To the Editor:
Regarding "Wretched excess: Duplicating vehicle engineering pushes costs and prices higher" (Aug. 17): Automotive manufacturers have always prided themselves on what's under the hood. Changing how automobile engines are designed and built causes a ruckus.
I have a hard time visualizing how the same engine could be used in a Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota and Chrysler without each manufacturer making small changes to the powertrain to make it its own.
Currently, automakers can't agree on items the public doesn't see. For example, no one cares about the motor that drives a power window, but there is not one standard electric motor for power windows.
Capital drives innovation; it is a relationship that is very costly. But the winners are the consumers as they receive the best technology and design the industry has to offer.
If capital costs are out of control, automakers need to agree on common components from electric motors for power windows to drive axles for powertrains.
There have been joint ventures in the past with complicated terms of agreement, but long-term relationships are rare in the automotive world.
Automation Control Engineer