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Car costs: engineering vs. manufacturing

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  • Car costs: engineering vs. manufacturing

    I'm wondering how much of the cost of Indy cars is due to engineering and how much to manufacturing, percentage-wise. If the cars were put on a more assembly-line basis, would costs drop a lot and teams be able to get started easier?

    Is engineering needed during the manufacturing phase, or is it all done at the start and then phased out? By doing new chassis every three years, there is that engineering that has to be redone. But I'm thinking that if the initial production were large enough, some of the out-year cost reductions could be moved forward and reduce the initial costs as well as make more teams possible.

    I suppose it needs to be broken down into components, engine and chassis.
    Barney Oldfield - AJ Foyt - Jim Clark - Dan Gurney - IMS - IMS YT - INDYCAR - INDYCAR YT

  • #2
    *Design expenses include the latest computer design software for 3D drafting, stress analysis, aero & dynamic simulation, etc and, probably, the major "design phase" expense is wind tunnel time.

    *Manufacturing expenses include very expensive patterns & molds for tubs and bodywork, jigs and fixtures for manufacturing suspension arms, etc and CNC lathe & mill software for manufacturing bulkheads, suspension components, etc.
    Other manufacturing cost include wheels, gearboxes, nuts, bolts & other fasteners, etc that must be purchased from other suppliers.

    *Testing and development costs include crash testing, static and dynamic chassis testing on a seven post hydraulic "shaker" rig, more real life wind tunnel time, and, finally, multiple real live "at the track" tests.

    *Additional high expenses are due to the politics of marketing. Rules call for the use of genuine G-force, Dallara, Lola, etc. replacement parts. This keeps the spare parts cost at an artificially high level by cutting out the small specialty fabricating and machine shops.

    Don't forget that each and every component and system supplier (wheels, tires, brakes, engines, gearboxes, PI instument panels, shocks, etc.) has their own design, mfg. and testing process and expenses.

    The bottom line is that the cost of the design and manufacturing tooling is much greater than the "per unit" cost of the product (cars).......... The ultimate cost of the car is dictated by "per unit" amortization of design & development costs, artificial price regulation and by the "law of supply and demand"

    The main area of cost savings would be standard spec wheels & tires, front & rear wings, underwing, gearboxes, shocks, brakes, hubs and spindles. This would cut down on the amount of wind tunnel time and durability testing.
    Other areas where expenses can be controled are limiting the number of test days and shorter race weekends.

    One of the major areas where the individule teams could save a lot of money is to NOT WRECK SO MANY CARS...........

    Last edited by mac miller; 08-18-2003, 12:11 PM.


    I love any race car whose last name is "Special"



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