For the 11th straight year, Lexus is the top brand for long-term quality in the US, a J.D. Power and Associates study concludes.
Porsche showed a dramatic improvement in J.D. Power's 2005 Vehicle Dependability Study for owners of 3-year-old cars and light trucks in the US.
The German sports car maker finished second in the study's rankings, up from 10th last year.
Lexus showed a 14 percent improvement in dependability over 2004, according to the study.
Owners of Lexus cars and light trucks reported 139 problems per 100 vehicles. The industry average is 237 problems.
Porsche had 149 problems per 100 vehicles, a 38 percent year-over-year improvement.
"Porsche didn't change much of their lineup" from the 2001 to 2002 model year, says Neal Oddes, J.D. Power's director of product research. "They just improved on what they had."
Audi, Saab decline
Other European automakers did not do so well.
Audi and Saab were the only brands that did not show year-over-year improvements.
Audi had 312 problems per 100 vehicles in this year's study, a 6 percent increase from 2004.
Audi US spokesman Patrick Hespen says Audi "has brought in more engineers focused on quality" in the past few years.
Saab had 286 problems per 100 vehicles, an 8 percent increase from last year. Annette Clayton, GM North America's vice president of quality, says GM has spent several years integrating Saab into its vehicle development process.
"Saab is now following the same processes we've followed with other vehicles," Clayton says. "The 9-3 was redesigned in the 2003 model year, and that redesign should help significantly."
Land Rover, last year's lowest performer, was second to last this year with 395 problems per 100 vehicles.
Hyundai, which was ranked No. 20, showed the largest year-over-year reduction in the number of problems reported by owners.
Hyundai subsidiary Kia was last in the 2005 study of 37 brands.