Understanding the Car as a Natural System
Chapter 15: Concluding remarks
For a sustainable automotive future we need to bring product and production system together. On the product side this is relatively easy - plenty of products exist that would deliver an order of magnitude more efficient personal motorized transport. However, we are stuck with the legacy of the existing regime, the Ford-Budd-Sloan automotive ecosystem. How do we shift this? How can we start from where we are - i.e. with a system dominated by large corporations that each manage a portfolio of brands and products, dependent on high volumes of overweight and over-complex cars to break even - and yet end up with a sustainable industry making sustainable products? We need to explore what these companies actually do now. Do they just design and make metal boxes with internal combustion engines in them, or is the reality a bit more complicated - are they not in fact systems integrators? One problem is that many observers - and indeed many in the industry - treat the car as a transport system, or at least they often present their arguments as if they do. In reality, transport is only part of the car system. The car is at least as much a cultural artefact; it is as personal as clothing or jewellery, a key part of a person's image and part of the way they present themselves to the world.
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