The just-released J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) has found that Lincoln has become the leading brand when it comes to overall dependability. Ford Motor Company's premium marque totaled up a 101 score in the VDS index, reducing its aggregate problems-per-100-vehicle index by 13 and earning its first-ever VDS crown in the process.

The comprehensive Power survey tallies problems experienced during the past 12 months by over 43,700 original owners of three-year-old (2008-model year) vehicles in 202 different specific areas. Lincoln's ascension to primacy dethroned last-year's winner Lexus, which dipped to second place with a 109 VDS number. Jaguar (112), Porsche (114) and Toyota (122) rounded out the top five nameplates, with Acura (123), Buick (125), Mercedes-Benz 128), Cadillac (130), Hyundai (132), Honda (139), Ford (140), Saab (146) and Infiniti (151) all ranking above or at the VDS 151 industry average. The 2011 VDS average reflects a 19-point improvement compared to 2010, and is the best since the inception of the VDS. During the past decade, the VDS scores have consistently gotten better, averaging on the order of eight percent annually.

Toyota was the most successful overall automaker in the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, rolling off with top segment honors for its 4Runner, Prius, Sienna, Tacoma and Tundra models as well as for the Lexus RX and Scion xB. Ford took four VDS best-in-class rankings for the Fusion and Mustang along with the Lincoln MKZ and Navigator. The best-scoring individual vehicle was the Porsche 911, which recorded a stellar 68 problems per 100 units.

In presenting the 2011 VDS findings, David Sargent, vice president of global vehicle research at J.D. Power and Associates noted: "Automakers, as a whole, have made significant improvements in reducing traditional problems, particularly with vehicle interiors; engines and transmissions; and steering and braking during the past several years. However, as manufacturers add new features and technologies to satisfy customer demand and new legislation, they face the potential for introducing new problems."

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