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I'd guess the answer is more complicated. Probably it has to do with the manufacturer keeping up with industry quality levels relative to the level of the car in the model pecking order. Perhaps the warranty offered factors into it. The manufacturer has to present an image of competitive quality and warranty, or they get into trouble. It comes to mind that Chrysler has indeed run into that problem.

That said, it seems to me the Spirit had parts that wore out or needed repair too quickly (the v6 valve guides), others that gave average service, and others that were even unnecessarily durable, like the stainless steel exhaust system.

How a car is maintained can be more important than the build quality. People keep every sort of car running.

As I contemplate buying a Prius and observe their amazing repair record, the Spirit's record seems pretty bad. But ok for a car of its age and original price bracket.
 
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