Manufacturer support model

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by JimW, Mar 5, 2018.

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  1. JimW

    JimW Active Member

    The recent charging problem thread is a good example that car companies will need to transform their business model, in order to solve efficiently. Most customer issues will be software bugs and incompatibilities. The days of running diagnostics and replacing parts on a "closed system" car are quickly going away. When an app on my smartphone, which is plugged into my car, which is running Android Auto, has a problem, who will take responsibility to get it fixed? Honda, phone manufacturer, Android, app developer?

    I hope that Honda becomes a leader in this area, but signs are not good so far. I have called their tech support twice, with well-defined, reproducible software bugs, and in both cases was told the only approach is to take it to the dealer. This is the old-school model - do they really want to clutter up their dealerships billing them for hours doing software updates, while the unhappy customers sit and wait? For both of my problems, I found fixes myself through searches and forums like this. However, I am an EE and technical person who likes to tinker. This is not something the typically consumer is going to want to mess with. It will be interesting to see which car companies come out ahead in this new world.
    Kendalf likes this.
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  3. Viking79

    Viking79 Well-Known Member

    I agree. I think Tesla is far ahead on this. It seems incredibly annoying overall, and the model of me taking it to the dealer means the car will always have the SW bug, as I am not going to do that unless it becomes difficult to live with the car day to day, and I know if I take it in for a SW bug the dealer isn't going to care to spend any time on something they can't fix.
  4. A really good dealer should be motivated to go the extra mile to investigate and solve your problem (with the assistance of the OEM).

    Based on some of what I've read, Tesla isn't far ahead at this point.
  5. A-Lebron

    A-Lebron New Member

    That's the thing that gives me pause about the Clarity in the long run. It took a while for Toyota to figure out a good supply line to fix the Prius. Now they have a good deal many mechanics on hand to fix them. Honda is expecting the same thing to happen... eventually... but for now we have to rely on the one or two mechanics that have worked on things like the Hybrid Accord to work on our car. That means that for any given area there are what 5-10 Honda dealers? Leaving 20 or so people per geographic region if we're in a densely populated area to fix our car? If most or all of those are of dubious quality where do you go at that point?

    Tesla solved that by creating dedicated technicians that know the complexities of their platforms and pickup/deliver the car as needed. Even if they're a bit lacking in long term customer happiness. They allowed mobile network software updates and technician support. The Odyssey already has a connection to the ATT 4G network and it's a damn family minivan. It seems nuts this car if I'm not mistaken doesn't have that capacity?
  6. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    The good news is quite a few things have been brought in from other Honda products. So while the mechanics don't know this car specifically they are familiar with, and have worked with, many of the features.
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  8. Ken7

    Ken7 Active Member

    Tesla is actually far ahead. OTA software updates eliminate the need to bring a car in to a dealership. It fills the gap for a dealership tech who can do nothing to fix a software related issue (think our absurdly inaccurate range algorithms) where a fix doesn’t even exist. The tech certainly isn’t going to sit down and write new code to fix a broken algorithm.

    Additionally, OTA updates enable new features to be introduced that previously didn’t exist. I’ve had several of those added in the 4 months I’ve owned my Model S. Rain sensing wipers were the last feature that was added. I bought the car and it didn’t have it, today it does. No other car can do that kind of magic, a car that can improve with age. I can honestly say my S is better today than it was 4 months ago.

    All of this doesn’t even factor in the mobile vans that come to your house or place of business to provide service for many things. Imagine having your car fixed at your house while you’re eating breakfast in your kitchen! IMO that’s pretty incredible.

    No, I’m convinced that Tesla’s approach is well beyond what the rest of the automotive industry is doing. :)
    glockgirl likes this.
  9. Timothy

    Timothy Active Member

    Do we know for sure that the Clarity can't have OTA updates? It seems that would have been very easy to do. The car can obviously send and receive data (HondaLink). Even if they required connection to wifi to get the update it would be better than taking the car in. Even a download that need to transferred via USB would be better than making an appointment for a mechanic to stick a thumb drive into the car. Both in terms of wasting the time of their dealerships and wasting the time of their customers not having some sort of self serve method for updates would seem to be a huge oversight.
  10. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Your personal experience may be an exception, but overall Tesla has an outstanding, industry-topping record for long term customer happiness. They don't come in as #1 on the Consumer Reports survey for customer satisfaction year after year by ignoring customer happiness!
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
    Ken7 likes this.
  11. ab13

    ab13 Active Member

    A lot of this has to do with the choice to make the device a remotely accessible computer. Once that happens, the manufacturer must decide how long it can provide security support for the device, 15 years, 20 years, longer? I think Microsoft provides support only around 10-15 years.

    The Nissan Leaf and Tesla models, and various other vehicles have been remotely accessed by hackers. Luckily, it seems only by whitehat researchers who provided the hack details to the manufacturer. In the future with more cars being remotely accessible, it may become a bigger market for hacking. Eventually the car computers will need "malware protection."

    That's why the decision requires a very specific plan, a security team that will support products for a given period of time. Cars can have a 20+ year lifespan.

    The OTA updates for 2018 Odyssey and Accord appear to be only for the infotainment system, which is theoretically separate from the car functional computer systems.
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  13. JimW

    JimW Active Member

    Yes, Honda support told me the Clarity does not support OTA updates. The 2018 Accord and Odyssey do. Our infotainment system seem to be from the 2016 Civic. I guess 2019 Clarity would use the newer system from the Accord (including volume control dial).

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