Who is more capable of gathering the long-term returns? A manufacturer who plans for the demise of a machine somewhere between years 12 and 15? Or one that can make that year 12 car drive like it is nearly brand new, and gets that customer back in the door for regular maintenance with spouse, children and friends in tow.
That extra profit up front and long-term commitment can make all the difference. A $7000 net profit push in North America can be immediately invested in the products for the emerging markets of the here and now. The manufacturer eliminates competition for that customer as well, receives a far higher profit than before, and the apathetic owner gets to solve another financial uncertainty.
Said customer, I submit, would need to be coming through the door on a regular basis to make those twelve years possible. Even the Toyota Corolla, a near-bulletproof box containing absolutely no untried and untested technology, can’t stand years and years of neglect.
Would I pay an extra $7000 to get twelve years out of a car? My current ride is a 2000 model; it’s already twelve years old. I’ve had it for six of those years. And maintenance on it has cost me, well, around $7000. Still, it’s in decent shape: another two or three grand would make it almost indistinguishable from a new car, except for the fact that it doesn’t have the de rigueur droop-snoot/butt-in-the-air stance mandated by CAFE or a Bluetooth connection, but I don’t want to talk to you when I’m driving anyway.