Yes, It will be cheaper in production, Just like the 18-55mm kit lens. And just like that 18-55mm kit lens, You won't see many people actually going and Buying this lens for they're current cameras.
I've been looking for a replacement for my 18-55 and this lens seems somewhat ideal as it fits between the 10-22 and the 70-200 if you have a crop body. I do agree with you otherwise though, I can't see many other reasons for someone to consider this lens other than mine.
Why not the 24-105L? Its already very sharp and has more range.