Don't try to say that the system is the way it is because they can't afford to change it. The system is the way it is because they're making TONS of money this way and have no financial reason to change it.
I think the increase in amateur radio licenses probably has more to do with more people expecting the S to HTF. There seems to be a growing expectation that a global collapse, nuclear holocaust, government collapse, zombie apocalypse are just around the corner. It's probably a combination between that and people wanting to be prepared for more local or regional disasters like blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.
But seriously folks, the auto manufacturers would fight tooth and nail to NOT use standardized parts so they can have a huge markup on THEIR brand of part.
If in any problem you find yourself doing an immense amount of work, the answer can be obtained by simple inspection.