I recently read a story that made me smile and despair in equal measure – glad to see chrome interior automotive parts in the news, but saddened by the context.
The news reported that Janet Richardson from Kent, ironically not a million miles from Borough’s Southend chrome-plating plant, was carrying a set of used books in her Range Rover Evoque when one hit and cracked the passenger-side speaker cover.
In itself, not a particularly newsworthy event one might imagine, until one reads that the repair to this three-month old Evoque would cost in excess of £900, which on first reading seems a little steep.
Given our experience in supplying chrome bezel speaker assemblies to the UK automotive industry, we are in a privileged position to understand the reasons behind the cost and the way the situation has come about – it’s not because JLR is actually using sterling silver instead of chrome as suggested by one commenter on the story.
But the story goes on to explain how the speaker grille is integral to the door panel and not a simple item to replace, particularly given the complexity of modern cars and all the electric mechanisms hidden by the door panels.
In their defence, JLR explained that they don’t fit the speakers separately, which means suppliers deliver complete door panels, with everything fitted and ready to be connected to the vehicle. Much like all the other major components from front and rear assemblies to dashboards.
And of course this is the problem. The public are happy to accept without comment, the modern production methods that ensure the quality of the vehicles they own and drive improves every year, until they find one negative consequence that impacts the cost of running these vehicles.
Carefully designed speaker grilles, moulded precisely and chromed superbly will enhance the interior of any vehicle and the lack of screws to come loose or fittings that allow removal ensure there are far fewer annoying rattles that used to be-devil older cars. The drive, if you pardon the pun, in automotive interior design is to constantly improve the quality of the components and the quality of the experience for those occupying the interior.
We work closely with automotive designers and manufacturers to deliver new surface finishes, like our satin chrome for plastic interior components and include them in ever larger assemblies that reduce the final production process for car-makers like JLR.
Janet is perhaps considering a career in automotive interior design given she believes having to replace the entire panel for something so simple is ridiculous and that it should be possible to just slot in a new cover, but her view is a retrograde one – the world has moved on.
She will just have to be more careful where she places her books and enjoy the comfortable interior, the highlights of chrome and the quiet of one of the nicest places to sit when driving around the UK.