2011 was the year of the car fire. Not since the days of the AMC Pinto have cars been so amenable to toasting marshmallows. Earlier in the year, Indian auto-manufacturer Tata Motors released the world’s cheapest car at a mere $2,200 American. The only catch is that you need to suit up in fireproof if you hope to outlive the number of miles the car drives before catching on fire.
Yet, the Tata Nano wasn’t the only car this year burning out the car industry. The world awed at Chevy’s latest version of the electric car, the Volt. The vehicle was to be a marvel of modern energy technology and innovation. However, government tests revealed that the Volt’s battery churned out dangerous levels of BTUs in the form of combustion when side crash impacts ruptured the engine’s coolant tanks.
Both cars are different in almost every aspect. The Tata Nano was to be a low-cost leader; the car affordable enough to convert Indian motorists from motorbikes to cars. The Chevy Volt was a pricey differentiator; the first in hopefully a long line of engines based on electric instead of fossil fuel. Two cars that are very different, lead to the same burning outcome for consumers.
But, there is a lesson in all of this for consumers. When it comes to purchasing technology, it pays to be patient.
Tata Nano: Don’t Fall for Low-Cost Technology
There are often great deals on technology, but you usually get what you pay for. Consumers crave cheap technology, which is why there are always manufacturers willing to make gadgets cheaper than the industry leaders. However, it is frequently at the expense of quality, usability and safety. These are things that are hard to quantify and account for before purchasing. As a result, consumers find out too late that what they really received was an expensive deal on a useless piece of plastic.
Chevy Volt: Don’t be a Early Adapter to New Technology
There is a reason why there are countless versions of Apple products: it takes a while to work out the initial flaws. The new generation of electric vehicles are…well…new. Much of the technology is cutting edge, which makes it all extremely cool, extremely expensive and extremely unpredictable. The Chevy Volt for example had a number of new and unfamiliar designs; it ran entirely on electric for 40 miles and a number of systems designed to save, store and improve energy efficiency. Anything as complex and revolutionary as the Chevy Volt was at great risk of causing issues for consumers.
It Pays to be Patient
If you were to ask me, I’d say patience when buy technology is the lesson we can lean from the Tata Nano and Chevy Volt car fires.
If you can’t afford, good quality technology, you will probably be disappointed in the cheapest versions. It’s better to wait, save up and buy something that not only functions the way you want, but also performs the way you want; like a car that doesn’t catch on fire.
Additionally, it is better to wait for new technologies to work out the kinks. By the time manufacturers are able to adapt their new creations to an acceptable level of quality, the price of purchasing the technology has reduced. Don’t pay a large amount of money to buy something you hope doesn’t catch on fire, pay less and buy technology you know won’t catch on fire.
I’m not saying that technology you own will never catch on fire, but it is less likely when you wait to buy dependable, quality electronic consumer products.