ALG, a subsidiary of DealerTrack Holdings Inc., a leading provider of on-demand software and data solutions for the U.S. automotive retail industry, today announced that Toyota and Honda were the top performers among mainstream brands in ALG's Fall 2009 Perceived Quality Score (PQS). They had also been ranked first and second, respectively, in ALG's Spring 2009 PQS, and the two Japanese carmakers maintained substantial leads over all other mainstream brands.

Taking the third spot was German carmaker Volkswagen (VW), which had ranked fifth in last spring's PQS. VW edged out Nissan, which fell to fourth place from third. Rounding out the top five mainstream brands was Ford Trucks. ALG tabulates results separately for domestic manufacturers' cars and trucks/SUVs due to the wide perception gap that exists between these two categories.

Ford Cars showed the strongest year-over-year improvement in perceived quality, followed by Ford Trucks/SUVs. Ford's ability to avoid bankruptcy and launch new models in 2009 has likely generated increased consumer confidence in the brand. Hyundai rounded out the top three in terms of greatest year-over-year improvement.

"Toyota and Honda consistently lead the industry when it comes to perceived quality," said James Clark, general manager of ALG. "These companies have maintained a long history of durable and reliable powertrains, which resonates with consumers and often leads them to rate other characteristics like safety and design positively as well. Volkswagen's emotionally appealing designs have helped strengthen perceptions of its overall brand and lift VW into third place."

Now in its 9th year, ALG's PQS is based on a proprietary rating scale derived from surveys of car owners in the U.S., which then determines the relative positions of mainstream and luxury brands. The complete list with scores is available at: