So I’ve been running an idea through my head that I wanted to run past everyone. The idea is to sort of complicate the underlying idea of what makes the car desirable to “customers” but might make more sense when you look at how I think most of us view the car buying process. The idea is to grade different components of the car since I think that is sort of how most of us would sort of look at a car. As of now I thought that the following groupings would make sense.
Features rating: Installed features vs expected features and competitor features.
Quality rating: Overall quality of the car vs average class quality. Additional quality checks would increase rating. You could also add in the idea of different quality levels for different parts.
Performance rating: Performance parts added vs expected performance for the class. This would mainly be through the engine and transmission but other parts could be added in the future.
Safety rating: Safety parts added vs available parts/competitor cars/what is expected in class. Things like ABS and airbags would be included in this.
Value Rating: Overall score of all the other ratings and competitor models vs cost of the car.
An example of how this works would be like this. You are making a mid-range sedan. You add several additional quality checks that would increase the cars quality over what is expected in the car’s class. When you get to the engine section you use the cheapest and lowest quality available engine (something like a 4 cylinder with no turbo). A mid-range car would expect a 6 cylinder or turbo 4 of a certain quality so the performance and quality rating would suffer. When you get to features you use a better than normal quality aircon (so the part costs a % more than the base aircon) since aircon is common. Since aircon is common you wouldn’t get a boost to your features rating but you would increase the quality rating since it is a better part. However, in-car radio is rare so you use a cheaper radio (so the part costs a % less than normal) which drives down quality slightly but increases your car’s features rating. At the time this car is built there are no safety features so it would get an A by default since it is as safe as anything else being sold. So at the end you get a total rating for each category which all feeds into a value rating.
One positive on this is that it makes it easier (I think) to implement customers for the cars. So a customer would have a body style in mind as well as a price range. They could then have certain researched features they think should be on the car that are deal-breakers (so if ABS is researched to the point where it is rare/common on a car a buyer may refuse to buy any car that doesn’t have that regardless of everything else). Lastly each customer could then have minimum ratings for all the categories. So you might have one buyer that isn’t worried the car is iffy on quality because it is the best in class when it comes to performance. Likewise, you might see customers buying a terrible performing car because it is feature rich and a good value as such.
I also think that it makes it a little easier to make cars that fit a particular niche if that is what you want your car company to be. If you want to be a value car company you can be that. If you want to be a company that is driven by having the safest cars (Volvo for example), you can easily do that. And if you wanted to compete in the higher end markets (BMW, Audi, etc…) you’d have to push quality and performance (and to a lesser degree, features).
I also was thinking there are a few other things that might need to be tweaked. First is that the name compact doesn’t quite make sense right now. When you say compact I think of a class of car, not a body style. A compact car is a certain size of car that can be a sedan, hatch, or coupe. I’m actually ok with compact being a class of car that is built but sedan should be changed to something like mid-size and there should probably be a full size above that (and a sub-compact below compact if desired).
The break points between car price classes should also be dependent on car size. A mid-range compact should start at a lower price point than a mid-range mid or full size car. Likewise a luxury compact car should be less than a mid or full size. A real life example would be something like an Audi A3 series or BMW 1 series. Those cars max out at 50k fully loaded (unless you get the pure performance model like an RS or M models, then you are pushing 60k-70k). Anything else more expensive in that size is likely classified as a sports car and is a different segment that you would market to anyway. In order to keep jumping up in price you are going to get a bigger car. So you’ll pay 30k to 40k for a A8 or 7 series not because it has a bunch more features but because it is a bigger car (the A8 is roughly 3 feet longer than an A3 for example).