My Car analogy - a tale of two industries.
First we have the car industry. The industry is very competitive, with several dozen manufacturers fighting for each sale. While the cars are built for a price point, every possible enhancement is crammed in. The car industry loves low-cost features and they know the absence of them will drive some buyers to other makes. Everything from multiple baby seat anchor points to bluetooth connectivity and ipod connections are being crammed in there. If it doesn't add significantly to the cost, its in. And those items that aren't standard features can often be added through the dealership as an option extra or through aftermarket suppliers.
Behind the scenes, designers and engineers are working on new technologies to make cars more efficient, safer, and better to drive. Competition has made the following almost universally standard - Air conditioning, ABS, rear reversing cameras, self parking cars, voice activation, WiFi, airbags (often up to 10), traction control, blind spot monitoring, GPS, seats that remember the preferred position of different drivers, keyless entry...I could go on, but you get my point.
And then we have the camera industry, which has only two big players in DSLRs. While the big guys are seen to be competitive, the fact that they can drop key, low cost, technologies to drive customers to higher priced models, and get away with it, suggests that competition isn't that fierce.
Now, I'm not knocking Canon. If it is a successful strategy, great. And consumers can research the features of cameras before buying them. And they can choose to buy different cameras that might meet their needs better. But I think any comparison with the motor vehicle industry is a little tenuous.