I would like to congratulate you on your outspoken September editorial. For some time I have read the letters of complaint regarding service and reliability of different makes of cars in your magazine and have thought that many of your readers have been under the mistaken assumption that cars are made by enthusiasts for enthusiasts. Admittedly, there are still a few small exceptions, but the hard fact of the matter is that cars are made by businessmen for the general (and often gullible) public. The aim of every businessman is simple—as high a profit as possible.
The overall profit of a car manufacturer depends very largely on the profit per car, which can be increased in three ways:
(a) An increase in selling price up to the limit allowed by competition.
(b) An increase in output to spread overhead costs over more cars.
(c) A decrease in cost per car provided that sales do not drop.
Now service and reliability cost money—inspectors have to be paid, a nut and bolt cost more than a rivet, a metal bracket more than a plastic one, and provided you and I are willing to accept a less reliable vehicle at the same price, it is sound economics for the manufacturer to reduce his costs in this way. So as consumers we must do all we can to stop this, and I suggest that we—
(a) Don’t buy cars which friends and unbiassed road-tests tell us are unreliable.
(b) Shop around for good service and forget make (and national) loyalty.
(c) Press for freer competition in the form of lower duties on imported cars (or membership of the ECM).
I must confess that I am the proud owner of two imported cars as 20 years living in Africa enabled me to compare the service and reliability of British and foreign cars.
R. ANDERSON – Aberdeen
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