Car Quality Study Topped By Non-Luxury Brand

For the first time in 27 years, a non-luxury brand has come in first in the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study.

Mnet 191866 Kia Soul

Kia, the South Korean brand that has spent years trying to overcome a reputation for shoddy cars, placed first out of 33 brands in one of the auto industry's most closely watched quality surveys — J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study. Kia owners reported 83 problems per 100 cars, beating the industry average of 105.

“Ranking number one in the entire industry for initial quality is the result of Kia’s decade-long focus on craftsmanship and continuous improvement, and reflects the voice of our customers, which is the ultimate affirmation,” said Michael Sprague, chief operating officer for Kia Motors America, in a statement. “As the highest ranked brand in the industry, there is no doubt Kia is a world-class automaker.”

Overall, the quality of vehicles seems to have improved as 21 of the 33 brands in the study showed an improvement over their 2016 scores in the study. Chrysler and Jeep were the most improved brands with 28 fewer reported problems than a year ago each — but both are still worse than the industry average.

"Manufacturers are current making some of the highest-quality products that we've ever seen," says Renee Stephens, vice president of automotive quality at J.D. Power. "It has become clear that automakers are listening to the customer, identifying 'pain points' and are focused on continuous improvement."

Here's how the brands stacked up, the number of problems reported per 100 vehicles and the number of positions the brands rose or fell from a year ago.

1. Kia (83, +1)

2. Porsche (84, -1)

3. Hyundai (92, +1)

4. Toyota (93, +5)

5. BMW (94, +1)

6. Chevrolet (95, +1)

7. Buick (96, +4)

7. Lexus (96, +2)

7. Lincoln (96, +1)

10. Nissan (101, +10)

11. Ford (102, +1)

12. GMC (103, +4)

12. Infiniti (103, -7)

14. Volkswagen (104, +9)

INDUSTRY AVERAGE: 105 (down from 112)

15. Audi (110, +1)

16. Mercedes-Benz (111, -2)

17. Cadillac (112, +4)

18. Jeep (113, +11)

19. Ram (114, -6)

20. Chrysler (115, +11)

21. Mitsubishi (116, +5)

22. Dodge (117, -4)

23. Subaru (118, +7)

23. Honda (119, -10)

25. Acura (122, +1)

26. Scion (123, -1)

27. Jaguar (127, -24)

27. Mazda (127, -4)

27. Mini (127, -6)

30. Land Rover (132, -2)

31. Volvo (152, -12)

32. Fiat (174, +1)

33. smart (216, -1)

Source: J.D. Power and Associates


Top Three Models Per Segment

City Car: Chevrolet Spark

Small Car: Hyundai Accent, Chevrolet Sonic, Kia Rio

Small Premium Car: Lexus CT, BMW 2 Series, Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

Compact Car: Toyota Corolla, Kia Forte, Hyundai Elantra

Compact Sporty Car: Buick Cascada (tie), Scion tC (tie), Hyundai Veloster

Compact MPV: Kia Soul

Compact Premium Car: Lincoln MKZ, Lexus ES, BMW 3 Series

Compact Premium Sporty Car: Audi TT, Porsche Boxster, Porsche Cayman

Midsize Car: Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord

Midsize Sporty Car: Dodge Challenger

Minivan: Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan

Midsize Premium Car: Lexus GS, Audi A7, Hyundai Genesis

Midsize Premium Sporty Car: Porsche 911

Large Car: Hyundai Azera, Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala

Small SUV: Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Buick Encore

Small Premium SUV: Audi Q3, BMW X1

Compact SUV: Chevrolet Equinox (tie), GMC Terrain (tie), Ford Escape

Compact Premium SUV: Porsche Macan, Lincoln MKC, BMW X3

Midsize SUV: Toyota Highlander, Kia Sorento, Nissan Murano

Midsize Premium SUV: BMW X5, BMW X6, Lexus RX

Midsize Pickup: Nissan Frontier, GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Colorado

Large SUV: Chevrolet Tahoe, Toyota Sequoia, Ford Expedition

Large Premium SUV: Lincoln Navigator, Infiniti QX80, Land Rover Range Rover

Large Light Duty Pickup: Chevrolet Silverado LD, GMC Sierra LD

Large Heavy Duty Pickup: Chevrolet Silverado HD, Ford Super Duty, GMC Sierra HD


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