Feature selection is awful

The way in which features are selected for cars is terrible and needs to be rethought. Among the problems are the following:

  1. Extremely unclear how features will impact sales or profit margins. The naive expectation would be that rare features would lead to higher margins but in fact the opposite is true of the gui because pricing is separate from feature selection and adding (or removing features) doesn’t change the price. One has to memorize the current margin, change the feature selection, and then set a new price with the desired margin.

  2. Pricing in general has unclear impacts. In practice one moves the slider and watches to see if inventory goes up or down, but it is ultimately just a guessing game. Additionally this is happening while prices on inputs are changing, so it becomes a frustrating exercise whereby: you lower prices, sales can go up, inventory goes down, and you lose money. And then in the next moment the pattern reverses. So all the signal about the proper market price gets lost in the noise of expenses. I would rather just price on margin or stock.

  3. Too many features to add to vehicles and it is too complicated to try and keep them consistent across target demographics. If you have add one feature to the basic model you have to add that to all the other models, and then adjust prices on each… It’s a lot of clicking back forth, and then you habe problems with previous iterations of each model sitting in inventory FOREVER with missing features.


Put all features in a table. To the right list demand as a percentage, and premium value in dollars. The demand is the percentage of people who want that feature and the premium is the excess above a base model they will pay for it. Then for each feature select what tier of car it can appear in: economy, basic, mid-level, high-end, luxury.

When a high-end sedan is started it gets features in accordance with the percentages for high-end vehicles, and includes all features of the lower tiers. If the feature is optional for that tier and the demand is 43% then with 43% chance the car will include that feature.

So I know that if I research air conditioning I will get an additional $225 on 43% of the vehicles that include it as an option, because $225 is the premium, and 43% is the demand, and $225 on every vehicle tier above that. That makes it very clear if I even want to research the feature.

Then we really only have the 6 types of cars to keep track of, but can easily manage all features for that type on a single screen.