Originally Posted by Dan JGC
On the one hand car manufacturers love car enthusiasts as they help to promote their cars (car designers are car enthusiasts too) BUT on the other hand even if an accident (or warranty claim) is really caused by a modification and not the fault of the car manufacturer, the car manufacturer still gets sued and even if not at fault incurs substantial costs and occasionally really bad PR. Take Apple for instance, people replace iPhone batteries or chargers with cheap knockoffs and when the battery or charger overheats and catches fire you get bad headlines even though not Apple's fault. Apple has had to put special markings and codes on these things since some of the knockoffs look identical.
Tough thing to balance.
See, on the other hand, if they went about it the right way, you wouldn't have major incidents of people screwing it up.
People use knockoffs and do bad things to their Apple devices because Apple has locked their devices down so there is no sanctioned means to modify them. If they opened up a legitimate upgrade and modification platform, you'd have legitimate after-market products (along with official branded ones) and a massive user support system to keep most people out of trouble.
Then you can limit warranty to claims to those legitmate channels - keep your receipts, everyone...
The same goes for cars. Lock everything down and you'll have people doing all kinds of crazy things to unlock them and access what they should legitimately be able to access.
Offer built in tuning mods and other programmable items in hidden menus, with safe limits in place to prevent doing anything hazardous. Have disclaimers for anything that can hurt you if misused (such as access to touch screen items while driving, etc.).
Go beyond that and your on your own. So, don't turn the volume up to 11 and your covered.
In fact, you could attract the real fans by having contests to create the most useful mods or new and useful apps. What starts out as a user mod may become the next big feature on the latest model. I know I would love to have more control over the shift patterns of my Jeep by dictating RPMs vs. the amount I press the gas pedal to determine when to shift to avoid the transmission always wanting to jump down 2 or more gears just because I accelerated to pass someone.
Plus, you could encourage "hack-a-thons" to test security measures to make sure users are protected.
Embrace it and the community will watch over itself. Deny it and it becomes the wild West.