Westlake Village, California – Buick and Jaguar each ranked highest in vehicle dependability in a tie, toppling Lexus from its 14-year top spot, in the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Vehicle Dependability Study.

Buick moved up from sixth place in 2008, while Jaguar moved from tenth place. Following them in the top five rankings are Lexus, Toyota and Mercury, a brand no longer sold in Canada.

Toyota took five segment awards, more than any other nameplate in 2009, for the Highlander, Prius, Sequoia, Solara and Tundra. Lexus followed with four segment awards for the ES 330 (which tied with the Acura RL), GX 470, LS 430 and SC 430. Lincoln took two awards for the Mark LT and Zephyr (now renamed the MKZ). Models by Acura, Buick, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Mercury, Nissan and Scion each ranked highest in one segment.

“Buick has ranked among the top ten nameplates each year since the study was last redesigned in 2003, while Jaguar has moved rapidly up the rankings,” said David Sargent, vice-president of automotive research at J.D. Power. “Lexus remains a very strong competitor in long-term quality. In particular, the Lexus LS 430 sets the industry standard for dependability, with fewer problems reported than any other model in the study.”

The study measures problems experienced by the original owners of three-year-old, 2006 model-year vehicles, and has been redesigned to include 202 different problem symptoms across all areas of the vehicle. Overall dependability is determined by the level of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100).

The study found that the frequency and severity of component replacement has a particularly srong impact on customer loyalty intentions, with the engine and transmission having a particularly strong impact. When engine components are replaced or rebuilt, only 11 per cent of customers stated they definitely intended to purchase or lease another vehicle of the same make, compared with nearly 40 per cent who reported replacing no components.

The study found that Buick, Lincoln, Mercury and Jaguar owners are less likely to require components than owners of other brands. While component replacement rates are similar for premium and non-premium makes, there are notable differences between vehicle segments, with premium sporty vehicle segments the least likely to require component replacement, and the van segment the most likely.

The 2009 Vehicle Dependability Study is basedon responses from more than 46,000 original owners of 2006 model-year vehicles.

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