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Article by MSN Autos on the MSN home page about the Most Dependable Vehicles

"In a study of three-year-old vehicles, Japan-based manufacturers are still tops in dependability, while domestics show improvement.

Seven different Toyota and Lexus models earned the top score in their individual categories, and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. received the top corporate ranking in the J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS).

Toyota's Lexus brand was the top-ranked nameplate for the tenth consecutive year, followed by General Motor's Buick nameplate, Nissan's Infiniti brand, Ford's Lincoln brand, and GM's Cadillac brand.

The Vehicle Dependability Study measures problem symptoms of three-year-old vehicles. The 2004 VDS is based on the responses received from more than 48,000 original owners of 2001 model-year cars and light trucks. The vehicles are scored based on the number of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100).

The brands with the most improvement in PP100 for 2004 over last year are Kia with 77 fewer problems, Suzuki with 38 fewer problems, and Audi with 23 fewer problems, although all three brands remain below the industry average.

The most improved domestic nameplates were Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Dodge, Cadillac, Plymouth, Chevrolet and Chrysler.

"The Domestics are putting their money where their mouths are in terms of consistent long-term quality improvement," said Joe Ivers, partner and executive director of quality/customer satisfaction at J.D. Power and Associates. "However, while the Domestics continue to outpace the Europeans in long-term quality, the Japanese continue to dominate."

In the Corporate rankings, Toyota was followed by American Honda Motor Co., Porsche Cars North America, Inc., General Motors Corporation, and BMW of North America, respectively, with all five manufacturers ranked above the industry average."

Here are some of the details of the 2004 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study:

Top Vehicles By Category

Compact Car
Toyota Corolla

Entry Midsize Car
Chevrolet Malibu

Premium Midsize Car
Toyota Avalon

Full-Size Car
Chrysler Concorde

Entry Luxury
Lexus ES 300

Mid Luxury Car
Lincoln Town Car

Premium Luxury Car
Lexus LS 430

Sporty Car
Toyota MR2 Spyder

Premium Sports Car
Honda S2000

Compact Pickup
Ford Ranger

Light Duty Full-Size Pickup
Ford F-150 LD

Heavy Duty Full-Size Pickup
GMC Sierra HD

Entry SUV
Honda CR-V

Midsize SUV
Toyota 4Runner

Full-Size SUV
Chevrolet Tahoe

Entry Luxury SUV
Lexus RX300

Top Ten Nameplates

Lexus 162 PP100
Buick 187 PP100
Infiniti 189 PP100
Lincoln 194 PP100
Cadillac 196 PP100
Honda 209 PP100
Acura 212 PP100
Toyota 216 PP100
Mercury 224 PP100
Porsche 240 PP100

Top Ten Corporations

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. 207 PP100
American Honda Motor Co. 210 PP100
Porsche Cars North America, Inc. 240 PP100
General Motors Corporation 262 PP100
BMW of North America 264 PP100
Industry Average 269 PP100
Nissan North America 271 PP100
Ford Motor Company 275 PP100
Subaru of America, Inc. 288 PP100
DaimlerChrysler 302 PP100
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. 327 PP100

Source: J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Vehicle Dependability Study
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