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Lexus tops quality survey again
In J.D. Power survey, Toyota's new cars have fewest problems. GM comes in second.
May 18, 2005: 3:31 PM EDT
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Toyota's 2005 Lexus SC430
Toyota's 2005 Lexus SC430
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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - For the second year in a row, the Lexus SC 430 ranked as the most reliable new car on the market, according to a study released Wednesday.

Lexus is Toyota's luxury brand.

J.D. Power's annual Initial Quality Study said owners of an SC 430 reported 54 problems per 100 vehicles in the first 90 days of ownership. (The average number of reported defects across the industry is 118 problems per 100 cars.)

Other Toyota models scored high marks as well, coming in first in another 9 out of 18 model segments. The Prius (compact car), the Scion tC (Sporty Car) and Toyota RAV4 (Entry SUV) all placed first in their segment.

General Motors also made a strong showing, placing five models at the top of their section including the Chevrolet Malibu/Malibu Maxx (Entry Midsize Car), Buick Century (Premium Midsize Car) and Chevrolet Suburban (Full-Size SUV).

Ford captured the top spot in two segments, with the Ford Explorer Sport Trac for most reliable new Midsize Pickup and Ford F-150 LD for Full-Size Pickup.

Nissan made the most improvements with the Quest. The Kia Spectra, the HUMMER H2, and the Scion xA also made notable improvements, according to the study.

The industry overall made only a slight quality improvement this year, recording less than one percent fewer problems compared to 2004.

But staff at J.D. Power said the low improvement rate in 2005 should not be taken as a sign that high quality has been reached.

"Even though the 2005 results may suggest a plateau in quality, manufacturers should not become complacent," said the market research firm's Chance Parker, noting that similar plateau's had been reached twice in the past, each year followed by big gains in quality. "Car companies that take their eye off the ball risk being left behind."

The study measured 135 specific areas across nine broad categories including ride/handling/braking, engine and transmission, and a range of quality problems symptoms reported by vehicle owners.

It is based on responses from more than 62,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2005 model-year cars and trucks, who were surveyed after 90 days of ownership.

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