Another Rotten Apple

It is unusual for me to rant about the same company two days in a row, but my current favorite Apple, has raised my concern. This morning I read a news bit about Apple developing a car. I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh my ass off. This company that sits on a mountain of cash because of its current product line which they pretend to know a lot about is looking at getting into something they know nothing about. Excuse me Apple, but when you get your existing computers, and software right maybe you can take on a new project.

All day long I kept getting visions of an Apple car streaming through my mind. Like driving along in  my Apple-aero when a message on the dash display reads “Upgrade available, download immediately. Push not now or it will happen automatically in 59 seconds.” Or how about a sudden shutdown that lasts for an instant and then resumes as if nothing has ever happened. Since we are all smart and believe in keeping our Apple products current we upload each new upgrade as soon as it arrives, but then the car does not work with any of the government infrastructure like auto slow, or stop for red lights because the Apple gurus decided older car models didn’t need the feature anymore.

Cars-Funny-Crash-Image.jpg

Maybe I’m getting excited prematurely, but I just don’t see these guys owning the smarts it takes to design and build a car.

I had another flash that I was driving along when the car changed directions. A message flashed on the dash display, “your route has been changed to take you to the XYZ donut shop to take advantage of the daily special.”

I’m driving along when the message says “connection lost, manual intervention required.” I panic as I don’t know how to get to the destination without a functioning GPS, and I can’t ask SIRI because the system is down.

I’m sorry Apple, but you haven’t convinced me that your computer scientists know how to dress themselves, and the thought of having them design a car for me is scary as hell.

Another message appears, “Upgrade required to fix bugs in the braking, and steering systems.”

Toyota Finally Convinced Me

This afternoon I took the Death Star to the Toyota dealer for some attention. As usual I checked in at the Service Department, and walked through the shop to the customer waiting area. The engineer in me always scans the shop for the population of Cadillacs, and Toyotas being serviced. This time a Tacoma pick up truck caught my eye. It was in the air on the rack, but did not have the bed. A closer look revealed that it didn’t have wheels, suspension, engine, transmission, drive train or anything else either.  All of it lay on the floor in neat piles around the body. Nothing looked damaged and I wrote it off as a project to build a hotrod. That didn’t make sense either so I crossed the yellow line and asked  a technician about what he was doing on this vehicle.

Here is what he told me: The truck was recalled by Toyota for a rusted frame, and this truck was in the process of having it’s frame replaced. Owners were offered a replacement frame, or a buy back at 150% of the truck’s value. “What was the problem,” I asked?

The frame manufacturer, a US company, skipped a cleaning step after forming the frame, and the primer did not stick to the metal. That allowed moisture to get at the steel, and caused it to rust. Recalls do not happen unless people die from the defect, so these trucks must have been crashing because of frame failures.

I am totally impressed with Toyota’s analysis of the problem and getting to the root cause. I have written about my early experiences with Toyota when they first arrived in America. I was a young man firmly convinced that small cars were more gas efficient and therefore polluted the atmosphere less. I bought a 1969 Toyota Corolla Station Wagon. It was the worst car I ever owned and also the shortest lived car I drove. I Owned it for two very long years out of which it spent twelve weeks in the shop waiting for parts to repair a defective crank shaft. When it was all done I got a new crankshaft with the same problem as it had. I know, because I met the new owner about a year after I sold it, and he asked me If I had crankshaft problems with it. That caused me to boycott all Japanese made cars for thirty-seven years.

My experience with the Death Star has changed my mind and I will probably never buy a UAW made car again.

Here are the photos of a very disassembled well used Toyota Tacoma being fitted with a brand new frame.

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