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It's a new milestone. Hyundai has surpassed Toyota for the top rank in the latest Vehicle Health Index, a survey of repair costs plotted by website CarMD. But after spending two consecutive years in second place, behind the Japanese giant, Hyundai has landed in the top spot – which means the annual cost of maintaining and repairing a Hyundai is now the lowest of any brand.

Now in its third year, "the Vehicle Health Index Manufacturer & Vehicle Ranking provides car shoppers with insight on what to expect in terms of frequency, type and cost of repairs for the majority of new and used vehicles on the road today,” explains Doug Sobieski, CarMD’s chief marketing officer.

General Motors, which has been rapidly gaining ground in other recent quality and reliability studies, landed in third place in the Vehicle Health Index followed by what might come as another surprise, Chrysler -- ahead of Honda, another Japanese maker traditionally linked to high quality.

According to NBC News, Hyundai’s improved ranking was fueled by its low frequency of repairs. While the survey found that products from both Hyundai and Toyota vehicles actually had more trips to the repair shop and higher year-over-year average repair bills than during the previous survey, Hyundai owners felt less of an impact.

Hyundai and Toyota weren’t alone. Half of the top 10 manufacturers – also including Nissan, Kia and Volkswagen -- experienced a drop in reliability ratings, with more frequent visits to the repair shop and increased average repair costs. The other five -- GM, Chrysler, Honda, Ford and Mitsubishi -- saw improved ratings with GM experiencing the largest boost – moving from No. 8 to No. 3 in terms of fewer repairs and lower costs. Coming in at No. 10, Mitsubishi made the top ten for the first time this year.

GM had the lowest average repair cost among the top 10-ranked manufacturers ($304.99). Toyota had the highest overall repair cost ($540.53).