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J.D. Power and Associates has just released its 2010 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS)... and Porsche, Lincoln and Buick have climbed on the podium (Buick, Jaguar and Lexus occupied the top spots in last year's 2009 Vehicle Dependability Study). The German automaker demonstrated a significant jump in quality (up ten spots) with Ford's brand hot on its heels (up six positions). While Buick dropped down, its score was indicative of improved quality – however, the bar had been raised.

This year's VDS found that several brands that perform well in the firm's dependability study are avoided due to public misperception about reliability. These brands include Cadillac, Ford, Hyundai, Lincoln and Mercury – all having the greatest lags between dependability performance and consumer perception. "Producing vehicles with world-class quality is just part of the battle for automakers; convincing consumers to believe in their quality is equally as important," says a J.D. Power and Associates spokesperson.

The Vehicle Dependability Study is designed to accurately measure problems experienced by original owners of three-year-old (2007 model year) vehicles. This year's study was based on responses from more than 52,000 vehicle owners surveys between October and December of 2009. Scores are based on the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with lower scores reflecting higher vehicle quality. The complete J.D. Power press release and charts can be found after the jump and in the gallery below.
 
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