Pace of change drives a shorter shelf-life

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - NEWS -

ANAL­Y­SIS of new car model in­tro­duc­tions over the past three decades by CAP shows shorter “shelf-life” for to­day’s new ve­hi­cles.

Known in the in­dus­try as “life­cy­cle”, the pe­riod be­tween re­place­ment model in­tro­duc­tions or sig­nif­i­cant facelifts has shrunk from around 10 years in the 1970s and 80s to three to four years to­day.

CAP new car ex­pert David Sav­ille at­tributes much of the im­pe­tus be­hind short­en­ing life­cy­cles to the in­flu­ence of far eastern man­u­fac­tur­ers, who adopted a pol­icy of re­fresh­ing their of­fer­ings more rapidly than the com­pe­ti­tion, as they worked hard to crack Euro­pean mar­kets.

An­other ma­jor in­flu­ence is tougher emis­sions stan­dards, with man­u­fac­tur­ers con­stantly work­ing to meet chang­ing Euro­pean rules. Mo­torists them­selves also con­trib­ute to the need for change as they in­creas­ingly choose cars that will cost them less in CO2-re­lated taxes.

David Sav­ille said: “A model that had an ac­cept­able level of CO2 emis­sions three years ago is now to­tally out of step with the lat­est re­quire­ments. Of­ten, the changes to car de­sign which are aimed at re­duc­ing emis­sions in­volve al­ter­ing the shell of the car, to re­duce weight or im­prove aero­dy­nam­ics, as well as in­tro­duc­ing more ef­fi­cient en­gines.”

He ar­gues that while mo­torists ben­e­fit from ad­di­tional choices, they also pay for the shorter shelf-life.

He said: “On the face of it the new car con­sumer re­ally ben­e­fits by al­ways hav­ing a choice of bang up-to-date mod­els to choose from. But this can also have a neg­a­tive ef­fect be­cause most buy­ers have a car that they need to dis­pose of.”

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