WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA - With consumers increasingly tightening their purse strings and putting off big-ticket purchases, car owners are electing to keep their current vehicles instead of buying brand new. This means that a car's reliability and durability are more critical than ever.

J.D. Power and Associates' influential "2009 Vehicle Dependability Study Results," released recently, focuses on problems experienced by owners of 2006 model-year vehicles. The study provides information gathered from over 46,000 original owners and covers a total of 202 problems, broken out into eight categories: exterior; the driving experience; features, controls, and displays; audio, entertainment, and navigation; seats; HVAC; interior; and engine and transmission.

Who topped the list? Luxury carmaker Jaguar tied Buick for the No. 1 spot, ousting Lexus, now in the No. 2 spot, followed by Toyota, Mercury, Infiniti, and Acura. Suzuki, Volkswagen, and Land Rover rounded out the bottom three brands on the list.

"Making improvements in long-term quality not only satisfies customers who are holding on to their vehicles longer, but it will also influence their decisions when they return to the new-vehicle market or are seeking to purchase a preowned vehicle," David Sargent, vice president of automotive research at J.D. Power, said to the Detroit News.