I've heard from time to time that the same model cars or same manufacture will release cars that last less time in one country based on the habits of the market. e.g. In a market where people keep cars longer they will release cars that last longer and cost a bit more and in markets where people change car all the time they will release them cheaper but also less reliable.

I've heard this, is there any basis in reality?

Any answer should be able to refer to examples of actual parts or process changes that change in different markets that would result in this outcome

  • 4
    Seems like a hard question to get real data on. Also, the skeptic in me wonders if benefit (profits) from doing this would outweigh the cost of engineering involved. On the other hand, regulatory issues in different markets do result in variations on car models and those differences could well impact reliability and/or longevity.
    – dlu
    Aug 25 '16 at 7:16
  • Yea, thats why I ask its not simple kind of plausable. Manufactures could change components ans source differently with different specs for different regions. And do to and extent for other reasons e.g. Left vs right hand drive. They also have different warranties, but that could be down to different interpretations of warranties or some other local factor such a weather e.g. snow vs no snow. Not really sure. Aug 25 '16 at 7:40
  • I would think, regardless of the market, manufacturers will want their cars to last as long as possible - 'Today's quality is tomorrows reputation'. A large second hand market will also increase part sales and dealership repairs, because people will see the car as worth repairing. Aug 25 '16 at 17:56

Yes and No, Vehicle manufacturers often change a lot of parameters of a vehicle when deploying them in different countries , the main reason for this is to make sure that the vehicle adapts to that particular market.

The main things the manufacturers alter are:

  1. Engine : Manufacturers often change the engine to suit the market , for example, I live in India where we seldom get any car(Global model) with more than 4 cylinder engine or even a turbo(petrol) , usually it is under 1.5liter in capacity even. The main reason behind this is that the India Market is economy sensitive , the need gas mileage and lower cost of procurement thus no point in rolling out a car with a fire-breathing V8 under the bonnet, it simply won't sell.
  2. Equipment: Many creature comforts like rear parking camera, electrically adjustable seats , sun Roof etc are usually never seen in popular cars in India even though their foreign counterparts usually come loaded with much more equipment simply because our market does not care for those things and other features like Sun Roof and heated seats are pointless in a tropical region.
  3. Safety Equipment: Now This is where my answer will be relevant to the OP's Question, Manufacturers often skip on expensive safety equipment in developing markets to reduce cost like ABS , EBD , Airbags , without these things the car is going to be less safe in terms of an accident but on the contrary will be more reliable for ownership since there are lot less equipment that can go wrong.

Manufacturers do not change the structural rigidity of a car for different countries , some companies like Hyundai installs thicker doors to export models which are manufactured here in India to meet the NCAP Saftey norms.

SO iF you are asking if one car lasts longer in one market compared to other then in terms of ownership less equipment will be more reliable than one which is fully loaded. The Quality of the equipment used can also vary. So its a mixed bag , there is no One answer.

  • Emissions and Safety are the main reasons, since they are laws governed by different countries.
    – Moab
    Aug 26 '16 at 21:37
  • If the quality of the equipment varied, interms of reliability for a given function it would suggest that they do make changes that reduce reliability, if the changes are to change the function slightly e.g. extras, engine size, local standards then reliability would not be the motivation Aug 28 '16 at 20:59

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