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Why are modern cars so complex and costly to run?

I am becoming increasingly alarmed at upgrading our cars to more recent models. My wife and I operate three petrol cars: a 1996 Ford Mondeo V6, a 2008 (original shape) Ford Ka and a 1971 MG Midget 1275cc. These cars give good service with the Mondeo never failing. Current cars seem to me to be very costly to the buyer in terms of their increased complexity and likelihood of failure. Scary stories abound of dual mass clutch failure, diesel particulate problems, service charges, auto headlight and windscreen wiper operation, electronic diagnosis, ABS and ESP failure. I am very concerned if I have to upgrade to a modern car. My preference would be for a 1955 Ford Zephyr Mk 1 with cruise control, if that is feasible.

Asked on 5 March 2011 by JH, via email

Answered by Honest John
One famous car company’s philosophy for the past 40 years or so has been to build cars that are easy to repair and replace components, and to fit them with components that need replacing. Very profitable. But now extensive lobbying to the EC by component manufacturers and by manufacturers has led to a situation where cars are increasingly becoming more complex and loaded with safety and emissions kit that have a limited lifespan. Inevitably that gives them a shorter life because the point where cost of repairs is greater than the value of the car is significantly reduced.

I don't see the manufacturers complaining, and attempting to lobby the EC against these policies will not get ordinary people anywhere. We simply have to wait for Europe to collapse, as it inevitably will do under the weight of its Eurocracy. But then the Chinese will take over and every value anyone ever thought they had will go out of the window. Especially the Court of Human Rights.
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