncertain and volatile for product strategy ever,” the report says.

Emphasis mine up top. In layman’s terms, this means the automakers are probably going to spend the next five years or so really figuring out what the hell’s going on, where the actual product demand is, and shifting plans at the last minute—something this industry isn’t always built to do. Think about it: EV demand is going to depend on so many factors, including battery development, manufacturing costs and charging infrastructure rollout.

More on this if we get it.

JD Power Throws Punches Over Tech, ‘Quality’

Bronco Sport Infotainment

“Car Quality Is Getting Worse,” the headlines proclaim on the heels of a new J.D. Power Initial Quality Study report. But is it really? Are these manufacturing/mechanical quality and reliability issues, or software-related problems? I’ve always considered them to be separate things; you can have a very reliable, well-built car with an annoying and broken infotainment system. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe that distinction doesn’t matter anymore and customers consider those things to be the same. After all, it’s the sum total of their user experience that matters most.

Turns out, it’s a mix of both. Here’s Insider to walk us through the study, which is based on 93,000 survey responses from new owners:

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Quality declined year over year across all categories apart from driving experience. The two categories where problems increased the most were features, controls, and displays, along with infotainment.

Door handles, historically a non-issue, have become increasingly problematic, according to the study. They’re particularly troublesome in electric vehicles, the study said.

Quit messing with the damn door handles, car companies! Some things don’t need to be rethought!

Some drivers reported that wireless charging pads frequently overheated and sometimes wouldn’t deliver a charge.

Oh yeah, actually. I drive new cars for work all of the time and the charging pads never work right; they’ve cooked my phone a few times, too.

They also experienced issues with safety systems like lane-keeping assistance and forward-collision warning.

New cars, even bargain-bin models, have more technology baked into them than ever before. Large touchscreens and advanced driver-assistance technology like blind-spot monitoring are becoming the norm in the auto industry.

Basically, you’re now getting what used to be luxury-car problems on more “affordable” vehicles, which used to be much simpler all around.

What a weird world we’re in, too. Of the brands surveyed, Dodge, Ram and Alfa Romeo (????) had the fewest owner complaints; Toyota and Lexus were pretty mid-pack; and Tesla and Polestar ranked at the very bottom. I’m not sure I buy the Alfa report, but sure, whatever.

Traffic Deaths Down So Far In 2023

Miami Traffic Jam, I 95 North Rush Hour
Photo credit: B137 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Now, here’s some good news: at least for the first three months of this year, traffic fatalities in America are down after spiking during the worst of the pandemic—even though we’re actually driving more since 2020. Here’s Automotive News:

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The agency estimated 9,330 people died in vehicle crashes in the first three months of the year, down 3.3 percent from the 9,645 fatalities reported during the same period in 2022. The decrease occurred alongside a 2.6 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled.

The first-quarter data marks the fourth-straight quarterly decline in traffic deaths after seven consecutive quarters of increases that started in the third quarter of 2020.

“This is very good news, but we know that far too many people are dying on our roadways in preventable crashes,” Ann Carlson, NHTSA’s chief counsel, said in a statement. “We are taking significant action to reduce traffic fatalities, including moving forward on new vehicle standards to make cars even safer, investing millions of dollars to improve infrastructure and roadway safety, and working with our state and local partners to help drivers make safe decisions on the road.”

What I don’t see in the report is a breakdown of who died in these crashes: drivers, passengers, pedestrians or cyclists. The last few years have been especially brutal for the last two groups. While modern cars have gotten much safer, they are also bigger and heavier, and it may be more dangerous than ever to be outside of a car these days. Still, any downward trend is good news.

Yes, Car Repairs Are Getting Absurdly Expensive

Rivianwreck1

That crazy story we did on the $42,000 Rivian R1T repair may be a preview of what our collective future looks like, Bloomberg reports, looking at the sky-high costs involved these days:

In the UK, the cost of vehicle repairs paid for by insurers jumped by one third in the first quarter; Direct Line Insurance Group Plc warned last month that adverse damage claims would continue to pressure earnings this year. No wonder UK car insurance costs jumped by a staggering 43% year-on-year in May, according to official inflation data published this week.

In the US, car repair prices are increasing at a 20% annual rate, or around five times the overall rate of inflation. One of the better performing auto insurers, Progressive Corp., last month blamed higher than anticipated costs to fix cars for a deterioration in its underwriting performance, adding it would be “aggressive” in raising customer premiums.

Auto electronics may also require diagnostic scans and recalibration following a crash, adding several hundred dollars to repair bills. “It’s not just inflation, it’s really the average repair today has more labor hours on it and likely more calibration on it than an average repair did even two years ago,” Tim O’Day, the chief executive officer of Canadian collision repair chain Boyd Group Services Inc., told investors last month.

The answer is very simple: if you own a car, never crash it into anything. And make sure it never gets damaged, ever. Especially make sure nobody ever crashes into you, either.

Your Turn

What’s the most annoying or most expensive “quality” issue you’ve ever dealt with on a newer car, tech-related or otherwise? Besides an R56 Mini Cooper S with a CEL that would check in on me every few weeks like an old friend, I’ve been mostly fortunate in this regard. But I’ve driven plenty of new cars with weird issues, including one that lost power on the freeway and had its infotainment system shut off repeatedly during driving.

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It was an Alfa Romeo if you’re curious.

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Trenton Abernathy
Trenton Abernathy
11 months ago

Car issues on a relatively modern car? My 2016 Tiguan had an infotainment system that liked to just not turn on sometimes (but it’s infotainment, so I fully expect issues). I upgraded to a 2017 WRX and to be honest, I haven’t had many issues. It lacks driver assistance features (sensors and stuff), no CVT to act up, and I replaced the head unit, so I can’t comment there. I’m not a fan of lane assist anyway, and the lack of Subaru’s unique driver assistance system doesn’t impact me much.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
11 months ago

What’s wrong with regular door handles? The new EV type door handles are fucking stupid.

Ben
Ben
11 months ago

I’ve always considered them to be separate things; you can have a very reliable, well-built car with an annoying and broken infotainment system.

Not anymore you can’t. With everything but the kitchen sink moving to infotainment screens a problem with that could turn your car into a very expensive, very large brick. And the infotainment screen will fail at some point because it’s all software based and almost all software is garbage (I say this as a software developer).

Problems with infotainment are also a safety hazard IMHO. When I got my first vehicle with a touchscreen, on an early drive I needed to quickly turn on the defrost due to a very sudden change in weather. I hit the climate button on the screen…waited…waited…waited…suddenly realized I was drifting over the centerline…corrected my course…looked back and the screen had finally flipped to climate so I could turn on the defrost. I’m damn lucky I didn’t kill someone because the shitty user interface was so distracting. And you can’t say I shouldn’t have been using the screen while driving because their decision to put climate controls on the screen forced me to if I wanted to see out the windshield.

Yes, touchscreens in cars do piss me off royally. Why do you ask? 😉

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
11 months ago

Brakes on a 95 Tbird. Replacements every 3 months until the warranty ran out when suddenly it was not covered due to a defect. Forced Ford to fix it, then traded the car across the street.

Harmanx
Harmanx
11 months ago

Can price cuts carry the Model 3 and Model Y another three years, and probably become most people’s first EV?” They already are most people’s first EVs.

Methane generator
Methane generator
11 months ago
Reply to  Harmanx

It depends how you define “EV”. As a proportion of BEV owners, sure. As a proportion of PHEV owners, nope. As a proportion of all types of EV, parallel HEV included, not even a blip.

Gubbin
Gubbin
11 months ago

(Note: I’m still trying to get a copy of this report myself, so what you’re about to read is pieced together from other news reports. If I get it and anything’s noteworthy, I’ll update this post.)

You want the BOFA report? I think I can get you a report on BOFA…

Parsko
Parsko
11 months ago

~2012

Probably the newest car I will own for a long time, for all the reasons mentioned above. My ’12 Caddy is pretty much the last of the old. I think ’14 was when they switched to all this new stuff in cars, and mandated. NOPE, no thanks.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
11 months ago
Reply to  Parsko

I like stuff about a decade older. In 2012 you still have TPMS, side airbags, and a whole lot of other things to go wrong that my 90s cars just won’t have an issue with.

Pit-Smoked Clutch
Pit-Smoked Clutch
11 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

More and better airbag systems (and other safety advances) are one of the very few things that make me want a newer car. They can keep the TPMS, (most implementations of) throttle by wire, telematics, lane keep assist, and electronic warfare suite.

Droid
Droid
11 months ago

takata airbag recall – 2015

Pedro
Pedro
11 months ago

Tesla sold around 400 – 450,000 EVs in the US last year. Ford sold 40,000 Mustangs, though it is number 2 in US EV sales. Globally Ford’s output is about 3 weeks of Tesla’s production. This is the scale of inequity we are talking about.

While I agree there are systemic problems with Tesla’s production of new vehicles (no modular platform, Musk’s 10 year old maturity in car design wishes etc..)., it doesn’t seem to slow them down. The Model Y is the best selling car in the world.

And while musk’s interferences are annoying, the manufacturing prowess and advanced processes make up for it. Apart from BYD, Tesla is the only manufacturer who makes money from EV sales. The ICE subsidy not only cuts legacy profits, and influences poor management decisions, it will not last very long. That’s about the time they go in for another huge batch of tax payer money, while dissing workers.

And of course there is the energy side of things. It grew some 360% last year, and 2 new factories will be producing mega packs. And, yes, the charging infrastructure: In the US, they did it, and no-one else is really trying.

So Musk the person, is arguably a POS, but Tesla the company has far more than a “few years” head start. The talk of market share is a red herring when some 95% of the market is unexploited. Tesla is primed for the IRA and Infrastructure Act. The gulf, in America is vast, what happens in China is the key, and in both Europe and China, Tesla competes very well.

Last edited 11 months ago by Pedro
Brian Ash
Brian Ash
11 months ago
Reply to  Pedro

Tesla is more than a few years ahead in only one thing, getting a bunch of suckers to overpay for a POS EV. EVs are not complicated, Build a battery from 1000s of cells, stick a motor or two on each axel, hit go. Their autopilot software may be further than others but that’s because they have almost a million beta users on the road and all the data is captured and they pay people minimum wage to review the data and program the system accordingly. Any manufacturer “behind” is by choice not because of Tesla, because lets wait for the govt to keep throwing us money to ramp up while we can still print money selling ICE trucks & SUVs. Tesla is only ahead on market share because they were the only one focused on EVs for a long time, it was trendy and cool to have a Tesla. If all the popular chic looking Chinese EVs were here tomorrow, the biggest loser would be Tesla cause all the lemmings would stop buying Tesla’s for the new cool thing no one else has.

Angrycat Meowmeow
Angrycat Meowmeow
11 months ago
Reply to  Pedro

I honestly don’t know if these surveys look at “problems” that actually require part replacements or updates, but I firmly believe a lot of this is the elderly/less tech savvy among us getting in a brand new car and just not understanding how it works, and not bothering to read the manual (go into any car sub on reddit and be buried in a sea of “what’s this light/button mean?” posts).

Old person buys Tesla, entire car is an iPad
Old person can’t figure out how to adjust the volume
Old person reports a “problem”

Is the infotainment system “annoying and broken”, or did you just not read the manual?

Methane generator
Methane generator
11 months ago

I think it’s more like a multitude of similar problems in a bad UX compound to produce an error report which is then mischaracterized as “they couldn’t find the volume buttons lol”. If it’s even that accurate.

People who can, do. People who can’t, teach. People who get shit wrong every single time, work on helpdesk.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
11 months ago

The main difference is that until recently, you didn’t need to read the manual.

Frankencamry
Frankencamry
11 months ago
Reply to  Pedro

The Toyota Corolla would like a word.

Yes, I saw the breathless headlines that the Y won the 1st quarter, but I also saw that it managed to only include half the markets of the last annual report. Amazingly, it included every market the Y is sold in, but not every one the Corolla is sold in. Lets all contemplate how that might impact the result, shall we?

Chris with bad opinions
Chris with bad opinions
11 months ago
Reply to  Pedro

“So Musk the person, is arguably a POS,”

There is no arguing. Musk is absolutely a Piece of Shit.

EXL500
EXL500
11 months ago
Reply to  Pedro

I cannot in good conscience buy anything that gives Musk money, and, sadly, I wish I could due to the product, however flawed.

Der Foo
Der Foo
11 months ago

Besides my wife’s ’17 Pilot having expensive bits blowing up, the smartphone connectivity in Honda’s latest cars is iffy.

The overall fit and finish on Honda’s latest products is worse than on their 2015 – 2020 products.

Fuzzyweis
Fuzzyweis
11 months ago

I think it’d be cool to see a new model from Tesla, but they are still at least on par with new EVs if not still a little ahead from a performance/software standpoint. Helps to start with infotainment processors so powerful they need to use the car’s cooling circuit.

And I hope by now all the gigapresses and not really updating the car’s looks in 6 years would give them something back as far as cost.

The Cybertruck is a fiasco and they should just come out with a Ute Model X that only comes in metallic gray and be like, here’s the Cybertruck, you’re welcome.

As for the other’s catching up, Ford’s taking loans, and GM is killing off their only mass production EV before coming out with another, so are they really going to catch up?

I haven’t had enough new cars to comment on the question, only actual new car I purchased did end up having paint flaking off within 3 years, but that was the 90s so was the style at the time.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
11 months ago

(Note: I’m still trying to get a copy of this report myself, so what you’re about to read is pieced together from other news reports. If I get it and anything’s noteworthy, I’ll update this post.)

Don’t count on it; this is a paid research product from BofA securities. And what the other press is reporting is just the not-fully-public media briefing. An example of the prior media briefing is here. (PDF)

Basically, you can’t draw a lot of conclusions from the media briefing version. And the actual report itself is probably tens of thousands of dollars.

What a weird world we’re in, too. Of the brands surveyed, Dodge, Ram and Alfa Romeo (????) had the fewest owner complaints; Toyota and Lexus were pretty mid-pack; and Tesla and Polestar ranked at the very bottom. I’m not sure I buy the Alfa report, but sure, whatever.

Tesla and Polestar at the bottom doesn’t surprise; nor does Dodge, Ram, and Alfa being at the top of the pack. All of these cars are using mature parts and Uconnect, which is an extremely mature system that has deliberately remained extremely consistent and responsive to UX issues.
Consequently? The hardware doesn’t break, the software doesn’t break, and customers going from a 2013 to a 2023 already know the system. They’re also the only company smart enough to actually not only prioritize software development, but to prioritize doing software development correctly. (Except the subscription bullshit. Everyone can fuck all the way off with that.)

Oh yeah, actually. I drive new cars for work all of the time and the charging pads never work right; they’ve cooked my phone a few times, too.

I.. just.. FUCKING HOW?! I am not an EE and I have, from scratch, implemented Qi chargers multiple times! (Using reference designs still counts, people. It’s not just connecting wires.) Yes, sticking your phone on a charger in full sun is going to overheat it. But not working right at all?!
I had a budget of $75. How the fuck does someone with a budget of $7M get such a basic thing so wrong repeatedly?!

No wonder UK car insurance costs jumped by a staggering 43% year-on-year in May, according to official inflation data published this week.

This has nothing to do with the cost to repair cars in the UK. Period. It’s everything to do with the Brexit bullshit and the Tories. All of that 43% is directly attributable to those assholes. Period. Especially since they can’t even get parts in to fix the cars.

One of the better performing auto insurers, Progressive Corp., last month blamed higher than anticipated costs to fix cars for a deterioration in its underwriting performance, adding it would be “aggressive” in raising customer premiums.

I got words for Progressive, especially since they’re local. And I know their compensation structures. So let me put it this way: if you’re insured with them, start getting quotes now. Because your rates are about to go up 50% or more, and they’re going to fight every claim 10 times harder than they already do.

“It’s not just inflation, it’s really the average repair today has more labor hours on it and likely more calibration on it than an average repair did even two years ago,” Tim O’Day, the chief executive officer of Canadian collision repair chain Boyd Group Services Inc., told investors last month.

And this, this here? This is the important part.
Look. I’ve done this stuff. I have the FSMs. Sealed beam headlights were something you could do in your bay with a pair of $5 aiming boards and some tape and maybe turning off one light. That’s all you needed. If you wanted to be really accurate, you could do it from the bay across from you. Need to recalibrate your Twilight Sentinel? You just need a sunny day and some tape.
To calibrate the automatic levelling beams on a Jeep WK – assuming you don’t need a $2500 ECU as well – is a 1-1.5 hour process which pretty much requires you turn off all the shop lights and tie up the entire lane for the duration, assuming no problems. Recalibrating the automatic high beams is about 15 minutes. Unless you did a windshield replacement. Then it’s at least an hour and a lot of cussing, and you haven’t even gotten to the rain sensing wipers. Especially with aftermarket glass – you just can’t use it. It took my Porsche dealer an extra 2 hours to recalibrate my auto dimming mirrors and rain sensing wipers, and that was with genuine Porsche glass.

The amount of labor required to do repairs like this has gone logarithmic, especially on CANbus cars. Just splicing a wire can fault every ECU on the bus, easily, and frequently does. You can’t just do a rear window with integrated antenna; now you have to go through a 30 minute antenna recalibration process.
And gods help you if you work at a Toyota shop. Any time you so much as remove a light, a bumper cover, change tires, or perform an alignment? You have to recalibrate every TSS in the car. I’m 100% not joking. See the Zero Point Calibration article. ZPC is a multi-hour process that ties up a minimum 50 feet of shop space. It can easily exceed 4 hours of book time of calibration just to replace a failed headlight.

It. Is. Deeply. Stupid.

What’s the most annoying or most expensive “quality” issue you’ve ever dealt with on a newer car, tech-related or otherwise? 

Everything on the Toyota Corolla. The CVT that varies only when it feels like it, which is chosen at random. (0-30 may never have a simulated shift, or may act like it’s changing gears 3 times!) A never-ending parade of rattles and squeaks. An “infotainment” system that takes between 30 and 90 seconds to actually boot, and is continually about as responsive as a dead sloth.

EXL500
EXL500
11 months ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

Liked for the metaphor in your last clause, although the whole post was terrific.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
11 months ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

“The hardware doesn’t break, the software doesn’t break”

Ha.
Haha.
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaa.

Oh I needed that laugh. Thanks.

I’m guessing you work for Stellantis, given your repeated cheerleading of their products and blindness towards others.

UConnect is a fine system (though showing its age), arguably one of the better ones (which is a greater testament to the crumminess of others’ offerings than any superiority for UC), but it still has a high failure rate both for software and hardware. I can’t even begin to count how many customers and clients have had to have their system reprogrammed or (usually) replaced for various issues, the funniest of which are when the cars’ GPS thinks it’s in a different region entirely. They’re not as bad as CUE (ugh!) but they’re hardly the paragon of perfection you’re touting.

Dirk from metro Atlanta
Dirk from metro Atlanta
11 months ago

Most ridiculous if not horribly expensive was a “Shift to Park” message that wouldn’t allow one to power down and lock up and walk away from the vehicle. It was just thoughts and prayers that kept the fix in the gearshift switch and not something that required big hunks of cockpit plastics to be removed to find some weird little sensor (as was a claimed required fix sometimes)

My takeaway is, yeah, NEVER HIT ANYTHING and do your damnedest not to let anything hit you, of course, but also, pray to any powerful deities that none of your car’s electronics get shorted or decide they no longer love you.

Because it’ll invariably cost you at least a month’s wages to have a pro put it right again.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
11 months ago

“pray to any powerful deities that none of your car’s electronics get shorted or decide they no longer love you.”

Also throw in a busload of anti rodent measures to keep those bitey bastards away from the wiring.

Huja Shaw
Huja Shaw
11 months ago

Replacing the self-adjusting, Nivomat shocks on my hand-me-down ’92 Volvo 960 is why my mechanic’s kid has straight teeth due to top-notch orthodontic work.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
11 months ago
Reply to  Huja Shaw

Nivomat shocks are brilliant. And not cheap. The factory is definitely getting paid. But how much labor are we talking?

Max Headbolts
Max Headbolts
11 months ago

I’ve managed to blow the passenger door speaker on two different vehicles, my 1999 Dodge Dakota Sport and my 2013 Chevy Sonic LT. Both vehicle had the stock radios and everything nothing modified.

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
11 months ago

The calibration test for checking sensors is not a few hundred, it is closer to $1400. Hitting a deer in the left front resulted in $12,000 worth of repairs to our 2022 Rav4 Hybrid. We drove it for a week after the damage until we could find a shop to do the repairs while away from home. It took 6 weeks to get it repaired with parts delays.

Last edited 11 months ago by Knowonelse
2cv8
2cv8
11 months ago

You wrote:

“Are these manufacturing/mechanical quality and reliability issues, or software-related problems? I’ve always considered them to be separate things; you can have a very reliable, well-built car with an annoying and broken infotainment system.”

My brand new car has already had a recall for a display issue. Thing is, it was the instrument cluster not the infotainment display. Only some of the software in a car is for the infotainment. A whole bunch is related to basic functionality and safety. So I don’t think the categories are as clear as you might think.

Greg
Greg
11 months ago
Reply to  2cv8

If you can’t drive the car, no one gives a damn what caused the issue, you still can’t drive the car. The problem is the same for the owner and I don’t know anyone who says “oh well its not GMC/Ford/etc… fault, its actually Bose audios! They are just pissed their piece of crap car broke again and its expensive to fix.

And when car companies keep making their cars more and more software dependent to do anything, and I mean literally ANYTHING on some of these stupid new ones, it means if the software doesn’t work, their hardware doesn’t work. Patrick is thinking of the glory days, they are one in the same now. 100% disagree they are separate.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
11 months ago

Just looked at a quote for pads and rotors (both axles) for a Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Over $7k Canadian. I can’t imagine what a fender bender would cost for that car.

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
11 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

RockAuto has served me well for more than a decade. Less than $450 all four,delivered for top quality, coated (keeps cooling vanes clear of rust) rotors, and pads for a Mercedes c300 4matic sport.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
11 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio has carbon-ceramic brakes; $7k is cheap.

Brake job on a 2013 Corvette Z06 with the carbon ceramics costs well over $12,000. GM 84023643, $3000 list. Each. GM 84951567, $1000 list. Each. That’s $8,000 just for the rotors. There are zero aftermarket pad options, so you’re spending $1,100 per wheel up front, $580 per wheel out back.

Goof
Goof
11 months ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

Go look up what Porsche PCCBs cost. Easy $22-25K brake job.

Then go look at what carbon ceramics are on a McLaren. Super duper yikes.

$7K for carbons are indeed cheap, though there are starting to be some really good aftermarket affordable stuff for carbons now, to where even the track rats (which usually convert to cast iron for track duty) are starting to stick with carbon for track use.

Last edited 11 months ago by Goof
Pit-Smoked Clutch
Pit-Smoked Clutch
11 months ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

Man… I’d love a Z06, but that’s nuts. Could one slap the regular old steel brakes on there to save some cash, or will they not fit? I’m afraid I know the answer.

Beater_civic
Beater_civic
11 months ago

Software and hardware are both quality issues and are absolutely inseparable. Especially because manufacturers are moving ever more towards general purpose computing hardware controlled by high level code. It’s an engineering decision and it’s cheaper than designing dedicated components or paying qualified developers.

… And it definitely worked out great for Boeing!

But it’s emotional and it’s hard to change. We have become conditioned to be happy when we press colourful buttons. We just mash a touchscreen and get a big ole shot of endorphins. And cars are fundamentally emotional purchases, so people make choices that make them happy.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
11 months ago
Reply to  Beater_civic

“cars are fundamentally emotional purchases, so people make choices that make them happy.”

Know what makes me happy? An appliance. Boring is good when it means the damn thing works perfectly every time so I can take it for granted.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
11 months ago

I’ve been pretty lucky with my 2014 Kia.
Well except for the spun rod bearings/transmission/wheel bearings at 70K miles
But Kia paid for all the repairs

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
11 months ago

The sunroof wind deflector on my Sonata keeps coming unglued, making it challenging to, you know, close the sunroof.

Every year or two they re-glue it for free. And it always comes back apart, to the point where I just don’t use the sunroof.

But then I think “such a perfect day!” and open it. The circle remains unbroken (unlike my damned sunroof!).

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
11 months ago

Would like to see this Global Research report, from the coverage that only focuses on USA market and brands…

90sBuicksAreUnderrated
90sBuicksAreUnderrated
11 months ago

This isn’t particularly newfangled or advanced tech but I absolutely despise TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems). Every newish car I’ve driven has had these fail, and the constant lights and warnings are super annoying. Everyone I’ve talked to across a bunch of different OEMs and vehicles has had these kinds of issues. I even paid to have it “fixed” on my car when I took it in for service and it was going off again three days later. Garbage.

If I had it my way, I’d get a new car without the damn thing. I have eyes and a tire gauge, and can feel when I’m driving if something’s off. Just a pain in the ass.

Baron Usurper
Baron Usurper
11 months ago

Had this same problem.
Took mine to Discount Tire to get them fixed, guy swears they’re fixed, next day it’s back on. Take it back again, same guy same process same result. Take it to the dealer, they want to replace them and it’s $125 each plsu however much they wanted to bend me over for in labor. Ended up dealing with it just being broken and made a point of checking my tire pressure at least once a week like in ye olden days.

90sBuicksAreUnderrated
90sBuicksAreUnderrated
11 months ago
Reply to  Baron Usurper

Same here… I don’t even try to fix them anymore. It’s an old car now. I just click past the warning that pops up each time lol. Better things I can spend $100+ on especially when it’ll likely just fail again.

James Kohler
James Kohler
11 months ago

I’ve been involved in this fun myself. And I’ll share what I’ve learned in case it helps. My system is crazy sensitive to change in pressure, but usually only if it goes past the upper threshold. I pray people actually check with a gauge because Honda only programmed the error message to say “low pressure”. So long story short, try to keep your pressure as close to what your door jamb says if you want to keep TPMS happy.

Greg
Greg
11 months ago

wow, I absolutely love that my tires tell me how much air is in them. This is the fist time I’ve ever seen this. I can’t disagree you’ve had issues, why would you make that up? But I’ve owned 6 cars with them or more between the wife and never had an issue ever.

This small take, has me shocked. Ha!

Cerberus
Cerberus
11 months ago
Reply to  Greg

There are different systems. Not all of them tell you the tire pressure, nor which one isn’t meeting spec/TPMS sensor has died on. My Focus ST had that BS system and I don’t think it went 6 months without a sensor dying. Eventually gave up—worthless, anyway, as a serious problem would be obvious and it wouldn’t specify the wheel for a minor one, so there was no point except to annoy me with useless error alerts and messages, which I believe is the point of all active safety tech when it’s not actively making the car do something stupid.

Greg
Greg
11 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

That’s a good point, the individual detection makes them much more useful.

Mike B
Mike B
11 months ago

Yes! TPMS light intermittently comes up on my 07 Volvo. I’ve checked the pressure, it’s good. Light is annoying, but no way I’m spending money on fixing that. It also makes having a second set of wheels more expensive, due to either swapping the sensors or buying a second set. When I had a set of snows on steelies on the Volvo I just lived with the light.

Another peeve is the cars that don’t specify WHICH tire is low, just that one is. Not sure if newer cars have done away with this, but my Volvo and 2013 4Runner are like this.

3WiperB
3WiperB
11 months ago

I’ve never had a problem with them, other than batteries starting to die in the sensors in the wheel. Even on our 2008 STS it still works, other than 1 of the original sensors that has a battery that is starting to die and throws an error every once and a while. I installed the factory sensors in our camper too, so my truck can read the trailer tire pressures while towing and alert me if one gets low. It’s piece of mind to see the tire pressures on dual axle trailer when towing.

EXL500
EXL500
11 months ago

For my car (2015 Fit) all the false readings went away when I replaced the crap OEM tires.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
11 months ago

Try Honda.

The system in mine works by analyzing how many rotations each tire does relative to the others. One spins more than the others? Must be a low tire. No sensors at all in the wheel.

It works brilliantly, but it doesn’t tell you the pressure in the tires, and it can’t tell you if they all deflate at the same rate.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
11 months ago

“If I had it my way, I’d get a new car without the damn thing. I have eyes and a tire gauge, and can feel when I’m driving if something’s off. Just a pain in the ass.”

Maybe you can but given the number of other cars on the road I’ve seen with grossly under inflated tires tells me most drivers are in desperate need of an electronic nagging nanny.

Baron Usurper
Baron Usurper
11 months ago

Wife’s Subie Ascent has had no issues since we bought it last year. Looks like we dodged a bullet.

My 2013 Dodge Dart (yes go ahead and laugh, we all make dumb decisions in our early 20s) had its touchscreen restart at least once a week and by the end of my ownership I was having to reset the battery connections monthly to make the Bluetooth work.

OverlandingSprinter
OverlandingSprinter
11 months ago
Reply to  Baron Usurper

Reboot the car to make Bluetooth work. Yay, Bluetooth!

Couple weeks ago, was at a camping site and a friend in a brand new Outback left a dome light on for 24+ hours that flattened the battery. She jumped-started the car and tried to open the tailgate to load her stuff. Wouldn’t open with the remote, the button on the tailgate or dash. I crawled inside and couldn’t find a kidnap victim emergency release. Broke out a 10 mm and removed the negative battery cable for 10 minutes. Reconnected the battery and the hatch decided to open.

I predict rebooting cars will become a more common repair.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
11 months ago

You actually found your 10mm?!?!?!?

Baron Usurper
Baron Usurper
11 months ago

For a brief moment I thought you meant a 10mm pistol and imagined you shooting the battery cable to disconnect it.

Greg
Greg
11 months ago
Reply to  Baron Usurper

that dart was hyped as hell, I remember thinking about it. Then it came out and I held back.

Baron Usurper
Baron Usurper
11 months ago
Reply to  Greg

I personally loved it, troubles and all, but I also understand why people didn’t.
I got a great deal on it, fully loaded for less than the price of a base model Charger.

10001010
10001010
11 months ago

The most annoying issue on both our newish cars is Android Auto reliability. I know this has nothing to do with the car getting from A to B but it’s super annoying none-the-less. When it works it’s awesome and I feel like I’m in the future, but when it refuses to connect, which is a very common occurrence, you can sit in your driveway for 15 mins sorting it or get on the road and attempt to reboot the phone and head unit and swap out USB cables while trying to drive.
The most annoying part is who do you complain to? Is it the car manufacturer’s fault? Is it the phone manufacturer’s fault? Is it the Google Android OS team? Is it the Google Android Auto team? Is it the USB cable manufacturer’s fault? Who do I call to report this issue to?

Drew
Drew
11 months ago
Reply to  10001010

Having dealt with this issue previously, it’s absolutely a major frustration. The car manufacturer and the phone maker both say to use the OEM cable and both blame each other. The best luck I have had is getting the highest data transfer rate cable I can find, preferably from a good manufacturer. Belkin tends to be a safe option.

That said, the problem could be with the car’s USB port, the head unit, the phone, or the phone’s port, too, which does make it a bit tricky to track down. It’s also good practice to be sure both the phone and the infotainment are updated.

OverlandingSprinter
OverlandingSprinter
11 months ago
Reply to  Drew

Quality cables is always a good idea, and agree Belkin tends to sell good stuff.

My DD’s head unit sometimes refuses to talk to my iPhone. The only fix that works after all else fails is power-cycling the phone. It’s a bit inconvenient because (heavy sigh) I have to wait for the phone to reboot. Modern problems.

10001010
10001010
11 months ago
Reply to  Drew

We’ve been through soooo many cables. They seem to last about 6 mos before the smallest bump in the road will disconnect the phone from the head unit. We’re using high quality 1m long cables and not jumping rope or hanging heavy objects from them but they still wear out about twice a year.

The head units are up-to-date as are both phones. So far we’ve had 4 different phones across 2 different cars and countless cables and all have exhibited the same behavior.

One interesting note: 2 of the phones have been pixels and 2 have been Samsungs, both of the Samsungs have an issue where the video will freeze, sometimes for 5-6 minutes while the audio (spotify and Waze directions) continues with no lag. After a while the video catches back up but continues to be stuttering and lagging. The pixel phones have never exhibited this video lagging in either car.

Drew
Drew
11 months ago
Reply to  10001010

Yeah, unfortunately the cables wear out fast in cars. I’ve been through a few, too. That fast, though, perhaps indicates that the car’s USB port is looser than expected.

I have a Samsung and have not had that issue in my Kia, though I had a lot of weird issues in my Civic. I suspect that it may come from the variety of software/hardware trying to communicate. You’ve got Google software on the phone’s modified OS and hardware, trying to communicate with the head unit made to specs that were likely tested with Google hardware and unmodified software.

The issues I run into are almost always with Amazon Music. Seems like everyone can get Spotify right, but they haven’t bothered with Amazon unless they added Alexa support (which I don’t really want).

10001010
10001010
11 months ago
Reply to  Drew

The cables mostly seem to be wearing out on the phone end, putting a couple of twists on that end before plugging it in will brace it a bit.

I tried Amazon Music briefly after Google Play Music was killed off, it’s better than YT Music (what isn’t better than YT Music?) but I found the app clunky and crash prone both in AA or just on the phone.

3WiperB
3WiperB
11 months ago
Reply to  10001010

Have you tried a Motorola MA-1 yet? I put one in my truck and it works every time (as long as you have the wifi on your phone on). It turns your android auto into a wireless android auto. It’s not cheap, but it’s nice to not have to plug your phone in on every trip. It also lets me use an ultra-fast charger instead of the slower charging from the built in USB port in the car.

10001010
10001010
11 months ago
Reply to  3WiperB

I heard one of the folks on AllAboutAndroid talk about it a while back but I didn’t try it due to the price. Your endorsement might push me to actually try it.

3WiperB
3WiperB
11 months ago
Reply to  10001010

I was hoping they would come down in price by now, but they haven’t dropped much. Woot (owned by Amazon) has them for $79.99 right now. There’s some other no-name ones out there for around $50-60, but I don’t have experience with them.

Cerberus
Cerberus
11 months ago
Reply to  10001010

It’s similar with AppleCarPlay. Mine discos every once in a while for 10 seconds and comes back on. More rarely, it refuses to connect and I have to delete the car and phone from each other and add them back in.

Ben
Ben
11 months ago
Reply to  10001010

Good to know this hasn’t changed. I don’t have AA in any of my cars, but I tried it in a rental a number of years ago. It was flaky, required me to plug the phone in, and then absolutely cooked the phone for some reason. I’m not sure what was so taxing that it had to pull that much power, but I pretty much wrote it off.

Honestly, just give me decent bluetooth connectivity so I can stream music over the car speakers and the rest can go to blazes.

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