TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. took the top spot in Japan's first independent study of long-term vehicle dependability, cementing its reputation as a quality powerhouse following years of similar performance overseas.
The study by consultancy J.D. Power & Associates was based on responses from 18,251 drivers in Japan surveyed at up to 50 months of car ownership when questioned about scores of specific problems ranging from handling and braking to sound systems.
The same survey is closely watched in the United States, where dependability is a major consideration when customers buy a new car and where auto makers often cite their survey scores in advertisements.
Honda Motor Co., Japan's third-biggest auto maker, came in second for vehicles purchased in 2002, followed by Nissan Motor Co., J.D. Power announced on Thursday.
Nissan scored second after Toyota for cars bought in 2000 and 2001, followed by Honda and Mazda Motor Corp., which were both below the industry average.
Toyota outperformed in all three categories, with 89 problems per 100 vehicles for purchases in 2002, against the industry average of 104 and 170 for DaimlerChrysler AG's luxury Mercedes-Benz brand at the bottom of the chart.
Toyota has long dominated surveys on vehicle dependability in the United States, with its Lexus luxury marque winning top honours in 2004 for the 10th year in a row.
Rankings for the three surveys were as follows:
Vehicles purchased in 2002:
1) Toyota2) Honda3) Nissan 4) Subaru (Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.) 5) Mazda 6) Mitsubishi Motors Corp. 7) BMW 8) Volkswagen AG 9) Mercedes-Benz
Vehicles purchased in 2001:
1) Toyota 2) Nissan 3) Honda 4) Mazda 5) BMW 6) Subaru 7) Mitsubishi Motors 8) Volkswagen 9) Mercedes-Benz
Vehicles purchased in 2000:
1) Toyota 2) Nissan 3) Honda 4) Mazda 5) Mitsubishi Motors 6) Mercedes-Benz 7) Subaru 8) BMW 9) Volkswagen