Once you view a car as an expensive appliance that's doing a job for you, you might be able to learn to live with it for a longer term relationship. You may be able to shed the $350-$600/month car habit.
You're right, for some people they are just appliances, but I just don't have it in me to treat them that way. Even the $650 "beaters" I've bought ended up with tune-ups, repaired headliners, fixed accessories, etc. I bought my Jeep XJ as a purely utilitarian vehicle, so there's no good reason why I should spend ANY time washing it or detailing the engine, but I do, oh well.
I've only financed one car ever, a 60-month term with a $260/month payment. I hated it, and ended up making payments of 4-5x as much every month, and I paid it off in about a year. I just can't stand being in debt. Any and all future vehicles I buy will be in cash. I suppose I'm of the old-school save-and-buy mentality.
It's pretty likely that the next car I buy is going to be about 40 years old, too.