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Last month, J.D. Power and Associates, a global market research firm based in Westlake Village, California, released a report which examined the responses provided by some 47,620 owners of three-year old vehicles (2003 models). The survey measured the number of problems experienced by these car owners in such categories as ride, handling, braking and transmission, and ranked the brands from best to worst in "dependability," based on the number of reported incidents.
Surprisingly, the top 10 dependable brands included a number of "non-luxury" lines:

1) Lexus
2) Mercury
3) Buick
4) Cadillac
5) Toyota
6) Acura
7) Honda
8) Jaguar
9) BMW
10) Infiniti
The least dependable brands ranked as follows:
1) Land Rover
2) Saab
3) Suzuki
4) Kia
6) Volkswagon
7) Saturn
8) Isuzu
10) Audi
As far as the actual models are concerned, Lexus, Toyota and Honda rule. Here are the top-ranking models in each car category:
Sub-Compact Car
Toyota Echo
Compact Car
Honda Civic
Compact Sporty Car
Mazda Miata
Midsize Sporty Car
Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Midsize Car
Buick Century
Large Car
Mercury Grand Marquis
Compact Premium Sporty Car
Honda S2000
Entry Premium Car
Acura CL
Midsize Premium Car
Lexus GS 300/GS 430
Light Premium Car
Lexus LS 430
Large Premium Car
Lexus LS 430
Premium Sporty Car
Lexus SC 430

According to officials at J.D. Power, higher scoring vehicles retain their value and are perceived more favorably when it comes time for consumers to make a repurchase or recommend a particular product line to friends and family members. As the report notes, "vehicle dependability can have a direct impact on a manufacturer's bottom line."
For more information about the survey, please click on the following link: