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Thread: The Carpocalypse

  1. #1
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    The Carpocalypse

    *I'll preface this by saying that I stole the clever title from another forum's discussion topic.

    However, as a car fan (who's become a car-less, "sustainable future" transit-goer), I'm really interested in some serious debate and discussion about the future of the automotive industry. I'm sure it's been done before, however now it has really dawned on me; the potential and likely bankruptcy of Chrysler, GM axing Pontiac (after 75+ years) and selling many of the frivolous brands, major government bailouts, and a general shift in automotive attitudes have all of a sudden sunk in.

    Some reading:


    Every day brings new news about the future (or lack thereof) regarding the auto industry as it is. As car enthusiasts, I think this may be one of the most broadly reaching and important issues that will affect us. What do you think of the (seemingly sudden) crash of the automotive industry, or do you think there will be a savior to be seen in new car markets and more sustainable personal travel options. Many ideas have been entertained before, however I think a time of impending change is upon us and it's time to really think about it. I guess this thread is sort of an Automotive Future Megathread, and I think it'd be really interesting to talk about this and more with like-minded car enthusiasts... or perhaps soon-to-be public transit enthusiasts if the industry crashes even harder than anticipated.
    i was waiting on a moment, but the moment never came. all the billion other moments, were just slipping all away. i must have been tripping, we're just slipping all away. just ego tripping.

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    I guess I should get the ball rolling too, so here's what I think: Intensified urban areas, curbed sprawl, transit-centric transportation corridors (which means streets with right-of-ways and increased priority for rail/bus/subway transit), high speed rail links between cities (especially in countries with large land areas (cough US/Canada)), and less oil-dependent automotive technologies. Burning fossil fuels is so 20th century. It's all a little pie-in-the-sky right now, but I envision a future with my above points, as well as alternatively powered vehicles in everyone's driveways. Wind farms, solar fields, more nuclear power (which can turn into another debate, however I am complete for it).

    Anyway, as far as cars themselves are concerned, North America, along with the rest of the world, really needs to see a more European model adapted. Hell, even Europe can adapt an intensified European model too. Either way, I think we're at the tipping point between the past, and an entirely different future.
    Last edited by zeppelin; 04-28-2009 at 08:02 PM.
    i was waiting on a moment, but the moment never came. all the billion other moments, were just slipping all away. i must have been tripping, we're just slipping all away. just ego tripping.

  3. #3
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    makes u think that these domestics can't play with the big boys.

  4. #4
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    It's a symptom of the major shift away from Specifically the US but most western countries for their manufacturing base - Look at most other major industry and they've shifted the manufacturing offshore. Essentially the systems become too top heavy.

    I don't know why people think Cars are any different to any other piece of consumer tat but for the most part people don't really care where they get theirs from. (cue arguments about buying local...)

    I think it has VERY little do with oil because people are still buying and using vehicles, they just aren't buying these particular ones. Sure a downturn in the economy and a rise in Oil costs accelerates the process, but in the end, we're still driving, aren't we?

    The automotive industry will shift towards where the product is actually being bought and made - Eastern Europe and Asia.
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    The car isn't dying at all. It's merely changing and adapting to the new situation. We've come to a point where we can't really give up on the indepence a car gives us, especially to travel outside the cities. Inside cities the story is probably different, and here the difference between US and Europe (and probably other areas, but I haven't the exprience) really shows. Here in Europe we use public transport a lot, whereas I don't think this is the case in the US.

    Also I don't think there's such a global "carpocalypse", but just that a pair of badly managed north american companies seem to be about to disappear or be absorbed by competitiors. That's not the end of the world as we know it, it's just how bussiness works in capitalism. Other healthier car manufacturers may be losing a bit of money now, but will survive just fine.
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    There isn't a 'carpocalypse' as Ferrer said....there has been a 'econpocalypse' which has sped up an overdue downsizing of a couple of companies too large for their respective market share.

    If the financial crash hadn't happened those companies could have slugged on for who knows how long and slowly shrunk in size albeit too slow.

    I don't see much changing for the next 10-20 years except for a major focus on marketing cars in China which as we all know has already begun.

    Eventually there will have to be more consolidation in the industry IMO.

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    I think it's just the natural shift of economic power from the US to the east. It's been slowly creeping for nearly 30 years now. it's just another facet of the process.

    That and you cannot run such failing business models as GM, Chrysler & Ford have been doing for so long.
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    I think the car is bound to die sooner or later, and this are a sort of symptom.

    We asked for individual commuting, and we ended up colonizing our own cities. Streets used to be a place to meet people, walk, they were full of life. Now you wonder how curved is the road when you have to opportunity to cross it at late night, when no one is there ready to smash you.

    Burning oil fossils could sounds as obsolete, but it's an easy and fast way to produce energy and transport it (with the fuel, of course). Still nuclear power is much more efficient and less polluting (YES, I said less polluting):
    nuclear waste could even be the worst waste you ca think of at first, but unlike CO2, NOx, HC it's manageable. From a strictly industrial engineering point of view, this make it a better waste than air pollution, which once it's produced, it can never being recovered. And, producing air pollution with internal combustion engine, coke energy plants and similars, it can't be avoided, it's a part of the deal.

    Solar energy, wind energy, water/sea/rivers energy are even better, but even more expensive than nuclear power, especially considering they are going to deliver less energy per dollar spent.

    After this prelude, I think car will and probably should, despite being an enthusiast, become like horses: once they were used for work and commuting, now they are a passion.

    Cars are inefficient and pollutant, noisy, dangerous (how many death per year?) and expensive. They may be the individual commuting system, but since we are all usually, from a general point of view, going to the same places, it isn't a big deal. Public transportation, mainly subways, could do the job even connecting cities.
    Generation the electrical power only in larger plants would increase the efficiency of the process rather than creating it on broad of whatever vehicle or using a chemical/thermal transformation.
    Even using cars connected to a general network that provides the energy would be quite efficient, but it would also kill the point of having a single car and not a subway or other larger vehicles.
    For the real individual mobility, electric cars would do the job.

    Everything else sounds like a passion, a dream we would like to live forever, but it isn't the best solution.

    If moving to a more efficient way of commuting, even using almost only public vehicles, could bring us some really enthusiast car, even if just to be used on a track or on the road in a limited way, I would be happy.
    See it this way: when horses were cars of today, everyone had a horse, and the horse wasn't a purebred, it was fair enough. Now, a few people have a horse, but the 90% of them it's a purebred.
    Now think what even a Fiat Punto could be if the necessities of the ordinary guy and average mum could be ignored since they wouldn't bother about a car anymore with a better way of commuting?

    perhaps this is a (complicated) dream as much as cars living forever.
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    In places like Australia and America, where cities are quite spread out and the road network is at least tolerable, the ability to travel within a city and great distances on your own terms is essentially a freedom that no person will be willing to give up.

    Alternative forms of energy? sure. but the idea of personal transportation - in whatever form it comes in - won't disappear again. We're all far too bourgeois for that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by IBrake4Rainbows View Post
    In places like Australia and America, where cities are quite spread out and the road network is at least tolerable, the ability to travel within a city and great distances on your own terms is essentially a freedom that no person will be willing to give up.

    Alternative forms of energy? sure. but the idea of personal transportation - in whatever form it comes in - won't disappear again. We're all far too bourgeois for that.
    I'd say that even in Europe with shorter distances and public transport systems this is the case too.
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    I guess my point is that it's not necessarily the car that will enable users this personal mobility, but certainly, the ability to not have to rely on public or mass transit systems to go about your daily business, and to have a vehicle that can be both driven in a city and great distances, is not something we currently have a viable alternative for, nor will we stand a pale comparison.
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    Quote Originally Posted by IBrake4Rainbows View Post
    I guess my point is that it's not necessarily the car that will enable users this personal mobility, but certainly, the ability to not have to rely on public or mass transit systems to go about your daily business, and to have a vehicle that can be both driven in a city and great distances, is not something we currently have a viable alternative for, nor will we stand a pale comparison.
    I think it will still be a car. Maybe not the one we know and use today, but something similar.

    If we except the fact that it's currently burning a fuel that one day will end, the car as we know it today does pretty good job, as far as as personal mobility is concerned.

    And as you say we're not going to do without that freedom.
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    I also find it a bit laughable when you hear claims of "Sustainable" transport futures etc. All current forms of transport have a cost -whether it's financial, practicality, environmental, feasability etc.

    There has to be a balancing act between harm done and gain acheived.

    Certainly I'm not the biggest proponant of the "Global Warming" agenda (I won't go so far as to say Myth, but certainly it's a bucketload of scaremongering and grant money grabbing that has a grain of truth at it's core) But certainly I agree that Pollution is something we need to control and accept responsibility for as a society. This includes Vehicle users.
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  14. #14
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    Speaking generaly, I believe it's definitly an end to an era, about supercars or sports cars, i don't believe we'll have another Mclaren f1, F40, or anything of that kind, maybe cars like the Elise can survive a bit longer but everything else is bound to die, the car does have a future but without the 'dream' cars i grew up with, the future moves thru alternative fuels and different mobility ideias. Defenitly erasing the fun out of cars and increasing mobility options and fuel economy.
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    Well, some people I know have a bad outlook on American car brands. These people just havn't giving them a chance and I do agree with Ibrakeforrainbows guy, ( nice pic ), there are some people out there that believe in stereotypes and the people that I know are one of the few.
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