DETROIT — KIA was ranked first in the new 2017 J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS) followed by Genesis and Porsche. The announcement was made on Wednesday at an Automotive Press Association meeting in Detroit.
The IQS measures the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100) during the first 90 days of ownership.
“When KIA joined the market for the first four years it was dead last,” said Dave Sargent, Vice President, Global Automotive at J.D. Power. “Now, for the second year in a row, KIA is the No. 1 brand. Very impressive with the number of launches. Launches are typically tough years for a model. To be No. 1 and to improve over last year is impressive.”
Detroit-based automakers Ford and RAM tied for fourth and Chevrolet ended up in sixth place. Lincoln ranked ninth and Buick ended up in 13th position.
“Breaking news for the domestics,” Sargent added. “The domestics have improved by ten-fold and have a high level of initial quality–fewer problems than the imports. Now, the domestics are leading the imports again. In the 31 years we’ve done the study, this is the best performance by the domestic manufacturers.”
Audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN) technologies are where most of the problems are being reported. Meanwhile, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings, collision avoidance/alert systems, and blind spot warnings are increasingly becoming more problematic as this technology is being rolled out to more and more models.
“Detroit automakers had a good showing in the JD Power Quality study,” said Michelle Krebs, director of automotive relations for Cox Automotive. “Issues with technology, particularly the human interface with technology, requires some attention as we move to more automated vehicles.”
When broken down into vehicle segments, Hyundai/KIA received five model awards with General Motors and BMW both tied with four.
Tesla was missing from the study. When asked why, Sargent said the California-based automaker refused to share its customer registration data with J.D. Power.
“I don’t know that they’re hiding anything,” Sargent answered. “They just don’t want to participate. They don’t want to play this game. We’re hoping they will come to the party because we’re increasingly getting this question. It’s not like their cars are falling apart.”
From J.D. Power: The U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on responses from nearly 80,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2017 model-year vehicles who were surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study is based on a 233-question battery organized into eight problem categories designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate the identification of problems and drive product improvement. The study was fielded from February through May 2017.