Rounding out the five highest-ranking brands are Porsche, Cadillac, Toyota and Scion, respectively.
At the other end of the spectrum, Jaguar was the fifth lowest-ranking brand, followed by the four Chrysler Group brands Ram, Jeep, Dodge, and Chrysler in descending order.
The annual study looks at problems experienced by original owners (a total of 31,000 were surveyed) of three-year-old (2009 model year) vehicles and includes 198 different problem symptoms across all areas of the vehicle. Overall dependability is determined by the level of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.
In 2012, overall vehicle dependability averaged 132 PP100--an improvement of 13 percent from the 2011 average of 151--which is the lowest problem rate since the inception of the study in 1990. Fully 25 of the 32 brands in the study have improved in dependability from last year, while only six have declined and one has remained stable.
Luxury brands, both foreign and domestic, have done especially well, with six out of the top 10 highest ranked brands being luxury or near-premium brands. Toyota has also done exceptionally well considering its past troubles, with its three brands--Toyota, Scion and Lexus--all ranking in the top five spots.
The most dependable vehicle was the Lexus LS, which was found to have just 72 problems per 100 vehicles. Note, Land Rover and Saab were included in the study but didn’t make the list due to their insufficient sample sizes.
Below is a list of the top 10 brand rankings for 2012 and their average PP100:
1) Lexus - 86
2) Porsche - 98
3) Cadillac - 104
4) Toyota - 104
5) Scion - 111
6) Mercedes-Benz - 112
7) Lincoln - 116
8) Ford - 124
9)Buick - 125
10) Hyundai - 125
Industry Average - 132
32) Chrysler - 192