@Dina: "...If you'd like to learn more, we'll be presenting our findings at DAC during the Work-In-Progress session Wednesday evening, June 4..."
Sure, I would like to learn about your findings.
Though I have not gone through the standard ISO 26262, but I am conversant with IEC 61508 and d I believe the basic philosophy is same. Though the word "Reliability" often means "safety", but actually there is a difference. Both of these standards talk more about the "functional safety": if a circuit fails, the failure mode shall not lead to a dangerous failure (hazard or accident causing serious injuries, loss of life). Hence the focus of these standards are main to help reducing the "Probability of Dangerous Failure" and implementing required diagnostics to catch "dangerous failures" in order to "fail safely". Whereas "reliability", in short means "minimize failures";
you stated: "consumers will readily abandon brands that experience public failures" really? Firestone is still selling tires quite well, Ford is still selling the Explorer ( I owned both before the failures - never again). Dodge has one of the worst reliability records yet they are still popular. The average public has a short memory, and votes with their dollars. If its cheap enough - they buy it regardless of reliabliity history. That is one of the reasons why the Hi-Fi industry died in the US. There aren't enough of us who value quality in equipment to keep a brick and mortar store afloat.
Everything that is sold to the consumer (general public) involves all manor of very ugly compromises. The whole ROI model for most items, involves some form of planned obsolecence, planned wear out, etc. Most people grudingly tollerate it, due to income limitations.
For example which is better, a hybrid with 100Kmile life, or a light truck with 500K mile+ life? The light truck might cost 40K, the hybrid 25K
To go 600K miles the truck will use 120K worth of fuel the hybrid maybe 60K.
One would have to also buy 5 more 25K hybrids to cover the mileage at 125K
Net savings for the light truck about 65K -- trouble is most people don't have the 40K up front.