There seems to be a consensus building amongst you that Holdens do not merit consideration in the "most durable car" category. It seems entirely possible that Australia - land of great waves, cool aborigines, marvelous English accents, and just a genuinely cool continent (OR is it really an island after all?) in general, may not be the land of the best built cars.
But, of course, the question is, where would that place be? Japan? Or somewheres else?
Now, Denis raised an intriguing distinction between durable and dependable. I kind of lumped those ideas together in my mind; Denis split them apart (there's one in every crowd, isnt there?).
One question would be, is Denis right? (Did I choose the wrong adjective?). Could durability and dependability be different enough so that one car may be more durable, and another one be more dependable? And again, are Japanese cars more dependable?
I've seen high mileage 80's Japanese cars; but then, I've seen high mileage American cars too. And I've heard of some very high mileage German and Swedish cars (let's not forget Volvo). It's all too easy to hear of a couple of stories and form a conclusion based on those stories that isn't actually true. I'm wondering if there is actual, scientific, statistical (specifically NON-anecdotal) evidence that one car maker makes cars that outlast the rest.
There are some mitigating issues, I think. Fuel economy is one. Diesels have racked up more miles than gassers. But I think gassers have substantially caught up in durability (primarily because of fuel injection). If one car gets substantially better fuel economy than another car, that car will likely be driven more - and more often - and rack up higher mileage during its useful lifespan. [This just a theory]. Japanese cars have always tended to have smaller engines than others, and get very good fuel economy.
Another issue is desirability; if a car is less desirable than other cars, someone may simply not want to spend money on (routine) repairs to keep that car on the road. So a car that is actually very durable may be "ended" before its time. And a less durable - but "cooler" - car may stay on the road just because people are willing to keep forking over the bucks to keep it on the road when they wouldn't do so with many other cars. A few of you indicate that most people just wouldn't want to be caught driving an old Japanese "beater" out of a humiliation factor. A car that still starts up and goes but looks like crap could nevertheless meet an untimely appointment with the scrapyard.
Well, what cars are the most durable - in the sense of remaining on the road the longest? Are Mercedes-Benzes on the short list for that title? How do the car makers rank in this department?
And (if there is a real difference), what cars are the most dependable - in the sense of starting up and going with little or no maintenance/repair work needing to be done? Are the Japanese best at making such cars? Or not? How do the car makers rank in this department?
Personally, I HOPE that Mercedes Benz are not high in the former area but low in the latter. Given the fact that Mercedes-Benz parts are more expensive than most other OEM parts - and that fewer non-OEM parts are available (given the high price and therefore lower production numbers compared to other cars), I don't want them to need more repairs/maintenance to boot!!! Rather, I would want the car - given the fact that it is an initially high quality car that uses high quality parts - to require LESS repair work than other cars.
Sometimes, if you pay more for a better quality product, you get a better, longer-lasting product. And other times (the fashion industry often falls into this area) you don't get better or longer-lasting products at all; you pay more just so you can show others that you can pay more! As for the latter: no thanks; I aint no elitest snob ostentatiously flaunting my wealth! I don't got a lot of wealth, and I wouldn't flaunt it if I did!
Now, a mediating viewpoint is that Mercedes-Benzes AREN'T the most dependable of cars, but they make up for it in the quality of the ride and the sheer luxuriousness of their performance. Here, they would cost more, and cost more to maintain - and even need to be maintained more frequently - but they would be worth it just because they are so wonderful when they DO work! I KNOW a lot of you think that our cars offer this kind of luxury; but do you think that dependability and durability accompany that luxury, or do you think you chose luxury at the expense of dependability and durability?
P.S. I read an article that said that the reason that GTOs didn't cut it in the market was because they looked so common (by which I mean, like any other mass-produced standard compact POS). People who were buying high performance cars wanted YOU to know they had bought a high performance car! I didn't know it had links to Oz.