Working in this field as an electronic designer gives a different aspect to the problems facing automotive manufacturers. Really can't do what you feel is best, but have to answer to the many different government agencies formed since the early 70's. If these federal agencies are not enough, also have the laws of 50 different states to comply to.
Are told what kind of materials to use, the kind of fuel you have to burn, the kind of refrigerant you have to use, the kind of fluids you have to use, the kind of fuel economy and emission standards you have to follow. Have to report to government agents that could never make it in private industry. They are the ones with the high paychecks, best health insurance, and the best retirement getting 75% of their base pay at the young age of 55 years old.
They don't have to warranty their demands, nor show a profit, most are extremely arrogant. In reading government produced examples of specifications, just try to make heads or tails of our IRS with their over 13,000 pages of regulations and over one thousand different forms. Note the number of sentences with either double or triple negatives. Come home with a migraine headache trying to make sense of these regulations to follow.
Get that from one end and making a profit from the other.
Some key events that ring a strong bell was the elimination of solvents in all products and manufacturing that occurred in the mid 70's. Words like biodegradable came into effect. Trichloroethane was banned, have no idea how DuPont got around that in the early 90's, trichloroethane is required in the manufacture of R-134a, that new environment friendly refrigerant that is now blamed for global warming. Was done overnight, causing migraine headaches for the AC guys. Plus the drastic expense for all new production equipment and methods. Tube and fin condensers were out, simple to manufacture and far more reliable than the parallel flow condensers and evaporators.
Oh, all paints had to be water based, but the technology wasn't quite there yet. Also in the early 80's the banning of electroplating, required for switch and connector contacts, no more plating of individual strands of wire, switch and electrical contacts were either bare brass or copper. Some of the higher priced vehicles used the good old tungsten contacts. Not only a problem for warranty, but a major problem for the consumer.
One of the worse devices forced to use is the microprocessor required as the only technology to meet emission standards. To save on cost, consumer grade processors are used. Wasn't to bad with PROM where the code is permanently burnt into the chip, but replaced in 1995 with flashram.
An engineer could get away from all these regulations by working for a government contractor, but that wasn't so hot either. First off working for the lowest bidder, while salary was based on a 40 hour week, expected to put in 120 hours a week. And once that contract was completed, back on the street again faced with moving expenses. When gold was fixed at 35 bucks an ounce, we could use that, only a few microns thick, but Nixon changed all that. Gold is the only element immuned to corrosion. Now strictly for speculators.
Government should bail these companies out, key reason for the problems facing the manufacturers. Was never there to help solve problems, just fine or shut you down. Key reason for exporting all of our jobs, north side of the Mexican border, not permitted, but just across the river, everything was okay. Started with that, then the Japanese, now China.
Just some reasons why we are in the boat we are in today. Have a bunch of idiots running this country. For this coming election, again, not really a good choice. SOS, same old stuff or that other word.