It does not really matter for this discussion whether you let the customer pay or you do it for free. With cheap cars they might pay and with expensive brands it could be included in the retail price.
What matters is that you cannot keep this up forever so after a certain period you want to get rid of the car. In fact you want to lure the drivers into newer models, which claim to be 'even' better. Remember electronic giant Philips' claim 'Let's make better things'? They'd better written 'Let's make things better'. How will you lure the driver into the new car?
One of your managers might suggest the following: "We will tell we stop upgrading and repairing the old model. And we will add that,because of that, driving that model will become more and more dangerous". What will your response be? "You are out of your mind. They will change to the competition!" Rightly so, if there is any competitor. In software land, however, people feel there is no second choice, no competition, because any hardware brand will have the same operating system and office suite. Microsoft operating system and Microsoft office suite, and I will stick to the operating system here.
Let us go back to the start of this blog: Suppose you are Microsoft. Every day minor design or manufacturing errors are found in WindowsXP (and every other version of Windows) and sometimes even dangerous faults. How long will you keep up repairing and replacing WindowsXP, so as to keep your users safe and happy?
So in software land your Microsoft manager suggests to you, Microsoft CEO: "We will tell we stop upgrading and repairing the old Windows. And we will add that, because of that, using WindowsXP will become more and more dangerous".
What will your response be? "You are brilliant. The user will change to the new Windows8 or higher. And he will have to buy new hardware as well, and new Office versions"! In software land, however, users feel there is no other choice and that they are in real danger. Companies that make a living of replacing old systems will tell the user that Microsoft is right. IT security professionals, hardware companies, sellers of big software systems, system integrators, trainers and educators.
In the automotive industry we have set up a complete ecosystem that can repair and maintain older (and new) cars. Even restore them. That maintenance ecosystem, the non-brand dealers, the repair and body shops, refurbishing works, makes good and sometimes even better cars from the old models.
In the software world, Microsoft made many attempts to grow from an open system, where everybody can add new functionality, towards a gated community where smart functionality was copied and added to the central system: Windows. This function creep included from how to address a disk or a screen to firewalls, virus checkers and now on-line cloud storage. But still, many small and large companies owe their cash flow to added functionality, because they are specialists in their field.
This ecosystem can and will provide for WindowsXP. They do not necessarily repair the Windows system software, but add or update functionality around the core, keeping it working and safe. Many will recognise the malware (virus, trojans) and adware suppressors, safe browsers, but also the newer drivers to accommodate new hardware (3D printing, USB v3, hi-speed wifi, huge screens). This will keep XP up to date for at least another decade, or as long as the hardware will go. It may take a buck or two but it will save you the trouble and money of replacing hardware and everything with it.
The other alternative is changing the car for something that will keep running on your hardware. Of course this replacement should support whatever you need: office suites or at least a word processor, e-mail, browsers, virus checkers, project planning, calender, music player, photography support, backup and restore software and, of course, regular upgrades that do not increase the size of the core. That increase is appropriately named bloatware. Which is why Windows slows down in the course of a few years.
There are many alternatives, more than you will expect, but the name Linux should ring a bell. Even within Linux you have many alternative names but all run on the same core. There are systems you need a university degree to install and run, but also simple and straightforward point-and-click. There are even version that will run from a USB memory stick on your WindowsXP. You have an 10-year old laptop in a closet? There will be Linux version that will run on it. It will not be as fast as a modern multi-core PC running Windows13 or so, but you won't type fast enough to keep up with Linux. (You know Android smartphones, well, that's also Linux).
So: do not throw away WindowsXP and all associated hardware. A waste of the waste. Keep on upgrading virus software, be smart surfing the web. If you need any software, add the following magic words to your search: "open source sourceforge". If you look for "image manipulation open source sourceforge" you will probably wind up with GIMP, which is highly professional, free of charge and runs on Apple, Linux and on (any) Windows.
If you want to 'go green' and change your life, you might try Linux. It will install next to WindowsXP and you have a choice which one to use when you start your system.
Oh yeah. In case you didn't know FUD: Fear Uncertainty and Doubt. It is used by car salespeople about your old car (repair prices will skyrocket, your car becomes a danger to you and your kids, no parts available, stops running in the middle of the night) and by some software manufacturers about their own operating systems.......