Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Virtues of Competition

Car shoppers today are less likely to end up with a lemon.
In the past five years, global competition has forced automakers to improve the quality and reliability of their vehicles — everything from inexpensive mini-cars to decked-out luxury SUVs.
The newfound emphasis on quality means fewer problems for owners. It also means more options for buyers, who can buy a car from Detroit or South Korea and know it will hold up like a vehicle from Japan.
With few exceptions, cars are so close on reliability that it's getting harder for companies to charge a premium. So automakers are trying to set themselves apart with sleek, cutting-edge exterior designs and more features such as luxurious interiors, multiple air bags, dashboard computers and touch-screen controls.
"It's a great time to be a consumer," says Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends for the TrueCar.com auto pricing website. "You can't really screw up too badly in terms of your vehicle choice."
Read the whole article, and imagine what competition might make possible if we'd throw off the regulatory handcuffs in such fields as medicine, aviation and education. (Remembering too that the automotive industry is very far from free.)

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