Quality in this, the 21st century...a mixed bag.
Quality is clearly a tough issue now-a-days. We are just finishing a nice, lovely new home in Nebraska with my wife and I being, for most purposes, the general contractor.
Clearly, for some things, quality is a problem. E.g. dimension lumber. We bought the best and are satisfied, for the most part. However, we will NEVER again say the old homes are better. Ours is far better than anything could be 20 or 30 years ago. Better glue, better windows, better insulation, better furnace and a/c, better....just about everything.
Now, on my cars...I love the MBenz. It does cost me a little bit in maintenance fees but my '86 has nearly 300k miles. Kathy's rice rocket (aka '91 Toyota Previa minivan) has 225k nearly maintenance free miles. But, nobody in their right mind would try to tell us we could drive the rice rocket to 500k miles. The big question with the Benzs we have is whether they will last 500k or 1M miles.
I have a good friend who has a Chrysler minivan with 400k miles on it and he and the van were recently admitted to the Chrysler Motors Hall of Fame for having so many miles. How big would the list be if every Benz with 400k+ miles was in the Benz Hall of Fame? Don't answer, kindly.
I close with three of my favorite quotes:
Buy the best and only cry once!
The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the cheap price is forgotten.
Buy the best, pay cash and take delivery! (from Gary North)