I'll toss this out and see if it bounces.
I wonder if the same thing applies to spinning reels. Does the highly ranked name brand model priced at $100 - $150 last any longer or work any better than that same brand's model priced at $49 - $59? I don't know the answer.
I'll 'bounce' this back....
Something they did has caused the base model ($60) to be not as good as it use to be. I own a couple older Presidents, and the new models just don't match up.
The President XT (next one up the line), on the other hand, has remained solid and dependable.
The consensus over on Bass Resource (I'm there, same name) is that $100 is the breaking point for spinning reels. Below that, your chances are iffy to get a good quality, long lasting reel. At or above that, you're getting a reel you can possible pass down to your children (if taken care of).
Realize that spinning reels also run from $20 'Wally World' specials to $700 'Bentley level' models.