I don't know if I can agree. I think that the bigger they get the more unreasonable they get on this subject. When they get as big as Quaife or Getrag they are beyond reasonable economics.They can't all be great monoliths with their head stuck in the sand. There must be at least one who has studied it in depth in order to try and gain a competitive advantage and increased market share.
Case in point, the company I work for (one of the largest in manufacturing ice and beverage dispensing equipment) has just stated the rules for profit on any equipment that we manufacture. We now need to make a minimum of 40% or the product is going to be canceled. They cannot be satisfied with even 39%. If the competition lowers their price we need to take enough cost out of ours to at least match at a 40%+ profit. This goes for new products as well. They need to be released at 40% or better or they will not release it period.
We are currently developing an ice cream dispenser (trying to get into a new market) and have units out for field test. The biggest competitor (who has been selling these for over 30 yrs and hasn't really changed anything during that time) saw it and dropped their price 20%. We are now trying to re-design our unit to take 20% of the cost out of it. Our machine is more efficient, easier to operate and much easier to clean. (considerably fewer parts and quicker time) The customers that have these in their stores for field test do not want to give them up. Taking this kind of money out of the machine may cause this machine to be unreliable. And if we cannot get the cost down they are going to scrap the project. They have already spent 1.5 million over the lase 2 years. All they need to sell is 700 units to pay for all of the design/development costs and it is projected that this should be less than one year of production. But they would rather not sell any than to sell below 40% profit.
So, someone determined that the cost of these transaxles was going to be $20,000 or whatever, and that is it. I would think that even if they were to develop a transaxle using parts from existing transmissions and rear axles they would still charge the same high price. But they will likely not do that because using these parts would mean they would not make the same profit on those parts than if they made the parts themselves.