Cars are Broken

Some time ago marketer Seth Godin did some guest entries on the site This is Broken, and shared one idea about medieval jumper cables in cars. It tapped into a theme of stupid things about cars that I wish automakers would do better.

  1. Let’s ban the jumper cables Seth Godin hates so much and just have some regular AC cords and plugs. If I need to jump another car, I should be able to plug them right in. If my battery dies, I should be able to plug it into an outlet and charge it up (which will probably make some idiots think they have an electric-powered car).
  2. While we’re talking power, why do cars have to use those stupid DC cigarette lighter outlets? And putting them in the trunk doesn’t help much. Why make me buy some funky converter to power my stuff? Why not just give me a real AC outlet? I’m sure that’s a complicated bit of electrical engineering, but it seems more logical than forcing doofy converters on your customers.
  3. Customizable car tones. You can customize your cell phone with a million different ring tones, how about your horn? Or your turn signal clicker? You can certainly customize these noises with the right parts and know-how, but it’s a lot of hassle. I want to change noises with the push of a button.
  4. Audio input. Why do I have to use a cassette adapter or an FM transmitter to play my portable device over my car stereo? How over-complicated of a system is that? Is it that hard to put a simple audio input on the face of the stereo? This seems like a no-brainer with the spread of iPods and the like.

    Well, that’s a start anyway. What would you change about the way cars are designed (and I’m talking big picture here, not a poorly designed radio knob or wiper control)?

2 thoughts on “Cars are Broken”

  1. Great stuff, Kevin!

    But #4 is here. Although with the lack of real estate on the faceplate, they have plugs hanging off the back.

    We just bought a new car stereo and got an extension so that it can plug into my iPod and mount it on the dash. Very cool!

  2. Word! I hate that I have to spend $40 to get an FM adapter for my iPod. Seriously. One input! That’s all I’d need.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.