Think of it this way.
I will sell you a live steam model of a U.P. BigBoy for, oh, say $1,234.56.
Think you'd like to have one?
This is gonna have to be in kit form. You will receive a bag of copper nuggets and some talconite and a few sections of an old I-beam for the steel. All you gotta do it melt it all down to form the parts, machine them, then assemble it and tune it up!
If you would like the metals already in the final crystaline form and pressed into sheets, then I will be willing to take on that task FOR A PRICE... oh say, and additional $4,567.89.
Now if you would like that raw metal to be machined then I am going to have to charge a fee for that process. I'd guess about $9,876.54 will take care of it.
Do you want it painted? That'll be extra...I guess about $1234.56.
You want it assembled!!!!? Oh, sorry, I charge another 2,345.67 for that.
You expect me to fire it up and make it work right? That's another $987.65.
Shipping is extra, as is shipping insurance.
Ooooorrrrrrr ! You can pay $20,246.87 for the whole thing, materials, smelting, machining, painting, assembling and tuning. You can leave out any of those processes and do them yourself if you wish. Send me the raw materials and I do the rest, or I can supply them to you and you can smelt them down and send them back for me to do the rest. Your choice, any combination of you and me doing it.
(Note: all prices subject to currency exchange rates and my whim. Availability subject to the phase of the moon and my insanity.)
The "PERCEPTION" on this forum (and other Model train forums) is that the manufacturer is selling the stuff for the price that the market will bear can based on what it is paying for the services of the factory that is actually making the locos for them. This price "apparently" does NOT include the costs of "tuning" the engine. (Again, this is PERCEPTION and may have nothing at all to do with reality!)
Some of the people here are saying, "Raise your price to cover the cost of 'tuning' the loco". Others are saying, "I want it cheaper, I'll do the 'tuning' myself".
You ARE getting what you are paying for, and apparently you are not presently paying for the factory to do the final step.
I agree with you, I want an engine that works right out of the box... well, I want the KIT to be complete and all that parts to be manufactured correctly, etc. as I prefer the Aster experience! But if that means paying more, then that must be what will happen. At present the paradigm is that it is cheaper for the manufacturer to accept the bad publicity of the end user having to return items for "repair/correction" in order to sell at the present market price.