True about my GM reference but this wouldn't be the first time that a company bought out a competitor just to shut them down and the signs you mentioned in post 1 are the symptoms to look for. Plus B&D, Stanley, DW started turning out new Craftsman tools in the meantime, which is yet another line competing with their existing lines. As pointed out, PC quality has steadily slipped since around 2000. I bought mostly PC until up around that time or shortly after. I don't know what will happen with the 7518/19 niche. That was the go to for lifts. I don't know if any maker is making a fixed base 3 plus HP router that the motor can be extracted from for that use.
As for the 611, DW hit a home run with that one. Lots of us have one, including me, and I've yet to hear from a member that doesn't like it.
Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.