My friend Tyler and I were just going for a cruise in his new 2016 Ford Focus, and I was truly astonished by one of this car’s very unique and innovative features: the stereo. The stereo is the control unit for this entire car’s electronics system, and is completely built into the dashboard.
If he wants to install new speakers, subwoofers, or a CB radio, then he would need to take apart the entire dashboard in order to reach the back of the head unit where the connections are. On most older cars, stereos and head units are universally interchangeable, but these newer vehicles’ electronics are so complex that they have become almost entirely model specific and non-interchangeable.
It appears that car companies are not making their cars very user friendly in terms of repairs and customization. All of the wires and connections are covered and concealed by plastic panels that are designed so flush that you’ll break most of the mounting clips just trying to remove them. Even when you open the hood of most modern cars, you will have to remove a multitude of plastic covers and panels just to get to the engine. The manufacturers do not want you to see coil packs, valve covers, or air filters, even though some consumers may prefer to see these features.
We both have CB radios installed in our vehicles, which I’ve found to be very useful. For quite a while now, I’ve been trying to figure out why people stopped using them, but the product geniuses over at Honda Headquarters seem to be asking themselves the same question. This article explains how many car companies are coming up with new features for their latest products. Honda has introduced a new vehicle-to-vehicle communication system, very similar to the CB radios of the past, will help drivers to better communicate with one another on the road.
As I started to do more research on the latest automotive innovations, I realized that the car manufacturers are packing so many features into these vehicles that they do not necessarily require as much customization as they may have in the past. Vehicles are coming out of the factory with 9-speaker surround sound systems, back-up cameras, factory subwoofers, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and stereos with wireless Bluetooth capability.
Car companies do not want us to modify their vehicles: they want to engineer a product that appeals to our every desire as the consumer. As a result of this, vehicles have also become harder to customize due to the car companies’ tendency to move towards modern complexity – which means putting an emphasis on everything that is digital and plastic, as opposed to steel and mechanical. Rat rods could become extinct someday!