An industry comes up to Speed

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It has never been renovated in a model a car as basic as the E-class of Mercedes. Products aging faster and faster, the auto manufacturers will come under pressure. Because a car is not renew as easily as a cell phone. So they resort to Tricks.


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Tom Grünweg

Tom Grünweg

More of Tom’s articles Grünweg

Sunday, 10.02.2013
At 07:13

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When Apple released in September 2012, the iPhone 5 on the market, hundreds, thousands, in the middle of the night to order it online. And hardly the new phone was in the trade, was signed off the old one somehow. What is the fiver more, whether and how users benefited from it – no matter. Alt is out, and only with the latest cell phone with the time.

Phone manufacturers are fomenting this feeling. They are based on, as the entire electronics industry, a good part of your business. “High speed of innovation keeps competitors at a distance and creates growth,” outlines the consulting firm Roland Berger, the scale modern management. He had full validity, and should be, the car industry in the red list of acute hazardous industries.

The development of a new car takes three to four years. Then the car will be sold for six to eight years. In the meantime, so after about four years, there is usually a small Update, a Facelift, a model of care. There are rather small Changes, new headlights, for example, new assistance systems, maybe a new engine that will be introduced to the center of the construction throughout the group.

The million Make-up

Like the car manufacturer would also be a bit faster with really new products. “We have been observing for some years that the model and development cycles in the car industry is getting shorter and shorter. The clock frequency is continuously increasing,” says Stefan Bratzel of the University of applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach. That’s why the Facelift is becoming a more complex intervention.

The most recent example of this is the new E-class from Mercedes, which is not in truth at all. The series is the first since 2009, on the road, but was now, for half of its runtime, in a so far unprecedented extent revised. Series chef Thomas Ruhl provokes and contradicts estimates that the retreading of around a billion euros of development costs to be devoured. However, it is also a Mercedes, this is the most comprehensive Revision of the E-class have given it in the company.

The reason is that The customers have come to expect in a new car, the latest Infotainment features and / or assistance systems. For the E-class, for example, available also Apple’s control Siri, as well as a System, dodging automatically the voice traffic are now. At the same time such renovations to make the not quite dewy car back to as new appearance.

The new model, the residual value of the Old rushes in the basement

Really expensive all of this was because Mercedes did not change in addition to all the technical Updates, the Design of the E-class from the ground up, because it arrived apparently very good. And fundamental Changes in the Design to go to the money, because for fresh shapes in the sheet metal new, million-dollar press tools have to be purchased. But the investment will be worth: “In many respects, the car buyer will transform the experience of a fast product life cycle from the telecommunications industry, as claims on the auto industry,” describes an automotive expert Bratzel the reason for such interventions.

But the manufacturers want to not only shorten cycles of the Model, you want to squeeze out of a model is also possible in many variations. As a result, the car will appear to be constantly fresh and innovative. Relatively easy to the Foundation of a whole family of models due to the flexible modular systems which make up the branch like a station wagon or a coupe can be faster and cheaper to develop, Bratzel says.

The strategy of the New has not only advantages, is a design Professor Lutz fügen-local of Pforzheim University is convinced. Because if it were an expensive electronics toy, or a car – in both cases, the accelerating product cycles for the customer, a blessing and a curse at the same time. “At the Moment of the acquisition of such an expensive product, the progress is the enemy of the customer. Because he put him under the pressure of ‘Updatings’ and simultaneously works to impairment of the product.”

Also, the Leasing industry pushes the pace of development

But there is also a quite solid, quite understandable reason for the urge to the car manufacturer, after three years, a new interactive vehicle on the wheels. “In a paralyzed private customers market, the company must sell as many cars to Leasing – and rental car fleets. And in which will be replaced at least after three years, the vehicles on time, a novelty should be the Council of Europe,” says Dieter Fess of the automobile leasing consulting firm B&F Forecasts.

So the manufacturers tried, by profound modifications in the interest of the existing customers, keep awake. As a Prime example of the Fess is called explicitly, the E-class. “The Facelift is down so significantly, that one could actually speak of a new Model.”

At the same time, Fess, whether this development is for the previous model dangerous, because the residual noise value according to a successor in the basement. “The trick is not to let the old model, old look, but the series evolving. A good example of this is the VW Golf. Its development could criticize on the one hand, as despondent, as Fess. “On the other hand, they contributed to a Golf IV or V can now swim always in traffic, without providing its owner a precarious living situation.”

The increasingly rapid Renew of car, types of driving, by the way, you should not underestimate the costs for Service and spare parts supply. The model run included the fresh – so far, four versions of the VW Touran, for example, are equipped with four different headlights. But this Detail makes a car really attractive. To believe “hard, that this was a decisive sales argument,” says Design and brand expert Paolo Tumminelli.

In addition, the taste of the customers, postulated Tummineli change the strategy of always New. Who series Vehicle ever more auffächere or constantly exchanges, could set lasting accents. “Hard to imagine that today, new myths can be created, how they justified once the Mini, the Porsche 911, the VW Golf, the Fiat Panda or the Mercedes G-class. Because these cars were to the myth, not despite but because of their long lifespan.”

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