The problem with the "AE buyers don't look for quality argument" is that the vast majority of those shoes will last exactly as long as their owners care for them to.
Yes they are lower quality than what you produce, but mainly in an academic way. Like a car that will drive for 300,000 miles instead of another that will last for 250,000. Yes it's better from a longevity POV but most folks will never actually experience that benefit
The very same argument can be made about the leather in an inexpensive pair of shoes vs. the leather in a high end MTM GY shoe. It will last as long as the owners want them to. The same can be said about the general aesthetics and the shape of the lasts and the toes styles and blah blah blah yada yada yada. Everything SF people obsess about and chew their nails over.
Your observation while not entirely correct...or even acceptable...from a maker's perspective, is, when you really get down to it, just another rationalization and a dumbing down of the very concept of quality.
Again it is, on the face of it, incoherent...esp. when taken in the context of this forum.