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Lexus gets top spot in survey of buyers

Lexus rated first in owner satisfaction in the 1991 J.D. Power survey of new car owners, and Japanese makes claimed six of the top eight spots. The top U.S. automaker was Ford, which finished eighth in the survey released Friday. The survey _ widely used in advertising _ assesses car buyers' satisfaction with their cars after 90 days of ownership.

Topping the list were the Japanese Lexus and Infiniti makes, the luxury nameplates of Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., respectively. Following, in descending order, were Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Acura, Honda, Subaru and Ford.

Lincoln, Buick, Oldsmobile, Mercury and Cadillac rounded out the top 13 car lines named in the J.D. Powers and Associates 1991 Initial Quality Study, based on questionnaires filled out by more than 33,000 car buyers.

The survey is financed by automakers, which pay the company for detailed research reports.

It was the second consecutive year Lexus took the top spot.

North American makes and models improved, with six car lines in the top 13 spots, but the upper portion of the list was dominated by Japanese makes.

The survey indicated that the industry's average number of problems per 100 cars has fallen by 19 percent since 1988.

"These car lines . . . form a small but stellar group of nameplates that outperforms other carlines in initial quality as measured by problems per 100 cars year after year," J.D. Power said.

How they ranked

Here are the most trouble-free automotive brands in J.D. Power's 1991 survey of new-car owners. The nameplates are ranked by number of problems per 100 cars.

Name Country Prob.

1. Lexus Japan 55

2. Infiniti Japan 89

3. Toyota Japan 90

4. Mercedes Ger. 99

5. Acura Japan 109

6. Honda Japan 111

7. Subaru Japan 126

8. Ford U.S. 127

9. Lincoln U.S. 131

10. Olds. U.S. 134

11. Buick U.S. 134

Mazda Japan 134

13. Mercury U.S. 138

Cadillac U.S. 138

15. BMW Ger. 141

16. Saturn U.S. 151

17. Eagle U.S. 155

18. Plymouth U.S. 156

19. Nissan Japan 160

20. Pontiac U.S. 164

Source: J.D. Power & Associates.