How to make headlamps expensive

Here are the headlamps of two Mazda cars. On the left, a Mazda 323 from the first half of the past decade, the other a Mazda 3 from the second half. Both fine family cars.

See the difference in design strategy?

Mazda Headlamps

The car on the left has the headlamp split into two parts. The one on the right uses a single assembly.

Why do I care? Because when either lamp gets broken in an accident – and for the outer, the turn signal, this can be even a minor scrape – you need only replace one small cover in the older car, and the entire large assembly in the new one. An assembly they will charge you a ridiculously high sum for.

And yes, some may find the newer design more aesthetic; but the modern highway is a battlefield, not an art museum. We’re better off with cars designed with repair cost in mind. But then, it’s easy to conjecture that that’s what they are – just not in the owner’s interests…

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