Wow. I never found non-hidden hatch struts to be ugly, and they mean I pay about 20 or 30 bucks to replace them in around 5 minutes.
About a year ago I sold a 2007 Acura TL. I’d spent less than $3,000, including the mandatory timing belt job that was over $1,000, to keep it on the road in all the years I owned it, and I bought it off-lease in 2008. The most expensive repair I had to do on it was right at the end when I snapped an axle that had gotten rusty under the rubber vibration dampener. That cost around $400 to do it myself, only about 2/3rds of which was the part (I had to buy a few tools). Would’ve been somewhere around $1500 to have it done at a shop.
Meanwhile a friend of mine used to drive an Audi S4. At the time he worked for a chain of gas stations managing their IT needs, and one of the perqs of the job was free gas. Even with that, he ended up selling the Audi because it was draining his wallet so fast in repairs that the free gas didn’t make up for it. He ended up in a Japanese car and was amazed at how much less he was spending to keep it on the road.
Now, I know that personal anecdotes only represent single points of data, but there are a lot of those anecdotes out there both on the Euro car expense and the relative frugality of owning cars from other continents. As another anecdote, my mom managed to spend more on the BMW she owned for 3 years, despite it being under warranty (because somehow the problems were always diagnosed as being non-covered repairs), than I did in the whole time I owned the Acura.
You’re right, but $1,400 to fix a problem that costs less than dinner for 2 at a chain restaurant on most other cars is, you’ll surely admit, a bit up there.