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
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
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)
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