Business Car magazine asked us to comment on an AA poll about the features consumers want manufacturers to include in cars. Mark Norman, of CAP's manufacturer consultancy arm Automotive Intelligence Services (AIS) advises car makers on specification strategy when bringing new cars to market. He told Business Car: "It’s all about choice and making a model range appeal to as wide a target audience as possible. Some buyers just want a means of reliable transport and do not require the bells and whistles but others prefer their car to be bristling with additional features. As specification levels increase so do profit margins so manufacturers would obviously prefer that people buy higher equipment level cars. However they still need to be mindful not to reduce the basic specification to such an extent that it becomes uncompetitive in the market.
"Virtually all the items listed in the report would only be found in a higher specification derivative level and so customers would have a choice to choose a cheaper version without these features anyway.
"With regard the lack of two reversing lights or a temperature gauge this is all about production costs and design. Many cars have a single reversing light in the nearside rear light cluster and a rear fog light in the offside one. Incorporating two reversing lights and two fog lights would increase the overall size of the rear light cluster as well as increase the cost of overall production. Likewise with the temperature gauge, many modern dash boards use digital rather than analogue displays and so a warning light is not only cheaper but also fits in better with the overall design.
"Finally, I have never heard of anyone refuse to buy a car because it only had one reversing light but I’m sure that manufacturers would soon include two if they discovered doing so would help increase overall sales."