The contacts in the ignition switch are a lead alloy. Even being alloyed with other metals it is still a soft metal, and wears with time. since factory designed it to last at least SEVEN years if it still works fifty years later you have gotten your money's worth out of it. The seven year life span was dictated by capital goods rules from the IRS. That, and GM wanted you to buy a new car; and you wouldn't be motivated to do that if your old one was still running. So yes there was planned obsolescence.