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Autocar - - THIS WEEK - WRITE TO au­to­car@hay­mar­

What’s the point of all the new car tech?

Do­ing the dirty work

An­drew Frankel of­fered an ex­pla­na­tion why the 911, ac­count­ing for only 13% of Porsche’s over­all sales, is im­por­tant to the man­u­fac­turer (‘On bor­rowed time’, 17 Jan­uary).

The 911 is to Porsche what the De­fender is (or was and should be) to Land Rover. In each case, but for dif­fer­ent rea­sons, it dif­fer­en­ti­ates the man­u­fac­turer from any old run-ofthe-mill SUV maker.

It is not enough for th­ese mod­els to ex­ist as mere icons. Frankel made it clear that the 911 still jus­ti­fies its ex­is­tence on its own mer­its.

Land Rover has yet to show that the new De­fender will jus­tify it­self on its mer­its – ie as a no-non­sense, go-any­where, do-any­thing, adapt­able and abus­able work­horse. Your artist’s im­pres­sion on page 18 of your 10 Jan­uary is­sue shows a ‘smoothie’ pick-up fit for pos­ing in, but with­out even cleats for rop­ing a load down, so not ob­vi­ously fit for work. Let’s hope that the good folk at Land Rover still know what is needed. Rod­er­ick W Ra­m­age

Cop­pen­hall, Stafford

The (Model) X fac­tor

I have been sur­prised by the neg­a­tive na­ture of Au­to­car’s cov­er­age of Tesla re­cently. While opin­ions over the com­pany’s in­abil­ity to meet man­u­fac­tur­ing com­mit­ments for the Model 3 have been fair, as­ser­tions over their tech­nol­ogy lead­er­ship wan­ing and a pro­posed in­abil­ity to com­pete with es­tab­lished car mak­ers on cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth.

I re­fer Hil­ton Holloway, author of ‘Tesla: is the fairy­tale set to end this year?’ (17 Jan­uary), to Au­to­car’s on­line ar­ti­cle ‘Will some­body please sell me a new car?’, which de­scribes the all-too-com­mon buy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for con­sumers to­day. While Tesla has fewer cen­tres, the no-com­mis­sion sales process of­fers a more en­joy­able and knowl­edge­able ex­pe­ri­ence. It’ll be in­ter­est­ing to see how many free-to-charge bays are of­fered to Jaguar I-pace own­ers when they visit their deal­er­ship.

Hil­ton’s ar­ti­cle failed to con­vey that, in the elec­tric car era, soft­ware be­comes a defin­ing fac­tor in the own­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence. Whether it’s the abil­ity for the man­u­fac­turer to re­motely di­ag­nose car faults in real time, col­lect road data to im­prove safety and au­ton­o­mous driv­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, or add new fea­tures to their cars ev­ery month, Tesla has a deep-rooted tech­nol­ogy ad­van­tage by be­ing a Sil­i­con Val­ley com­pany with no busi­ness model bag­gage. Mark Wheeler Via email

Tesla the trail­blazer

To­tal dis­clo­sure – I am a Tesla Model S owner. I read, in your 17 Jan­uary edi­tion, Hil­ton Holloway’s ap­praisal of Tesla’s seem­ingly logic-de­fy­ing fi­nan­cial val­u­a­tion, con­sid­er­ing its pro­duc­tion woes.

For me, this ar­ti­cle could only have been writ­ten by some­one so em­bed­ded in the car trade that they com­pletely missed the point of the dis­rup­tion Tesla has brought to the mar­ket.

Holloway cites Porsche and Audi’s im­pend­ing elec­tric ve­hi­cles as fur­ther nails in the cof­fin of a po­ten­tially doomed or­gan­i­sa­tion. It is likely that nei­ther or­gan­i­sa­tion would feel the need to do any­thing, other than lower CO2 emis­sions, with­out Tesla’s in­va­sion of a tra­di­tion­ally lin­ear, slow-paced and me-too in­dus­try.

Tesla of­fers to car en­thu­si­asts like me the op­por­tu­nity to own a piece of the fu­ture and dream of new pos­si­bil­i­ties in car man­u­fac­ture that had not been en­vis­aged un­til Elon Musk came along. Isn’t that what cars should be all about?

If Tesla does in­deed fail, it would leave be­hind a legacy not seen since the be­gin­ning of car man­u­fac­ture. Marc Rocca Der­byshire

Mem­ory lane

With ref­er­ence to Alex Rob­bins’ ar­ti­cle on the Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle and his com­ment that ‘ev­ery one you have ever seen has been sit­ting in the slow lane at 30mph’, I’ll have you know that at about 4.30pm on Fri­day 22 Au­gust 1975, I over­took an eightwheeler in my left-hand-drive 1500 on the A1 north­bound at Stam­ford and achieved just over 50mph while do­ing so. So no more of this false talk of tar­di­ness, thank you very much! Peter Wil­liams (aged 73 and a half)

Mil­ton, Cam­bridge

Wide of the mark

I have al­ways dreamed of a Porsche 911 over the Fer­raris and Lam­borgh­i­nis sim­ply due to its more prac­ti­cal size, but the 991 gen­er­a­tion is sim­ply too big for UK roads, par­tic­u­larly in terms of width.

To read that the next model will be wider brings de­spair. I un­der­stand that this is driven by safety, but surely it is bet­ter to avoid an ac­ci­dent in the first place? Cars are be­com­ing too wide. Jaguar is par­tic­u­larly guilty of this: in my local car park, the F-type and F-pace fill the spa­ces to the ex­tent I can­not see how the own­ers get out.

If the in­creases are due to cus­tomers com­plain­ing about size, surely they should be di­rected to the

The Porsche 911’s in­creased width is a turn-off, claims Rob

Tesla’s tech ex­per­tise is key, Mark says

Beet that! Iconic VW can hit heady pace

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