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Are 'new car' and 'quality' antonyms?

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--- Quote from: michaeld on 19 March 2006, 07:57 PM ---... Ozbenz said his 280SE was a boy ("I acquired him when he was 11 years old"); my 450SEL is definitely a girl.  How is it that we determine our cars' genders when there are no genitalia? 
--- End quote ---

Really? I though all cars (well, at least large and/or powerful and/or noisy ones) were - like guns - penis substitutes!   ::) ::)

I have had some "girl" cars, too, but my Benzes (despite being part-named after the girl called Mercédès) are all boys. They just seem to me to be "masculine" (whatever the hell that means!) cars.

To answer your question: as I don't believe any post has done so to this point.

New means things that were made a short time ago. It is the [antonym] opposite of old.

Quality refers to the distinctive characteristics or properties of a person, object, process or other thing. Such characteristics may enhance a subject's distinctiveness, or may denote some degree of achievement or excellence. When used in relation to people, the term may also signify a personal character or trait. When used in relation to management, the term may be easily defined as "reduction of variability" or "compliance with specifications".

Quality can be used as a tool of measurement, like metric or Fahrenheit, as it is used to judge both subjects that are esteemed as credible and agreeable as "high quality" and subjects that are viewed as confusing, offensive, unhelpful, or incredible as "low quality." But quality is also used as a positive word, as in the sense of "this is a quality chair." Its antonym can be perceived as poorness, incredibility, unhelpfulness, and a variety of other words that reflect the concept of having low quality.

Quality in itself has no specific meaning or definition as to a standard.

Is one an opposite for the other, NEW  opposite to  QUALITY?

The answer is no!

Are old cars better made than newer cars, arguably no.

Are new cars more reliable than older cars, sadly no, because they have a thousand more add-ons and gadgets, not found in older cars.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, there, Mr. Spock! :-*  I never intended my post title to be a precisely formulated statement conforming to all known principles of logic; rather I was merely trying to humorously communicate the gist of my post topic!  [It is a sad fact of my life that my attempts at humor are all-too-often misunderstood :'(].  I'm asking a question that most people understand: have new cars experienced a drop-off in quality in comparison to older cars?

Actually, both I and others on this forum clearly understand that there is a subjective element to the term 'quality' as it is applied to cars.  See another post I started -,345.msg2264.html#msg2264 - as just one example of this.  At the same time, we are talking about cars here; and cars are concrete, commensurable things.  As such, they can surely be compared and contrasted with other cars from other periods of time.  And there are only so many 'qualities' that most people apply to cars when they consider 'quality': the value and amount of materials, the degree of craftsmanship in assembly, performance, reliability, durability, safety, beauty, comfort, ride, 'driving experience', the list is actually pretty finite.  What actually makes any argument over why one car has greater 'quality' than another subjective is the fact that it depends on one's ranking or prioritizing of that list of 'qualities.'  To wit, if you value durability foremost above all else, you will likely view diesels as having the most quality; if you value performance foremost, diesels may then have the least quality.

Having said this, I respectfully disagree with you: quality DOES have a specific meaning or definition as to a standard when the underlying presuppositions are defined (or listed) and ordered (or ranked).  Let me put it this way: if you are correct, then the statement, "The '74 Mercedes-Benz 450SE is a quality car" would be just as valid as the statement, "The 74 Ford Pinto is a quality car."  But that can't be right; the Pinto was a poorly constructed death trap that exploded on impact! :o  If nothing else, you have to agree with the words of that Supreme Court Justice who said (of obscenity), "I may not be able to define it, but I know it when I see it."  The question at hand is, how do you prioritize your list of automotive qualities, and why do you think a certain car, car maker, or era of cars best conforms to that hierarchy of qualities that you've enumerated.  It may not be as scientifically precise of a discussion as the laws of mathematics, but it is a meaningful discussion nonetheless.

So, for example, your statement, "Are old cars better made than newer cars, arguably no" is perfectly acceptable in the context of our discussion as I intended it IF you proceed to offer your reasoning why such a statement is true.  What do you mean by "better made" and just what are your arguments for saying 'arguably no'?  Now, the sentence you ended your discussion with is very interesting: that reliability has been adversely affected by unnecessary add-on gadgetry.  My question then is, are old cars without the add-on gadgetry more reliable than new cars with it?  And just how important should 'reliability' be in a discussion of 'quality'?

I wonder if the car makers are asking themselves such questions.  If they're not, would they build better cars if they did?

In any event, I really didn't intend to try to play host to a symposium on logic or philosophy of language here: I just wanted to kick the can around talking about cars.

I'm sorry, I had to go back in and modify this because I missed Ozbenzhead's post: You mean Mercedes are boy-cars?  Is that why I got such a good deal on my Benz, because it's one of those "trans-gendered" cars? ???  I should have KNOWN better than to buy a car near Hollywood, CA!!! :'(

Hi there

I was attempting to respond at a higher level and not become specific.  In so far as, humour or not, newer models are not as well made as previously.

Fact is current 'S' class cars are not the ultimate feats of engineering as they once were or a no compromise solution. A mistake recognised by MB after Audi started taking sales away from them.

The current S class leaves that mantle to the Maybach [of which sales volumes only just exceed the number of lunar landings by the space shuttle].

Quality in basic construction and build: well that imrpoves with manufacturing processes, metalurgy and science in general.  Features and safety come with social and political influences together with the huge increase in cars on the road since the W116 first rolled out of the factory.  So one must accept that sat-nav, airbags, crumple zones, distronic and other features [maybe night vision] will be included as and when technology is developed.

So maybe one can say that S class are an improvement over the W116: but will the modern S class still be enjoyed 30 years after their birthday as we enjoy our 116s - I dare say no.  none of us can afford the thousands of currency units that it will cost to replace an ignition control module, or any of the other dozen or so comuter units built into the newer cars.  All these computers designed to improve efficiency, comfort, safety and security will and do, contribute to the 'lead parachute' fall in resale value of the modern car.

Durability of the vehicle as a whole, well there is no argument.  The 30 yr old 116 will survive longer than a new S class or any other Mercedes.

Hi there  ;D

You know BAR, you should come run for office in France, while true, your statements are like those of a french politician !

--- Quote ---Quality in basic construction and build: well that improves with manufacturing processes, metalurgy and science in general.
--- End quote ---

True, true but ....are those improvements actually USED in new cars ? and if so, where and what for ? more knowledge is not enough, one must have a desire to use improvements and right now, improvements are opposed to the ROI god  8)

Manufacturing processes that reduces costs are IN, the rest is OUT. Manufacturing processes that increase PERCEIVED quality is IN, the rest is OUT....

So I propose a WYSIWYG test :

On a well lit table, lay down a 1973 Mercedes W-116 relay next to a 2006 JUNKMOBILE relay. Now imagine that you must use ONE of these relays to power the fuel pump  in a single-engined airplane in which you are seated that is flying over the ocean.  Which relay would you choose ? really ?

While a car is not just a sum of parts, I have seen a LOT of current production car parts whose quality is far inferior to what you find in a W116.

So while the "perceived" quality of a new car definitely surpasses that of a W116 (the fit on modern cars is incredibly good, merci robots), many components are designed for a planned life cycle if not downright substandard. Part X is designed for a statistical MTBF of 2000 days, part Y for 1115 days, and part Z for about 550 days  >:( and so on...modern cars have a very planned life cycle. MTBF : mean time between failures.

Did you know that airbag systems should be completely replaced after 10 years of existence ? that is related to the reliability of their firing mechanisms (pyrotechnics). Replacing these systems with OEM parts is easily equal to the value of most cars when they are 10 years old.

Knowing this, how long do you think that these cars are designed for ?  ::)

Contrary to what most people believe, consumer goods today are often significantly more expensive than in the past. What lasted 12 years now last two but the price is the same in currency (people like to fool themselves into good deals) and not marvelously lower in constant dollars (economist talk taking into account that a dollar of today is worth less than a dollar of ten years ago).

I have a real problem talking about QUALITY with planned obsolescence and only "perceived" quality as a criteria.

My 0.02cts of an Euros's worth


Paris, France


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