Hamburger for the Price of Steak!

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The luxury car no longer exists – except as a badge and a price. And a memory. There being increasingly little, if any, meaningful difference between luxury-badged (and priced) vehicles and those that aren’t.

What is the difference, for instance, between a loaded Toyota Camry and a Lexus ES350? Or a VW Atlas and an Audi Q5? It is nothing like the difference between A Chevy Chevette and a Cadillac Sedan de Ville. That latter comparison is helpful in understanding the differences that no longer exist.

The Chevette was an economy car made by GM’s Chevrolet division made for about ten years, between 1976 and 1987. It was a car almost as basic a Model T Ford, except that it was available in more than just one color. That’s a stretch – but not much. A Chevette did not come standard with air conditioning or even a radio. The latter two were available as options, but most of the equipment that is today taken for granted – that is standard – in literally every new car, irrespective of price, such as climate control AC, power windows and locks, intermittent wipers, a stereo, electric rear defroster, cruise control and full instrumentation – was either optional or unavailable.

You could not buy a Chevette with power-adjustable leather seats and so on because why would you? If you wanted such luxury features, you were willing to pay extra for them. The whole point of a car like the Chevette was to avoid paying for such things.

And things such as heated seats, LED headlights and interior mood lighting weren’t available in Cadillacs when Chevettes were available. Today, such things are standard in Sedan deVille equivalents – and they are usually available (often standard) in today’s Chevette-equivalents.

This is good for those who don’t want to spend Cadillac money to get what Cadillacs – and their kind – didn’t even used to offer.

But it is bad for the luxury car badges. Because why bother?

Or rather, why spend?

Most significantly – most definitively – the Chevette and all other economy cars were powered by four cylinder engines. A Sedan de Ville came standard with a V8. So did practically every other luxury-priced car. It was what defined such a car. Or rather, it is what separated one from an economy car.

It is the same kind of difference that separates hamburger from steak. If you’re paying steak money, it’s unsatisfying to find hamburger on your plate.

Or a four cylinder engine under the hood.

Yet almost every 2023 model year luxury-badged – and priced! – vehicle comes standard with the latter. This includes models like the Mercedes E-Class and the BMW 5-Series, the Audi A4 and A6, the Jaguar XF, the Genesis G70 and – bringing things around full circle – the Cadillac CT5.

Interestingly – depressingly – every one of the above comes with the same four cylinder engine. A 2.0 liter four cylinder engine. It is not the identical 2.0 liter four cylinder engine; each is made by its respective manufacturer and they vary – slightly – in terms of the parts being not interchangeable and the output being different. But is this a difference with much distinction?

When you bought a Sedan de Ville, you got at least a 7.7 liter (472 cubic inch) V8 engine. This was quite a difference vs. what you got when you bought a Chevette – which you could not get with a V8 engine, at all.

Today’s Chevette analogs, on the other hand, almost all come standard with – here it comes! – a 2.0 liter four cylinder engine. The 2.0 liter engines in modern Chevettes (which aren’t anything of the kind, really, if you define Chevette-ness by the absence of luxury amenities such as climate control, power windows and locks, cruise control, a good stereo and – in almost every case – a standard automatic transmission) aren’t as powerful as the 2.0 liter fours that come standard in luxury-priced cars.

But is that a difference with any meaningful distinction?

The luxury brands seem to be aware that it is, evidence of that being the absence of advertising of the hamburger they’re selling at steak prices.

One does not see “2.0” badges on the flanks of modern luxury-brand cars. Indeed, one often sees a badge that reflects what you used to get when you paid steak prices – and didn’t get hamburger.

For example, the current (2023) Mercedes E-Class sedan still carries badges that read “E350” – which used to signify the 3.5 liter V6 that was the least you got when you paid for steak. If you paid more, you got exactly that – in the form of the V8 that’s no longer offered with the E-Class sedan.

It’s not even standard anymore in the S-Class sedan, Mercedes’ top-of-the-line (and six-figures to start) luxury sedan. $114,500 will buy you the S450 – which comes with a V6. The “450” used to denote a V8.

But the memory fades.

At least you can still get a V8 S-Class, the S580  . . . if you can afford to pay $124,000.

As for the rest, they might as well be Chevettes. At least insofar as the hamburger under their hoods.

. . .

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51 COMMENTS

  1. I’d love to say I’m like all of you, but grew up with Leased cars and SUV’s in my household, with me bucking the trend owning a few cars (TT, A4, Mustang, Ram, Bronco)

    Still, I remember my dad’s old Bengal era 750Li and his ’14 A8L being unique with their big engines and comfort, him going over 100 on Mexican highways in them and even now, with his Range Rover Diesel and Mom’s Range Rover Sport Supercharged, standing out.

    That said, ya want luxury, ya gotta pay for it, either by getting used and getting raped via maintenance, or buying new for big bucks. Other than that, I can get a Mustang or Challenger for BMW $$$ and have a much better car (Oh, and AWD? I’ll just get snow tires instead), and if I want cheap thrills, a Toyobaru.

    Hopefully the inevitable recession and the battery issues are death blows to this EV/downsizing push, a black plague that gives birth to a new automotive Renaissance

  2. Eric – forget luxury sedans, even the high performance luxury sedans now have 2l 4 cyl engines ! The new C63s – a car which always had a large V8 with 2 turbos now has a 2l straight 4!

  3. Hey, all you smug sh*ts that thought you were middle class by whoring out for “the man” for some crumbs and trinkets. Surprise! It’s a big club and you ain’t in it!

  4. Buy an old diesel Rabbit and keep it going.

    “I want to buy beef, but I don’t want to buy the whole cow.”

    A comment from a friend at the grocery store here back some days ago.

    If I’m going to buy a car, it doesn’t have to be an EV.

    Not many car buyers are that enthused about buying an EV, no matter what color or make.

    50,000 dollars buys parts and fuel for a long time for a Rabbit or a Suzuki.

    When the gov says you cheated because you knew what to do to pass emissions, you’re the guilty party. Don’t want to admit they are not playing fair. All the gov does is find fault in anything and anybody, you’re the target.

    Whether you are you or VW or Suzuki, the gov will track you down and go all Waco.

    You are the ignorant no-good filthy swine.

    You can see a pattern. East Palestine has been assaulted, not by the toxic cloud, no, it is under assault by a toxic gov.

    The insult is the 1,100 dollars offered to the residents by Norfolk Southern. That’s a measly 5,500,000 5,000,000 dollars in reparations per resident. Totals 25,000,000,000 dollars.

    It’s only fair. Fork over the money.

    !00,000,000,000 for Ukraine to wage war, stiff East Palestinians.

    Tractors, combines and road rigs won’t be electrified.

    EVs are electrified and are even electri-fried.

    Drive, well, you’re not driving if you aren’t paying attention, slame one into a fire engine at an emergency scene and earn an instant Darwin Award.

    Might want to re-arrange a few priorities.

  5. Ex-BIL had a Chevette in tan, in Texas. No air except the roll down type. It served a purpose for people who needed basic transportation without going broke. Good gas millage IIRC. Early 1983.

    I watched the movie Ford vs. Ferrari the other night. Carol Shelby, Ken Miles, Le Man’s, a “Can/Will Do attitude.” sigh.. How far we’ve fallen.

    • Hi Manse,

      “Affluenza” is a deadly disease. When the Chevette and basic cars like it were available, most people lived within their means – or even below them. If you could not afford a car with AC, power everything – and so on – then you didn’t buy one. Now everyone has one – and many of them live paycheck to paycheck, utterly beholden to their job and so completely under control. The devil’s bargain of debt – you can have everything! – has left many of us with nothing.

  6. Not the V12s, arrg. Now the Hemi V8 too, it’s all gone bad.

    Kids and young adults have no clue what a comfortable ride those sleds were. My buddies Mark IV was a wonderful way to carpool to work. Then cars had “editions” such as Bill Blass, Cartier, etc. His had velour cloth seats that would put a LazyBoy to shame. Real seats for normal and plus size Americans. All day interstate travel in total comfort vs today’s ear ringing road noise and numb hands from that 4 banger peasant motor vibrating thru the steering wheel. There’s no substitute for body on frame and a smooth V8.

    Kids not hip to body on frame? Frame structure for engine, transmission, rear axle and front suspension. The body was mounted to the frame with big rubber doughnuts, you were isolated from the brutish nastiness of the roadway. My GM cars had a fabric reinforced rubber part that isolated the upper steering shaft from the lower shaft/steering box. No steering wheel vibes!

    They weren’t all wallowing land yachts either, the 73-77 Monte Carlo Chevys had shockingly nimble handling. Rumor was Delorean had the engineers retune the suspension to emulate his Mercedes, we had several in the rental fleet I worked for they were a blast to drive. One lot kid got a bit over confident and planted one in the Green River on the way back from the Dealership, 9 miles on the clock. He was OK, that aircraft carrier size hood kept the bad stuff a long ways from you!

    • With respect, Sparkey. I’ve been a mechanic for more than 50 years and I remember those “sleds” you talk about. Sheesh, they were like describing dating a woman you’d go out with who was as ugly as the back of a Mack Truck, but she had big tits.

      Cars on the road these days look so strange to me. I can remember when there were OLD cars being still driven. Does everyone just drive a new car these days? Heck, even in the terrible earthquakes in Turkey, I notice that among the smashed and flat buildings there are nice looking, late model cars. It just seems weird.

      So what do I drive? My old 1980 Chevy K1500, Silverado Pick-Up truck. And, yep, original paint (and 300k miles on her, and ice-cold AC).

      • Hi Doc,

        I will say this for the old dreadnoughts – which I’ve driven and owned: They were luxurious in ways no modern car is. What I mean by that is they were soft and plush. Totally contrary to the “sporty” character of today’s not-really-analogous cars. These latter have buckets seats and center consoles; they have much firmer suspension calibrations and far more precise steering. They aren’t sports cars, of course – but they do try hard to be . . . sporty. The old dreadnoughts didn’t – and it was marvelous, if you liked the experience of driving a sofa and having your sweetie snuggled up against you, rater than separated from you by a center console!

        • Hi Eric. Love your column and thanks for making posting a comment EASY.

          Yeah on your points. I started out fixing cars at a car-rental company in the early 1970’s. I still remember the first Monte Carlo they pulled into my stall and my sitting in the front seat – amazed that I could not reach the door handle on the passenger side without sliding across.

          Little secret. I spent almost all my 50 years as a “Wrench” working on British cars and those Rolls Shadows and Clouds were even worse than the Monte Carlo I mentioned.

          Ah, the good old days!

          • Thanks, Doc!

            A number of years back, I passed up on the chance to buy a ’72 Fleetwood Brougham d’Elegance. The thing was – truly – a dreadnought. My then-wife had never experienced anything like it. I would have bought it except for the painful lack of a place (indoors) to store it. And – being someone who cannot abide leaving a classic car outside, I was forced to abstain.

            Sigh.

          • Re: rental fleets and reliability, we had enough Novas and Apollos that statistical info was right in our face. Majority were decent, reliable but obviously mass produced. The negative end of the curve were three ‘74 Novas that were monsters – carb problems, dead starter, parts falling off including the key in the column bezel making it about impossible to start the car. Worst was when the rear axle mount failed, axle slid back locking the emergency brake, exciting at 60!

            Top three, two Novas and an Apollo – the tolerance stars aligned for those and were so good you would think they were hand built with perfect parts.

      • PS: Oh, that’s 300k miles on the SECOND engine. I got almost 500k on the original engine. I dug out the paperwork the other day as was wondering how much money I had put into that truck, over the years (not much). I spent $1890.00 on the new engine and that included a used replacement block that I just happened to have laying around (bores in old one needed sleeves but block I put in her was standard bore with a quick polish-up hone). My labor on my own stuff comes cheep – Think it was a 3-six pack job, as I recall….

  7. I grew up being transported around by my parents in the backseat of two very different Chevettes. The first was a 1977 two-door base model in turquoise with black vinyl seats that would get so hot you couldn’t wear shorts in it without burning your skin (I don’t remember it having air conditioning). I hated that car. My father neglected it and cracked the engine block by repeatedly filling the radiator with water. After replacing the engine, he traded it for a 1978 Chevette in ’79 that was much nicer. That one was a four-door in dark red with cloth seats and I believe it did have air. I took my first (illegal) solo drive in that Chevette when I was 14 (needed to get to my high school for some document or something). My father eventually traded it for a 1980 Citation in ’86. That car was soon stolen and stripped.
    I will always remember those Chevettes. They were good on gas.

  8. Thanks for bringing some memories from my youth. Pontiac made a version of the Chevette called the T1000, which was my first car. I bought it used in the 1980’s after working all kinds of jobs available to a kid working illegally in NY for several years before I turned 16. I was able to buy one after leaving NY (where driving at 16 was already illegal in the late 80’s). It was a complete piece of junk; made from compressed rust, the glove “box” didn’t even have hinges, the plastic simply flexed to open it, and of course it broke off, but I loved the damn thing. I learned how to time an engine, tune carbs, and do basic maintenance on that thing, because I could afford to buy parts and the car was simple. I loved that piece of crap.

  9. In the late 70s, my cousin inherited a 76 Chevette “Scooter” model, about as bare-bones as you could get. No carpet, no back seat — those were options. It did have one option, though: an AM radio.

    It was ugly, pathetic and gutless, topping out at 20 over the national speed limit. GM should have used a toggle switch instead of a throttle.

    We road-tripped it from the midwest to California and back. (It sure helped being young and flexible!) On the high-elevation grades in Yellowstone, it could barely do 20 mph. Like most Detroit iron of that era, it succumbed to rust before Reagan took office.

  10. I’m dreading the day the hemi 5.7 goes away, but it’s here, gone next year. It’s replacement is their new 3.0 straight 6 w/2 turbos. On paper, it appear it outperforms the old 5.7 by a nice margin. But the real world test will be are you always under boost to do the same things the old 5.7 did without? It has to be with only 3.0L, right? Even running at 70mph on a 5000lb truck could be in the boost. Certainly towing, which I’m doing right now for 3000 miles.
    I’ve read that these new engines are under higher boost pressure than we have typically seen in the recent past. They are making two versions, a standard output and high output.
    Can’t wait for Eric to test one, as they are supposedly avail in their Grand Wagoneer now, although I’ve yet to see one. And of course they are direct injected now.
    I’m guessing we will see them in the Ram in 2024, as they ramp down the hemi production and ramp up the 3.0-6-TT.

  11. OT but… my car insurance just went up 36%. Nothing has changed. No accidents or claims in 30+ years of driving. Just inflation. Will cost me an extra $500 a year. Yes, I will be shopping it around ASAP.

    Also, relatives of mine had to cut a $2000 check to cover escrows on a similar % increase on their homeowners insurance. They’ve got it but these kinds of things must be pounding folks everywhere these days.

    • Hi Funk,

      About a year ago, I dropped Geico after they summarily increased their extortion payment by about $100 – for no reason having anything to do with me. No “accidents,” no “tickets.” Nothing. I was lucky in that I found another company that charged me less than Geico had been charging.

      That said, I’m done if it happens again. I am getting close to the point of not giving a damn about “the law” – or its consequences. The consequences for obeying it making it not worth doing so. I tire of being a milch cow.

      • I think often of leaving the reservation entirely, my only concern being how to deal with the road pirates/order-followers and the kangaroo courts I may also have to interact with. I’m currently educating myself on ‘mans law/opinion’ regarding the latter.

        There’s plenty of patriot mythology out there; how much is true? I can’t say.

      • It’s complete BS and I hear you on maybe not taking it anymore but…. I got pulled over a few weeks ago for the first time in 5 or more years. I was passing a 3 car conga line of absolutely prionic drivers evenly spaced about 10 yards apart drifting between 51 and 45 mph in a 55 zone. Just as I was pulling out to pass them all at about 65, there was a sheriff’s pickup parked on the shoulder of the oncoming lane with his radar on. Honestly, it felt like a setup. I have never seen such a situation in my life. I looked him right in the eyes as I safely executed the pass and he put his lights on immediately. I knew he was coming for me, so I pulled over. We had a polite little back and forth and I, while not admitting anything directly, mentioned the unduly low speed of the three cars and how my passing maneuver was executed safely and expeditiously. Guess what? He agreed with me! Of course, he took my “papers” and came back in a few minutes with an unofficial warning only to slow it down “a little.” I really don’t want to imagine what might have transpired if my papers weren’t “in order” and when it comes to registration, you need the tapes (the insurance) to make the records (renew registration). It’s a total racket but you’ve got to pick your battles wisely.

        • So why in the hell did this “legally entitled to oppress”…”officer” pull you over in the first place, if he agreed with what you were doing? You were not breaking any laws, so why did he not just leave you alone to go about your merry way? It is times like these, that I just want to live out in the middle of nowhere, where there are no people. Aaah, I surmise a bit of Heaven would be driving on the road where there is no one but you…

          • Mt. Antero in Colorado, a Fourteen-er, is ash, mud, and rock. Buried in it all are gems, topaz, aquamarine, smokey quartz, all kinds of crystals. If you find one topaz crystal, there will be more. The place is chock full of gemstones.

            There won’t be that many people there.

            You can stake a claim and join the rest of the gem hunters digging into the mountain side. Lots of room on the north face of the mountain, you are not alone, plenty of room to dig up some treasure, though. Just work your claim, if you have a problem, others can help if necessary.

            Watch out though, there are claim jumpers out there too.

            You’ll be in the middle of nowhere.

            Plus, it’s the Rocky Mountains.

            You’ll have 75 days to get in and back out.

          • I’m not really sure of the exact legality of exceeding the speed limit to pass cars clearly going well below it. I took a quick look online and the answer seems to vary greatly. Ultimately, though, I think these “gray area” types of stops are simply another excuse to check you out, see if something like an expired registration, unpaid ticket , “burning” or alcohol smell comes up so you can become a statistic used to demonstrate their “usefulness” and “necessity.” BTW, the deputy who pulled me over was about 22 years old and his uniform looked like battle fatigues from Fallujah. I think the computer tells them when to pull people over nowadays.

            • Years ago, we had a lovely bout of freezing rain in the middle of February. Was driving a crappy Pontiac then which also did not have the best tires. I had good speed and momentum as I was getting ready to go up a hill. I passed 5 cars going up that hill, praying to God that no car would suddenly pop up in the other lane at the top. For I knew I would never make it up that icy hill going as damned slow as those 5 cars. I was going too fast for my own comfort but I made it to the top and did not encounter any oncoming traffic.

        • You could always claim ‘doctrine of Competing Harms.’ Prionic drivers are a relatively new risk factor, but could work.

    • No one should be buying insurance from any party other than an independent agent. If it gets too pricy, tell them you’re going shopping, and they WILL find you a better deal. I’ve done it many times. There’s a lot of money in commissions off insurance policies, and they don’t want to give it up. I know, because I briefly engaged in it, until I discovered my ethical standards would not permit me to continue.

    • Just as a P.S., it’s unreal how ALL of these insurance companies are fully into the cultural Marxism of DEI and ESG. Their websites literally ooze hatred of straight white males and I am required, by law, to do business with them in order to drive a car.

  12. The irony is, with today’s ‘luxury brands’ you get even less quality than you do with the run-of-the-mill stuff. Have you ever seen a modern Jaguar or Range Rover with 300K miles on ’em? -as can be racked-up quite easily on a Toyota Camry or even a Corolla. If you ever see a Jag or Range Rover or Audi with even 150K miles on it, it’s owner will likely be in the poor house, having spent a literal fortune to keep the thing going.

    Time was when if you paid MORE for something, you got not only more in terms of features/performance, but more in terms of reliability and durability and long-term value. NOW, expensive fancy things just have more to go wrong with them; are festooned with Rube Goldberg-like engineering to provide ridiculous features, which seem to have taken the place of size and quality when it comes to the things which distinguish a ‘luxury car’ from others, and are of all cars the most disposable and the ones which depreciate the most- as you can find ’em (often with less than 100K miles) often selling for less than a Honda of equal age (even if the Honda has twice the mileage)- and Gawd help the person who buys thge out-of-warranty luxury car, as it will break them (as IT will be constantly broken) or quickly be sent to the shredder if the purchaser is smart and cuts his losses early.

    Quite a difference from the days when Caddys and Lincolns were designed for livery/limo service, and you could easily get 400K miles from one with virtually no problems…..

    Talk about what we have lost! Thing is, we have lost it so fast; overnight! -and all while they regale us with “the marvels of modern technology”- but that technology has ruined the simple, reliable, durable mechanical and electro-mechanical things we used to have, while creating the infrastructure that enables the wholesale theft of our liberty….buyt we ooooo and aaahhhhh if we can press a button and watch the tailgate open itself, instead of having to pull a latch to open it…… [sigh]

    • High end cars are made to be leased. Turn ’em in when the lease is up and the maintenance schedule is someone else’s problem. Better yet, get your employer to pay for it as a “perk” of being the GSM.

      Exotics are made to be stored, not driven. Despite what Ferrari says. Everything is a wear item.

    • Jaguars never did have a sparkling reputation for reliability. In fact, it was a joke, “why can’t Jaguar make a successful sports car? Because there’s no back seat for the mechanic to ride in”.

  13. Power seats really show how cheap it is to make electric motors has become. And how difficult it can be to fit different assemblies into the line can be. If you have to train a line worker to read a build order, pick the correct seat (including color), align it correctly so the slides don’t bind, connect the side-impact air bag (another reason why 6 way adjustable seats are the norm is because airbags kill and injure people who aren’t lined up just right) AND make sure the thing actually fits… well, that’s just too many steps. Can’t replace the high dollar 100 IQ worker who complains with a 92 IQ weekend drug enthusiast who knows his/their place if the job’s too hard.

    Henry Ford’s River Rouge plant was designed to take in raw material and output cars. These days it intakes subassemblies and outputs mostly completed cars. A lesson taught by the Japanese was to have the high tech assembly plant fed from hundreds of small jobber shops that might have their own subs. Show off the Toyota workers doing morning calisthenics in their bright clean jumpsuits, don’t show the old man in the back of his house running a metal lathe from dawn to dusk. OM can’t keep up with the production run? Well, that’s not going to end well.

    When China opened up it was simple to move all those contracts to mainland Chinese production. And China was hungry for business so they were willing to work for a low enough wage to make up for the high reject rate. Customer gets power windows for same price as manual and assembly isn’t as critical because there’s no hole to line up on the door card. China reduces defects and starts making money. Manual windows and seats become lost art and more expensive because they’re different.

  14. “One does not see “2.0” badges on the flanks of modern luxury-brand cars. Indeed, one often sees a badge that reflects what you used to get when you paid steak prices”

    All part of the lying culture that exists now.

    • Another word for the lying culture as it exists now, Pretend-itis.

      Pretending the Flu will wipe out humanity.
      Pretending cloth with a 5 micron pore size can keep out sub-microbial whatever’s
      Pretending men can be women
      Pretending we are an exceptional country.

      I’m sure the list is endless. The Pretend-itis is now weaponized and virulent. The MSM are the super spreaders.

  15. It all comes back to the Watermelon Brigade. The Green on the Outside, Red on the Inside communist environmentalists.

    Unless and until they are stopped nothing will change. This includes the ESG Blackrocks of the world and their corporate hangers-on.

    What I find most interesting is that the “evil” hydrocarbon industries, for all their alleged power, are going along with their own destruction. Do they really think it will stop if they acquiesce?

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/how-blackrock-larry-fink-created-global-energy-crisis/5799286

  16. ‘One does not see “2.0” badges on the flanks of modern luxury-brand cars.’ — eric

    Nope. Just as one does not see “Nuremberg 2.0” trials for vaccine murderers (yet).

    ‘At least you can still get a V8 S-Class, the S580 … if you can afford to pay $124,000.’ — eric

    Actually it’s rather hard to believe that the upcharge for a V8 — as opposed to a base V6 or I4 — needs to be this high.

    Resonantly it rhymes with the early 1930s, when auto makers desperately scrabbled upmarket with V16s to cater to the only still-liquid folks — the resplendently rich — as mere wage-earners hunkered down in survival mode to buy bread for eating and coal for heating.

    Glitches are starting to appear in the Matrix. Spreading homeless camps; fentanyl deaths of middle class kids. Any news from the eastern front, comrade?

  17. Coming from both directions. Luxury cars offering little advantage, and economical cars coming with more “standard” equipment, whether you want to pay for it or not. The usual result of socialism, reduction to the lowest common denominator.

    • Factories run at peak efficiency when they make one product, no variables. Note that BMW and Tesla have added software locks on some accessories. Just pay the ‘low’ monthly fee and you cant have Plad, heated seats, data recording, or (mostly) autonomous cruise control.

      https://www.repairerdrivennews.com/2022/07/13/bmw-begins-offering-vehicle-features-by-subscription-in-some-markets/

      The hardware’s there, just needs the unlock code. That’s similar to what Cisco and other network companies have done for years, sell the same hardware just license what the customer needs. Fine in a data center, but not all that efficient to be hauling around dead weight that the customer isn’t ever going to use.

      Of course reality is, software unlocks are just going to be another negotiating tool for the salesman. Don’t like the price? Well, how about I throw in a years’ worth of automatic high beams?

      • But, and it’s a big butt, they could charge out the extra cost of superfluous stuff most people are unconcerned about, and make at least a closer to basic car as the one with “no variables”.

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