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A rant

  #1  
Old 12-14-2018, 05:55 PM
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From some apparently out of step with current automotive trends:

My 2015 V60 is ending its second week in the dealer's shop while they try to cure a "no start" problem (fortunately it's a CPO car under warranty) They have provided me with a new XC60 as a loaner.

A couple of observation:

The XC60 has, so far as I can tell, about the same interior capacity as my V60 but, on the road, it feels about 50% larger and rides on very large (and, I am certain, correspondingly expensive tires) Now, I don't have a problem driving large cars - I once owned a '51 Chrysler Imperial convertible* 18' long, 5500 lbs but what's the point? I bet that 95+% of these cars never see anything more "off road" than a gravel driveway. Maybe in some areas, the ground clearance and 4WD are an advantage in winter but (a) if that is a real concern, one should not be driving on wide 50 or 60 series tires and (b) 4WD or not, most drivers really should not be out in 18+" of snow. - So what's the point?

Now the controls: One of the "features" of this car is a touch screen that appears to control almost all of the functions beyond accelerator, brakes and steering. My V60 also has a screes but it only reports on the consequences of operating the various ***** and buttons. The result? In my car I can adjust temperature, turn the A/C on and off, control the fan, seat heaters etc. etc. by "feel" without taking my eyes off the road. Not so with this XC60 - I need to look to see if I have the right screen, look and find the appropriate icon and watch to see that my finger is landing in the right place!

I can think of only one justification for this new world of automotive gimmickry - manufacturing economics and profit opportunity. Without even considering parts cost, consider the difference in the number of operation required to place a single electronic module (certainly pre-assembled) vs fitting a dozen or more switches, ***** and levers each of which has, of course, a separate part number for ordering, stocking and bringing to the assembly point.

And then, of course, we go down the road a few years and a function fails - do you replace a radio volume pot or a fan control switch or the like? No - the whole screen/control part is replaced for $1000? $1500? ? ? ?

This is a triumph of marketing over common sense!

*This probably relates to my attitude - I drove it when it was a new car, not an antique.

 
  #2  
Old 12-14-2018, 06:15 PM
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Yep, I was thinking about what that extra 2 inches of clearance really does - it creates a lot more leverage in corners - thus requiring stiffer springs and sway bars to keep the car flat and the handling neutral. The taller tires offset the impact to ride quality but most SUVs and crossovers come with agressive all seasons so you lose grip and gain noise. you do get improved visibility but not to the level of a MDX, Highlander etc but certainly better than a sedan. I guess that's why Volvo markets both models :-) My wife doesn't care about handling - she puts a premium on visibility and ease of access. I prefer swoopy, low to the ground sedans (two most recent acquistions include an S40 and a VW CC which I bought before the new design S60s came out :-(
 
  #3  
Old 12-18-2018, 10:33 AM
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What was the no start issue? I'm having the same problem with my S60 and its not under warranty. Already changed starter and battery. Trying to figure out what else it might be.
 
  #4  
Old 12-18-2018, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by K1llabeezz View Post
What was the no start issue? I'm having the same problem with my S60 and its not under warranty. Already changed starter and battery. Trying to figure out what else it might be.
No definitive diagnosis yet - First attributed to a bad starter motor then failed oil cooler that allowed contamination of the lubricant with coolant (and that has brought up a whole new set of concerns currently under discussion with Volvo) then possible "hydraulic lock" due to liquid in a cylinder and currently a fused connecting cable. Symptom: The day after a 3 hour highway drive, attempts to start were greeted with a "click" - no labored turnover or slow crank. This is leading me to suspect a major mechanical failure like a seized piston.
 
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Old 12-18-2018, 05:01 PM
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Sounds like they're not terribly versed in the fundamentals, but then nobody is.

The manufacturer doesn't really profit so much when they make cars unmaintainable, and I'm not sure why they do. That is the biggest issue I see with system integration onboard. Nobody can repair any of it.
 
  #6  
Old 12-19-2018, 01:23 AM
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A long time ago, my favorite part of one of the monthly magazines (Popular Science? Popular Mechanics?) was a regular feature called, as I remember, "The Model Garage" Each month, an automobile malfunction would be described followed by a description of first, the actions and reasoning that led to the diagnosis followed by the repair procedure.

In today's world it appears that unless a computer can identify a very specific failure, the process is to "throw parts at it" until the problem disappears.

I think this is very profitable for both the manufacturers and the dealer.
 
  #7  
Old 12-19-2018, 11:14 AM
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I think it's mostly the dealers who profit. The manufacturer, I think, suffers due to how the service experience reflects on the value of their main product. In fact, you may recall that the auto manufacturers discarded their parts operations as a consequence of "management brilliance", and in fact Delphi and Visteon both went bankrupt more or less immediately. Last quarter Visteon, for example, made 21 million profit on almost 700 million sales, a 3% margin. it is today 1/8 the size it was when spun off.

Volvo no doubt has some markup on parts, but you really never hear anybody talk about how much that contributes to earnings. I am going to look for that.
 

Last edited by firebirdparts; 12-19-2018 at 11:30 AM.
  #8  
Old 12-19-2018, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by firebirdparts View Post
I think it's mostly the dealers who profit. The manufacturer, I think, suffers due to how the service experience reflects on the value of their main product. In fact, you may recall that the auto manufacturers discarded their parts operations as a consequence of "management brilliance", and in fact Delphi and Visteon both went bankrupt more or less immediately. Last quarter Visteon, for example, made 21 million profit on almost 700 million sales, a 3% margin. it is today 1/8 the size it was when spun off.

Volvo no doubt has some markup on parts, but you really never hear anybody talk about how much that contributes to earnings. I am going to look for that.
You make a good point vis-a vis the manufacturers reputation. I called Volvo USA and asked to speak with a "tech rep" in hopes of exploring the problem with someone with in-depth knowledge of the car and was told that no such department or person exists - they depend on dealer service departments for that function.
 
  #9  
Old 12-19-2018, 05:00 PM
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Interesting point about hydraulic lock - that would certainly keep an engine from turning over but you could test that theory by putting a socket on the crank and turning by hand to see if it locks up. Also you could pull the plugs and put in a cam (or a suction tube to see if there's anything that shouldn't be there. As to the techs, they are factory trained to follow protocols - when they get stuck they are supposed to call in the shop's expert or a factory support contact from Volvo (a resource an indy doesnt have). So the discussion should go back to the shop's service manager regarding what investigations and escalations have been done. I've had two very odd repairs on my VW CC where both had to go to VoA for guidance to the shop. I'd be pressing them to call in the factory rep if they can't be certain of the cause.
 
  #10  
Old 12-21-2018, 08:17 AM
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Let's face it. A reasonable person, faced with a locked up engine, would find the cause in about an hour.
 
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