For the seventh straight year, Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus luxury division topped an industry study on the durability of 4- and 5-year-old cars and trucks, with fewer than half the problems of an average vehicle, Reuters reported.An average 1997 Lexus had 1.73 problems per vehicle, compared to 3.82 problems for the aver-age 1997 model-year vehicle, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2000 Vehicle Dependability Study of more than 40,000 owners.In May, Lexus also topped the 2001 J.D. Power study on initial quality, the research firm’s annual survey of customer-reported problems within the first 90 days of ownership.The Lexus LS 400 premium luxury sedan and the LX 450 full-size sport/utility vehicle topped their respective vehicle segments in dependability. The Lexus SC Coupe and the ES 300 sedan also placed within the top three in their respective segments.Following Lexus among brand rankings were Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.’s Infiniti, Ford Motor Co.’s Jaguar and Lincoln, and Honda Motor Co. Ltd.’s Acura. Only two non-luxury makes are in the top 10: Toyota and Honda.Four Toyota vehicles – the Tacoma compact pickup truck, the T100 full-size pickup truck, the 4Runner sport/utility vehicle, and the Supra sports car – topped their categories in dependability.Among the combined scores for U.S. carmakers, Ford’s brands moved into third place behind Toyota and Honda and ahead of Nissan. General Motors Corp. ranked fifth, followed by Daimler-Chrysler AG and Volkswagen AG in seventh.