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by Brett Davis

Ford’s luxury car brand in the US, Lincoln, has topped recent survey for original buyer vehicle dependability. The J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Survey took into account more than 43,700 original car owners of vehicles that were three years old (2008 model year), and recorded any problems that arose in the past 12 months.

J.D. Power uses a fairly simple method to rank cars by using what it calls PP100, or problems per 100 cars. According to the results, topping the manufacturer’s list overall was Lincoln, rated at 101 problems per 100 vehicles, down from last year’s second place score of 114. Lexus followed closely behind in second place with a score of 109, with Jaguar rounding out the top three with a score of 112.

Manufacturer’s ratings take all showroom models from each company into account. The average rating across all manufacturers this year was 151PP100, a new low since the survey first started in 1990.

Topping individual cars was the robust 2008 Porsche 911 with a score of just 68PP100. Toyota also became the leader in the individual car category segment and took home seven lowest PP100-rating achievements with the Lexus RX, Scion xB and the Toyota 4Runner, Prius, Sienna, Tacoma and Tundra all receiving the lowest score in their respective categories. Ford followed next with four of its cars picking up recognition.

According to J.D. Power, many of the problems that came about this year were down to electronic gizmos that are increasingly being fitted to cars. Things like satellite navigation, in-car entertainment systems and handy safety features such as in-car tyre monitors. David Sargent, vice president of global vehicle research at J.D. Power and Associates, said in a recent statement,

“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.”

Take a look at the results to see how your car shaped up. Keep in mind the survey results are based on US-sold vehicles but the ratings can be taken as a general guide.