Here are some stats from last week's USA Today. In 1985, 8% of people considered and AM/FM Radio or CD Player "essential" and that number is 95.8% in 2007. Wants, it seems, do turn into perceived "necessities" over time. Sure, you could really survive without that AC in your car, that luxury that only 15% considered a necessity in 1985.
Also, the former Communists in Russia have different tastes in cars than us, it seems. Prof. Mark Perry writes here in his Carpe Diem blog about some interesting car preferences of the Russians:
"On Tuesday in Togliatti, Russia, I toured the production facility of the Chevy Niva (pictured above), a joint venture between GM and Russia's AutoVAZ. The vehicles are one of the best-selling SUVs in Russia right now, and there is a 3-month waiting list to get the vehicles. This situation is somewhat unique to the Niva, most other vehicles in Russia are available immediately. The Nivas sell for about $16,000 and there are only two models and one option: with A/C, or without A/C. Also, there are NO radios available in either model, although the Nivas come radio-ready, with wiring and everything except the audio equipment. It seems that in the Russian market, consumers prefer to purchase their own radio/stereo equipment as an after-market option. It might also be the case that some customers prefer radio only, others prefer audio cassette tapes, and some others prefer CD players.
When in Moscow today, I asked the President of GM Russia why GM/AutoVAZ didn't raise the price of Nivas to reduce the 3-month waiting list, and she said that Russian Niva consumers would easily tolerate a 3-month wait, but many would NOT tolerate a price increase. Go figure."
And please note, I was, amazingly, able to mention Russia without taking shots at Czar Putin's incessant meddling with the wonderful people of Georgia.