"All our cars are designed to have a long and useful life on the road. In an age of mass production that sometimes favours planned obsolescence, our products look to provide long-term value. And the numbers back that up." — Mercedes Benz MagazineDesRosiers Automotive Consultants looked at vehicles sold 21-24 years ago (1985-1989) that are still on the road in 2010. Here are the survival rates:
- Mercedes-Benz: 63.7%
- Second Best German Brand: 34.9%
- Best Japanese Brand: 11.7%
- Industry Average: 6.4%
Accurate?Statistics can deceive. I wanted to know the identity of the unnamed brands. The omission made me curious. I figured the Second Best German Brand was BMW but where do Porsche and Audi fit in? A better comparison would look at Mercedes' real competitors, not the overall industry. You wouldn't compare a BMW with a Sonata, but Hyundai did.
Here’s what a Dec 2010 report (PDF) from DesRosiers shows. Compared with Mercedes
- Porsche is higher in every period (85.1% for 21-25 years old vs. 59.8% for Mercedes)
- BMW and Lexus are higher for the first 15 years
- Audi’s survival rate for 21-24 years is only 6.5%
- “Few Ladas and older Hyundais have survived the trip from 1985 to present due to an almost comical array of quality issues”
Wrong Measure?Longevity may be the wrong measure. Wouldn't you like to know the cost of repairs too? What if Mercedes vehicles last long but require triple the maintenance?
If Mercedes are so well-built, why is the warranty on used vehicles substandard? The BMW Certified Series Protection Plan warrants used vehicles for the earlier of 6 years and 160,000 km. The Mercedes Extended Limited Warranty is also 6 years but only 120,000 km. That’s 40,000 km less. If the cars are that great, why isn't the coverage for more years and more kilometres? Perhaps the maintenance costs get crazy after 120,000 km?
A warranty is insurance. Isn’t more protection better?
Worthwhile?A nice vehicle, may last for ages but there are problems. Your vehicle may start reaching a point where the repair bills start piling up. Paying does not guarantee that your vehicle will last. If you're able to maintain your vehicle on your own, that's different.
Newer vehicles are safer. That's worth something, depending on the type of driving you do. Your survival rate is also important.
- 25 years of vehicle longevity (DesRosiers, Dec 2010) [PDF]
- Ontario man hits 1 million kilometre mark in Mercedes (wheels.ca, Mar 2011)
- Small cars: Is “safer than ever” safe enough for you?
- The most dangerous part of driving
- Your life expectancy exceeds one billion seconds
- Hyundai Sonata vs. BMW 5-series: The rationale for irrational behaviour
- How to save on your next Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz
- Mercedes-Benz Magazine [not iPad friendly]
Podcast 132 (5:34)direct download | Internet Archive page | iTunes
PS Beware of the most dangerous part of driving