General Motors, Toyota Tie For Top Spot In Quality Survey

First time in 12 years that Lexus had to share top spot.

General Motors Corp's Buick brand tied Toyota's Lexus on Aug. 9 in a closely-watched survey of vehicle dependability which showed how far U.S. automakers have gone to improve the quality of their vehicles. It was the first time in 12 years that Lexus had to share the top spot in the survey and GM and Ford brands managed to capture three of the top five overall rankings. Honda was awarded the third spot.

GM's Hummer won the prize for the most improved brand, but it was still ranked low in relation to the industry average.

And while GM, Ford and Chrysler showed improvement, many of their mass-market brands ranked at or below industry average.

Premium brand names were no promise of reliability: Saab, Land Rover were among the least reliable with scores ranking alongside Kia, Mazda, Volkswagen, Nissan, Suzuki and Isuzu, which was at the bottom of the list.

"Consumers don't necessarily need to pay premium prices to obtain high quality and dependability," said Neal Oddes, director of product research and analysis for J.D. Power and Associates.

The study also found that approximately 65% of vehicle owners experienced one or more problems that require components to be replaced within the first three years.

The study is based on a survey of more than 53,000 original owners of 2004 model-year vehicles performed from January through April 2007.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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