By on April 9, 2014

mqb6

Today’s recall announcement by Toyota estimated to span at least 6.4 million vehicles, serves as a nice distraction from the ongoing recall occurring at cross-town rival General Motors. The Best & Brightest are free to squabble about which faceless corporate entity with zero regard for their individual well-being is the superior one. The rest of us have bigger fish to fry.

At 6.4 million vehicles, this Toyota recall is massive. It won’t be the last one. In fact, I think that ten years from now, this will be a low number.

The big trend in the auto industry today is modular platforms, which allow an enormous range of vehicles to share components. Volkswagen’s MQB architecture is an oft-cited example of this, largely because it takes a holistic approach to modularity. Much like Lego bricks, different “modules” can be assembled to create different vehicles. MQB is capable of spawning everything from a B-segment Volkswagen Polo to a D-segment Volkswagen Passat to an Audi TT sports car to a Volkswagen Touran minivan. Only a small number of “hard points” like the dimension from the center line of the front wheel to the pedal box, or the engine mounts, are fixed.

Within these modules are a high level of common parts, designed to be used across the entire range of MQB vehicles. This can include everything from whole powertrains to braking systems to smaller components that could be shared across a range of small to mid-size vehicles – which is, in theory, a truly vast quantity. Other commentators have expressed worries that MQB will lead to components being mismatched to their application. An A/C system engineered for a Passat might be overkill on a Polo (or vice versa) from a utility or financial standpoint.

From a purchasing standpoint, MQB will allow Volkswagen to buy lots and lots of widgets, receiving a significant discount on the cost per widget. This will equal significant savings for VW (though just how much they’ll save seems to depend on who you ask) while leading to shorter assembly times and more standardized production of vehicles. In the event that demand for a given model changes, a factory could scale back production of a slower selling model to help meet demand for the more popular one. This gives Volkswagen unprecedented flexibility in the way that cars can be designed, engineered and manufactured.

It also leaves Volkswagen in a very vulnerable position. What happens if they get a bad batch of widgets from a supplier, or the widget in question was poorly engineered? What if a manufacturing process was poorly designed, and the widgets aren’t installed properly? With so many vehicles assembled with the same faulty part or process, the impact could be enormous: millions of vehicles requiring repair, a black eye for Volkswagen and, heaven forbid, human lives negatively impacted.

This kind of exposure to potential quality defects and mass recalls was dubbed a “Cascading Failure” in a prior article, but many readers with engineering backgrounds objected. Instead, we can call it a “platform level failure”, which is the key difference between the scenario outlined above, and the Toyota recall, which affects everything from the Yaris subcompact to the Land Cruiser SUV.

But in a future where every car maker will have to adopt some kind of modular architecture, the likelihood of these events occurring is almost certain. And those who have invested most in common vehicle architectures are at the greatest risk.

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74 Comments on “Editorial: Get Ready For Massive Recalls Driven By Modular Platforms...”


  • avatar

    I would have thought modular platforms and components would make replacements and maintenance easier.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Also, the reduced costs and simplification of the supply chain should make it possible for the car companies to do more aggressive quality control on their components. Unless of course there’s a culture of cost containment uber alles, to the point that you’re crossing your fingers and hoping for the best *cough* GM *cough*.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The way around this was “traditional” GM typically didn’t skimp out as much on the “nicer” cars vs the pleb edition models, and the gaping depreciation was more or less the same. This was well known to “GM people” such as my father, who advised me to never buy Chevrolet in lieu of Olds/Buick (although he never quantified this to platforms as I have done. i.e. buy Olds H in lieu of Olds W). My used H-bodies, and current W-body have served me well.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Our 1992 Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight was a great car.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            W, H, and A bodies are far more numerous even here in the salty Northeast than J, L, and N body cars. To me, that says that W, H, and A cars were made better than the J, L, and N cars.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “A” eh maybe. Most of the As I still see are Olds Cieras and Centurys. Those came with 3300s and 3100s, the former being 3800′s little brother so this might explain things but IIRC the A sedan/coupe was “me’h”, wagon being slightly less “me’h”.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Well the ones I see are generally 89-96, so that means the underpowered and noisy but incredibly reliable Iron Duke, or the less underpowered and noisy 3100 and 3300 engines. All three of those seem to run a long time unless something goes wrong, so that probably explains the longevity…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I haven’t seen the Duke in ages.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            I see lots of Centuries and Lesabres running around, and the Centuries just seem a lot more tired.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I still see Duke S10s (pretty sure most 2WD S10s of late 80s/early 90s vintage are 4 cylinders) but I dunno if I’ve even seen a Duke A-body, I just assumed there has to be some around…

          • 0 avatar
            jayzwhiterabbit

            My father had four “W” bodies from brand-new to each over 150-200k, a Grand Prix, Cutlass Supreme, Olds Intrigue, and Impala. Mechanically, they were pretty much flawless with a zero cost-to-maintain other than oil changes. Great cars and good values at the time (all right, the ’06 Impala was rather baroque inside).
            My grandmother had a ’93 Olds Ciera “A” body until 2003, and it was flawless mechanically with the 3300. She loved that car in a way that she will never love and connect to her current Toyo Corolla. Sure, the interior was tacky, but the car always got you where you were going. My uncle uses it as a “work truck” now – still running.
            My dad worked at an Olds/Cadillac dealer for 30 years, and I have worked at a Buick dealer for much of the ’90′s. I don’t know where the hell everyone gets off thinking GM cars are so unreliable – what I always saw was the body about to fall apart with the engine and tranny still running strong. We usually buy GM (the rebates, the rebates, the rebates), and have never had any real issues. The Oldsmobiles were the most “special” of the GM divisions, though – hands down.

        • 0 avatar
          Russycle

          Possibly true, but a stupid policy in the long run. Toyota and Honda started out selling quality small cars and buyers stuck with them as their age, and income, increased. GM sold Vegas, Citations, and Cavaliers to first-time buyers, who said “Never again!” and bought Accords and Camrys for their next cars.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      Not if said component is buried deep in the guts of the car, requiring many hours of labor to get to it.

      I for one would love it if cars were more like Lego.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      Easier != Cheaper. Ask your local VW/Audi mechanic about module replacement – many of the modules are designed to be replaced as a whole, so if one part goes out, you are buying an entire subsystem instead of the part.

      It is effectively shifting the cost of replacement from skilled labor to parts (meaning the manufacturer gets a larger cut of the pie.)

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Although unrelated to modular platforms, CNBC reported live VAG issued a stop sell order on Golf, Beetle/Beetle Conv, and I believe Jetta for a fire risk with the transmission fluid (or pan I can’t quite recall).

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/101566227

    If this has been on MQB, imagine…

  • avatar
    319583076

    I’m relatively new to manufacturing, but my preliminary assessment of the cost-cutting initiatives is that they are usually characterized by myopic isolationism. Meaning, when people focus on cutting cost out of steps in a process, they seem to invariably ignore the impact on the bigger picture. Sure, we saved a few thousand dollars installing softer bushings, but now that they are failing in service, what is the cost of repair? the cost of our customer’s lost productivity? the cost of our reduced perception in the marketplace?

    Intelligent decision making balances the short-view with the long-view. However, most human intelligence seems to be a Type I error. On the other hand, if quarterly reports and annual bottom lines are your priority, then we’re serving the correct master.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I find manufacturing interesting although I don’t work in the field. In the example you cited, a design was altered after the fact and the rest of the design could not compensate for it. Garbage in, garbage out.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      While obvious in hindsight (which is always cheap, easy and 20/20), the problem is that it’s easy to quantify the savings on making a widget cheaper or, for that matter, eliminating it altogether. The classic example of course being the ‘eliminate the rear sway bar and save $5.00 per car’ on the 1960 Corvair.

      It’s a lot harder, and nowhere near as black and white, to extrapolate what that cost saving/cheapening of a component will do during the life of the finished product. Analyzed and educated guesses can be made, but its human nature not to want to believe an overly negative guess if only because it can’t be guaranteed, or absolutely proved. And the only certain test is to turn our a production run, put it thru its life cycle, and then note how many survived. Anything less is estimation.

      And, as you say, no corporation with stockholders expecting dividends are going to accept any result that lessens their quarterly rewards. Which is the basic shortcoming of any auto manufacturer.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        “It’s a lot harder, and nowhere near as black and white, to extrapolate what that cost saving/cheapening of a component will do during the life of the finished product.”

        Absolutely true, but…in some (or most) cases depending on the product, there is a service history summed up in the cliche – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

        We’re in an era where savings of thousands or even hundreds of dollars a year are being pursued when previously, this effort would have been dismissed as trivial. The problems that are manifesting are that we’re finding out how much material we can take out of our product, but at the customer’s expense. Because as you’ve correctly pointed out, the systems are complex and prediction is tenuous. I guess the question that hasn’t been settled in my mind is – Is it worth it to potentially alienate customers in order to empirically discover just how cheaply a product can be manufactured? Of course, it’s a difficult question to answer, but someone is going to bear the downside of this social experiment.

        • 0 avatar

          This whole thread of argument is ridiculous. A statement about cost-cutting can’t possibly be generalized any more than guessing whether any given arbitrary design is optimal.

          Trying to do so is ironically the same process of making judgements from ignorance as the “bean counters” are accused of.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        Syke, in many cases it’s not that hard. Any idiot could have predicted the result of deleting the Corvair’s rear sway bar, but the bean counters didn’t want to listen. When Ford decided not to fix the Pinto fuel-neck issue, they did a cost analysis and decided a few lawsuits would be cheaper.

        Sure, stockholders want profits, but they don’t vote on every decision the manufacturer makes, nor are they even aware of 99.9% of operational or design considerations. Blaming the market is an excuse to let lazy, greedy, or short-sighted management off the hook.

    • 0 avatar
      DaveBeNimble

      Since you’re new to manufacturing, maybe you should pipe down a bit.

      Every major failed cost-cutting initiative is trotted out for everyone to see, both by critics and proponents. We discuss the Corvairs, Pintos, and F-35s of the world at length to learn from the mistakes and get better. You almost never talk about the successful ones, because they aren’t as interesting.

      How studying somethign like Single Minute Exchange of Dies, Six Sigma, or any one of the gajillion stories now under the umbrella of Lean Manufacturing? How about actually doing work in automotive, and learning what their quality control regimes are actually like? You know, like how to do a PPAP or working in a TS 16949 environment? Or maybe touring a factory of a Tier 1 vendor?

      Sarcasm aside – a lot of very smart people work very hard NOT to be the next cautionary tale, and there are quite a few. But automotive is ALL about cost-cutting, every single day. Your car has thousands of components, and if you start making a habit of letting pennies slide, that adds up to real money fast. You simply cannot compete in this business if you are not a ruthless, relentless cost-cutter.

      What’s the good news? Usually the best way to cut cost is to improve quality, and, in particular, process control. Engineer every process to where it CAN’T fail. Yields go up, reworks go down, admin goes down, QC costs go down. One thing I’ve learned working in automotive – most Tier 1′s and OE’s have zero compunction about making huge capital investment to reduce piece price and improve quality.

      But hey, you’re new to manufacturing. I’m sure you’re right and I’m wrong.

      • 0 avatar

        > How studying somethign like …, *Six Sigma*, or any one of the gajillion stories now under the umbrella of Lean Manufacturing

        Speaking of funny stories, I was looking into six sigma once and some curriculum syllabus listed math functions (literally y=f(x)) as part of the lesson plan, just before explaining what a normal function is.

        Bitch, please. If you didn’t learn how functions worked in middle school, stay the hell away from trying to stat serious production or math anything really.

    • 0 avatar
      mechaman

      yep,it’s the debate between the engineers/designers, who want the best, against the bean counters, who want what’s profitable. as far as the modules/parts are concerned, managment inspects and passes things made, not us Joe Socket-Wrenches; they don’t allow us to say, “It’s OK”, where I work,they check everything. Seems that’s the way it’s supposed to be?

  • avatar
    onyxtape

    At some places that I’ve worked in, we use different vendors for the same parts for this very reason. Despite the product lines not sharing any common platform, a faulty common component from a common vendor (say, a lowly $0.10 resistor) that is sprinkled throughout all product lines will also result in these sorts of mass recalls/returns.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      Doesn’t the variability of vendors result in more variability of parts quality? More suppliers increase the possibility of some parts being bad.

      This wouldn’t change the main point of this post, which is that if a part is bad, it’s bound to affect a lot more units.

      So it could end up being fewer recalls, but really big ones.

  • avatar

    Can you imagine what would happen if Volkswagen’s reputation for reliability was tarnished? Wait…

    • 0 avatar
      jayzwhiterabbit

      +1

      Worked at a VW dealer for a long while….worst, most officious pieces of garbage ever unleashed on the public. Cheapest interiors on the planet – sure it looks like gold when you buy it, but it’s all just a thin coat of paint that dissolves by about 20k Mechanically, just bombs waiting to go off. And now that their Jetta and Passat look indistinguishable from Totota Corollas, I cannot see any possible reason anyone would spend a dollar on one.

      • 0 avatar
        masrapida

        -1. Cheapest interiors on the planet? You’ve never ridden in an American car. We bought a ’12 Golf that looks as fresh as could be 40k in; the interior is well composed. A Passat looks in no way like a Corolla. Whatever grievance you have about your former employer’s agency probably shouldn’t extend to the brand itself.

  • avatar

    Like in nature, breeding of different strands make ultimately stronger creatures. Monsanto corn is highly productive and probably makes sense but one little virus could throw the world into a nasty tailspin fast. The same for modular architecture. It would be better if makers hanged on to 3, 4 or 5 platforms to be safe.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This already happens without modular platforms.

    Many cars already share components whose recall affects multiple nameplates. For example, my son’s 11 Sonata and my 09 Sedona were both recalled for a faulty brake pedal switch. They are not the same part number, but the switch itself is modular with common components among a variety of applications.

  • avatar
    daviel

    “with” > “which” ; “faceless corporate entity with zero regard for their individual well-being” – when did people start thinking that faceless corporate entities, although legal persons, gave a rat’s ass about our well-being?

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Nor would their owners (the stockholders) tolerate any behavior that would result in a less than optimal quarterly dividend. CEO’s don’t demand a cheapened product out of a nasty sense of “screw the customer because I enjoy doing it”. They demand a cheapened product to increase profitability, which keeps the owners (stockholders) happy, which keeps them in their nice, soft, cushy job.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I don’t think that the modular platforms are the issue, per se. Parts sharing is the more direct culprit.

    Recalls are almost always about safety items. Cars have a lot more safety items than they used to have, and governments are paying more attention to them.

    At the same time, manufacturers can achieve lower costs and greater reliability if they have fewer unique parts. Hence, the drive to increase parts sharing.

    That should result in larger individual recalls, although the number of recall events might fall. There’s more stuff that can be subject to a recall, and the bad parts will be more widely proliferated than they would have once been.

    Ironically, this can all occur as reliability improves. Reliability and recalls don’t correlate, and to some degree, the correlation is reversed.

    • 0 avatar
      LALoser

      PCH; We had a small batch of adhesive fail a test, leading us and a lot of other companies to recall and/or field correct. It involved several companies and a bigger batch recall than the known problem because of blending, etc. A seemingly small problem can grow in a hurry.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Agreed.

      A good point of this part sharing is the Honda/Toyota/Nissan joint airbag recall covering between the three over 5 million vehicles. Shared airbag components across the three are the culprit.

    • 0 avatar

      > That should result in larger individual recalls, although the number of recall events might fall.

      This is mathematical *necessity* unless the contention is that a part is magically more likely to be recalled just because more of them are made.

  • avatar
    B Buckner

    There is no evidence that this strategy will reduce safety. If, heaven forbid, human lives start to be negatively impacted, as you clumsily phrased it, flags will be raised and actions taken. Its not like 10 deaths in a previous generation Golf would trigger an investigation, but now with MQB architecture, that number goes to 100…..

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    “The Best & Brightest are free to squabble about with faceless corporate entity with zero regard for their individual well-being is the superior one.”

    Wow….really?

    Zero regard?

    Such a shame today’s media has sunk this low.

  • avatar
    Loser

    “Today’s recall announcement by Toyota estimated to span at least 6.4 million vehicles, serves as a nice distraction from the ongoing recall occurring at cross-town rival General Motors”

    It’s Obama and the UAW trying to take the heat off GM, they rigged it all! The master plan is now in full swing, hide your families!

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ Loser….I’m aware that you jest. Though I am shocked that one of the Toyota fans haven’t mentioned it….Yet.

      • 0 avatar
        ZoomZoom

        Well, with GM recalls, I often had to get the car serviced TWICE. Once to do the recall, and another time to do it RIGHT.

        So is this a service problem or a manufacturing problem? I don’t know and don’t care, nor should I have to.

        Besides, I have not had that trouble with Toyota, Mazda, or BMW!

  • avatar
    carguy

    I don’t disagree with this editorials assertions but this is hardly new thinking. When Bertle covered the modular trend in auto design many months ago this was already raised and discussed by the B&B.

    • 0 avatar
      Greg Locock

      Yes, and it still looks like the same over-exaggerated story it always did. A/C compressors would be a good example, the one in the Passat is about 50% bigger and more powerful than the one in the Polo. Do you fit the more expensive, heavier unit to Polo? No. Do you fit one that isn’t powerful enough to the Passat? No. I doubt that the additional volume even gives you a cost save in many cases, many components run on multiple tools because their cycle time can’t match the production rates of the cars, so there are no economies of scale after a certain point. For example, low pressure diecast tools for alloy wheels will make 10000 wheels between refurbs, which take a couple of months, so the number of tools is directly proportional to the line rate.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    So a story about modular platforms leads with Toyota’s recall, deflects to GM in the first sentence (never mind Toyota is now up to 8.5 million vehicles recalled in 2014 globally) and then takes VW to the woodshed.

    So Toyota picked on. GM evil and VW MQB is a problem child.

    Did Bertel ghost write this? All that was missing was a rant about left wing politics and how dumb Americans are.

    Interesting study out today using very – not so easily tortured numbers shows that when it comes to responding to real problems – Toyota is at the bottom of the pile and BMW leads the way.

    http://editorial.autos.msn.com/blogs/post–study-mercedes-has-lowest-vehicle-recall-rate-bmw-is-most-responsive-to-repairs

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      Awwwww man ! You another one of those deluded goram GM apologists that can’t handle the truth even when its staring them right in the face point blank ?

      Ugh ! So sure … Toyotas numbers are up again … VW-Audis always have … but its GM thats gone out of it way to deceive for going on over a decade now .

      And then … there is the issue of all GM’s recalls in 2013 … including the new Silverado .. Cadillacs .. and on and on and on … not to mention all those impending recalls just down the pike about to smack us all over the head again

      But even if that were not the case . Need I remind you we PAID and are still paying for GM’s ability to ( bleep ) with our lives ?

      GM apologists . Maybe deluded’s too kind or weak a word when describing their affliction . Hmmn .

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    I agree with the basic premise here but unfortunately the author has left out several key points as to why recalls will only get worse over the years rather than better ;

    1) The fact that more and more key components are being outsourced … and for the most part from 3rd World countries with neither the education – technical background or know how to spot a problem /error before the part finds its was into its intended car

    2) The fact that each and every year cars become more and more complex in the futile quest for the perfect , safe and reliable vehicle .. more often than not circumventing the very laws of physics in the vain attempt to do so creating consequences such as excess and uncontrolled heat etc

    3) The fact that those complex and more of them pieces are being shoved into smaller and smaller areas of the car : more often than not subjecting said pieces to unwanted vibration etc as well

    4) Massive amounts of again .. overly complex Infotainment only adding to the problems

    5) More actual manufacturing and assembly also being farmed out to those 3rd world countries incapable of dealing with complex diagnosis ,, never mind repair / mitigation

    And then … yes … the fact that as more cars are sharing the same parts/platforms means once one goes … like a House of Cards … they all go down

    Guaranteed people . Things will only get a hell of a lot worse before they even begin getting so much as a little bit better …

    With the likes of you and I taking it in the shorts when they do …

    Basta ! Sermon over . Coffee and Donuts in the foyer .

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Points 1 and 5 are the killer (pun intentional). As someone pointed out when they made an analogy between cars and the space shuttle- You’re riding in and trusting your life with a vehicle whose individual parts were all supplied by the lowest bidder.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        That sounds familiar, weren’t the NASA Astronauts in a similar conundrum?

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I believe that was a quote by Gus Grissom shortly before Apollo I caught on fire and killed him…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Sounds about right.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            My bad, it was John Glenn.

            “I felt exactly how you would feel if you were getting ready to launch and knew you were sitting on top of two million parts — all built by the lowest bidder on a government contract.”

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          There is an amazing Apollo documentary called, “For All Mankind” that is nearly 100% archival footage, narration by the astronauts who lived it, and a Brian Eno soundtrack. Over footage over the rocket preparing to launch, the narrator (dunno who it is ottomh) says, “I don’t know how to do 99% of this mission, but I’ll tell ya’ it’s not gonna fail because of me.” That’s how they got it done, even under the constraints of lowest bidders on gov’t contracts. If you could get 1,000 people to step up with that kind of commitment today, you could rule the world. “It’s not gonna fail because of me.”

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            It was Ken Mattingly. The quote is 7:18 into Part 1 posted on YouTube. The extended quote is, “We all are in this together as a team effort. We’re gonna make it work. I don’t know how to do most of this mission, but I do know, that I can assure you, that my piece of it is gonna work. And it won’t fail because of me.” Those are words to live by if any were ever spoken!

          • 0 avatar
            mechaman

            There’s a book, ‘The Rocket Men’ (I think) that detailed just how hard it was to get ONE rocket into space, and the reliablity NASA asked vendors for was something like 99.9% – that still meant that over a thousand parts could fail in the Apollo systems alone. Hey, remember when the Government could do stuff like go to the moon? Oh, it was a trick? Never mind ..

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Paying more doesn’t guarantee quality, and customers don’t like paying more than they have to.

        Even premium products use the lowest bidder.

        Get real, people.

  • avatar

    Isn’t the “Toyota recall” actually a group recalls announced on one day? Each individual recall spans a variety of vehicles, but no single recall includes both Yaris and Land Cruiser. In that, Derek’s final graf contains a significant rhethorical over-reach.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Derek – - –

    I wish the industry could distinguish among various types of recalls:
    1) CLASS A – Pre-emptive, in which the manufacturer feels something MAY be of concern;
    2) CLASS B – Actual, non-life threatening, in which a vehicle has been plagued by small nuisance defects;
    3) CLASS C – Actual, in which major vehicle functions have been affected, but not deaths or serious injuries have been reported;
    4) CLASS D – Actual, critical vehicle failures in which deaths or serious injuries have been reported.

    I believe this would be useful. I would be delighted if I got notified for a CLASS A situation, but it does bring up the question of how long should a make be responsible for his product.
    If I got notified about a CLASS D problem, it would be upsetting, and I’d question the rest of the vehicle.

    ———————–

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      This. My Honda was recalled because a piece of trim on the passenger seat is defective and might get knocked off. We broke it off about a week before they issued the recall–5 years ago–and still haven’t had it fixed because, honestly, it really doesn’t matter. There’s recalls, and then there’s recalls.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        EXACTLY.

        If you do some digging you’ll find the Honda Civic was recalled a few years ago for a missing page in the Owner’s Manual.

        Not all recalls are created equal.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          On some of the Civics, the visors could split open! Just keep the TSB or recall notice in the glovebox in case it happens!

          A co$t-cutting thing I’ve noticed of late, now that Accords are suffering from it–the tint “brow” on the header of windshields is sadly going the way of the dodo! Just this evening, the sun was up high enough that I didn’t need the visor, but if the windshield repair I’m having done tomorrow doesn’t take, I’ll wind up in that same situation. (My 2013′s windshield has the strip.) Just stupid!

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Very helpful, NMGOM – thank you.

  • avatar
    GoFaster58

    They just don’t make ‘em like they used to.

  • avatar
    Vojta Dobeš

    You’re leaving out one part of the equation.

    Sharing same parts among more models means that if the part goes wrong, the recall is larger.

    But, at the same time, it means that there is less variants of said parts to go wrong.

    Which means that there will be bigger recalls, but less of them.

    And it could be argued that since there will be less parts to design, automakers will be able to put more effort into designing each of them, so recalls can, in the end, be more scarce than they are now.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Excellent point.

    • 0 avatar
      FractureCritical

      see, you’d think that, but you’d be horribly wrong.

      the real horror of shared modular platforms, and one that noone has been talking about (yet) is the horrible, ungodly, soul crushing amount of management that must come with the concept.

      Having one widget, let’s say it’s a front subframe bolt, standard across all the cars in the platform means that bolt has to work in an economy car, where cost is supremely important. And it has to work in a diesel car, where drivetrain torque resistance is supremely important, and it has to work in a sports car, where weight is supremely important, and it has to work in an SUV with large tires where traction resistance in supremmely important.

      so you end up with a simple, ordinary bolt that has more engineering and management time devoted to it than say, a Corvette front control arm.

      Then a bolt breaks in a car and kills someone. How did it break? why? was it the application? how many applications? how many cars do we recall? All of them? what if we just do some and and then someone else dies, is it worth it? do we update the platform? stop production to update across all models? If we have to redesign the bolt, do we have to start all over again? what about the next generation of the platform? new models based off this platform? will the bolt be safe for all of it?

      All for a simple bolt. And there are a metric crapload of bolts in a car.

      This is why recalls on modular platforms just got about 5 orders of magnitude more complex. I said abuot 3 years ago taht MQB would eat VW from the inside out. And no one beleived me. I haven’t been prove right yet, but I feel closer everyday. And let’s face it; if ANY MAKER is going to exercise engineering with a reach that exceeds grasp, it’s going to be VW.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    Does it follow that there would be fewer recalls if platforms were not modular?
    Or is the issue not modular but quality control?


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