The test was conducted this year, but the subjects of the poll are three-year-old cars, meaning this test really shows who was building the most dependable cars in 2008. In spite of that, this is one of the most comprehensive tests on the subject, and it is a good indicator of changes in the industry.
43,700 people were polled to make up the survey. Each person was questioned on about 202 different problems that their cars could have experienced.
The rankings are assembled by counting how many problems each owner experienced over the past year of of their cars' lives. For the first time in the history of the test, Lincoln topped the dependability charts. Lincoln owners reported back with 101 problems for every 100 cars. Lexus slotted in to the number two spot with eight more problems per 100 cars than their American competitor.
Mini ranked dead last in the poll with an average of 221 problems per 100 cars.
The Chrysler Group had the poorest showing of all the car companies with Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep placing fifth, fourth and second to last respectively. All of the Mopar manufacturers came back with over 200 problems for every 100 vehicles.
In spite of this, the automotive industry as a whole had its best year yet, with an average of 151 problems per vehicle. The study began in 1990 and since then, the trend has been for cars to improve by around eight percent every year.
Not only are the brands ranked, but individual models are too. Toyota had the best showing, the Japanese manufacturer was given seven awards for having the most dependable car in seven different segments.
Even though Lincoln has the top average and Lexus has the most segment-topping cars, the overall most reliable car belonged to neither brand. The Porsche 911 topped the charts with just 68 problems per 100 cars.