Lexus has once again taken top honors in the annual J.D. Power and Associates vehicle dependability study, a position it’s held for the past 14 years. Last year, however, saw Buick sharing the top spot but in the latest study the GM division has slipped to sixth place. The annual study looks at a number of measures in determining the dependability scores, but the key factor is the number of problems experienced by original owners of 3-year-old (2005 model year) vehicles.

The study found that, on average, owners report 75% more problems in the third year of ownership than during the first 90 days. It also showed that increased problems have a direct effect on satisfaction levels and the likelihood that owners will recommend the vehicle, a factor that’s proven to be critical for manufacturers.

After surveying more than 52,000 respondents researchers found that the most common problems were excessive wind noise, noisy brakes, vehicles pulling to the left or right, issues with the interior panels or dashboard and excessive window fogging.

For a 14th consecutive year, Lexus ranked highest in the study, improving by 25 problems per 100 vehicles since 2007 to achieve a score of 120. Following in the top five rankings were Mercury, Cadillac, Toyota and Acura, respectively.

Lexus also won six segment awards, with the ES330, GX470, IS300, LS430, LX470 and SC models all rating the highest for their respective segments. Toyota follows with five segment awards for the Highlander, Prius, RAV4, Sequoia, and Tundra. Ford received awards for the Crown Victoria and Ranger, while Honda earned awards for the Element and S2000.