Just a few thoughts i’ve had whilst playing this great game, sorry if they’ve been said before or are already planned:
On real car assembly there will be sub-assembly lines for things like front subframe, rear subframe, dashboard. These then get added to the bodyshell as it’s passing down the main line at the appropriate point.
Contents of the front subframe could include: front suspension, front brakes, powertrain (built up in a sub-sub line), and the subframe component iteslf that holds all the bits together.
Rear subframe could include rear suspension, differential (for rear wheel drive cars - another upgrade option for the cars could be drivetrain type which would affect the target market), rear brakes.
The dashboard includes the passenger airbag, any infotainment systems, climate control/heater panel, instruments (another possible upgrade option: std -> electronic -> HUD).
Order of some sections isn’t correct (nit-picking i know!)
For example, on PL, brakes are fitted after tyres, which are fitted after wheels. Brakes should be first, then wheel/tyre sub-asssembly.
Suspension should be after the body shell has been painted, as should windows & wingmirrros and bumpers
Electrics should be before the rest of the interior is done (for wiring loom), and the ancilliary electrics such as infotainment systems fitted as a separate cell or with the other accessories
I could take the current cells and suggest a more realistic order if you wanted?
Different specification of cars
At the moment, once an upgrade is reaserched and added, it’s added to every car on the line. This limits choices for different target markets. It would be better if we could, within a bodystyle, define different specifications such as basic, middle and premium, and choose different options within each one and then set a ratio of bodystyles and specifications to be made at the start of the line (in a new cell perhaps?), with the specification following the car down the line and defining what is fitted to the car at each station. Makes line balancing much harder, but also more accurate to real life car manufacture without seriously compromising the gameplay I think. You could also send different body styles down the same line (such as sedan, wagon, hatchback) needing different parts depending on style.
Within that you could also have different engine types and sizes available, so that you could have 2 or 3 standard models with different engines, a couple of middle, and a premium “halo” model with the big powerful engine. Engines could also be used across different platforms, as in real life, to maximise return on development cost
Quality of product & product development
I understand you are plannning to introduce this later, but I thought i’d add a suggestion here too for you to think on.
Change the way research is carried out so that different teams can be assigned to different areas of the car at the same time, such as body shell, powertrain, suspension etc. As they conduct more reasearch on different areas new features and accessories are unlocked. A higher research level improves product quality as well.
You could also have research into manufacturing to unlock the different cells, and then the different component manufacturing. The quality of the car becomes the sum of the quality of the components, the manufacturing methods and anything else you care to throw in (industrial relations with the workers for example?).
You could also allow the player to purchase in different quality components for the ones they don’t manufacture. It might make the car cheaper, but affect the brands reputation, or make the car so expensive and high quality that you can’t sell it. As each game progresses and you bring more components in-house you need more research teams, increasing fixed overheads but allowing cost reduction from in-house manufacture.
Possible new features/parts for the cars (some mentioned above, some I think you’re already planning)
std instruments / electronic instruments / Heads Up Display
Manual / Automatic transmission
Petrol / Diesel / Hybrid / Electric engine
Straight 4 / Straight 6 / V6 / V8 etc engines
Front / Rear / 4WD
Radio / Premium Radio / Satnav Radio (already kind of in there i know)
Basic suspension / Sports suspension
Twin outlet exhaust
I hope i’ve not repeated too many things already said, or come across as an “arroagnt idiot” in the way i’ve said it on my first post. I’m really enjoying the game, even though it is a bit like real life for me!
If I think of other things i’ll add them to this thread.