Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln brand ranked highest in an annual vehicle-dependability survey, the first time in four years an American nameplate has taken the top spot.

The survey, which measures problems experienced by original owners of 2008 model vehicles, found Lincoln leading the pack with the least amount of troubles, according to J.D. Power and Associates which questioned 43,700 owners.

Lexus, Jaguar, Porsche and Toyota rounded out the top five spots. Mini was the worst in dependability followed by Jeep, Land Rover, Dodge and Chrysler, according to the survey.

General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet brand was the biggest mover jumping up eight spots over last year as the number of reported problems fell. Driving the change were improvements made to the Silverado pickup truck.

"The 2011 study is of 2008 model year vehicles so the immediate impact here really is on the used-car market, although auto makers use these insights to make improvements on vehicles being built today," said J.D. Power spokesman John Tews. "Many of the new cars that are now being sold have improved from 2008."

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