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Ford sitting atop survey for reliability

Ford Motor Co., the only major U.S. automaker to avoid bankruptcy, ranks higher than its domestic competitors in reliability, with average or above ratings on 90 percent of its models, Consumer Reports magazine said.

Ford's Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans did better than Toyota Motor Corp.'s Camry and Honda Motor Co.'s Accord, the segment's top sellers, the magazine said yesterday in its annual auto-reliability survey.

"Ford seems to have really differentiated itself from the other domestic automakers," said Tom Libby, an independent automotive analyst based in Birmingham, Mich. "If they can continue that trend, it will give them a huge advantage."

Through September, the second-largest U.S. automaker accounted for 15.8 percent of U.S. sales, up 1 percentage point from 2008, according to Autodata Corp., of Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

David Champion at the magazine's New York Automotive Test Center, said in a statement that "it's rare for Consumer Reports to see family sedans from domestic carmakers continue to beat the reliability scores of such highly regarded Japanese models."

General Motors Co., the largest U.S. automaker, had 20 of its 48 models with average or above reliability, the magazine said. The results were released at an Automotive Press Association meeting in Detroit.

More than one-third of Chrysler Group LLC's products were "much worse than average," Consumer Reports said, recommending only the four-wheel-drive Dodge Ram 1500 pickup. Three brands were among the four with the lowest scores.

Of the 48 models with top-reliability scores, 36 were from Asian automakers, the magazine said. Toyota accounted for 18 of the top-ranked models while Honda had eight. The results cover 2000 through 2009 models and are based on reader surveys conducted in this year's first half.

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