Kia has topped J D Power’s Initial Quality Study in the US, which ranks brands by the number of flaws found by owners in their new cars in the first 90 days of ownership.
The study is one of the automotive industry’s most highly regarded quality surveys. Another Hyundai brand, Genesis, was ranked second, making it the top luxury car brand.
General Motors, Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler all improved. For the second consecutive year the three collectively had fewer problems reported in their vehicles than import brands.
This is Kia’s second win in the J D Power’s survey. Overall Hyundai finished eighth out of 33.
The study is based on responses from nearly 80,000 purchasers. The study found that technology in cars, particularly infotainment systems, is improving, but still remains a trouble spot. Issues such as voice recognition systems that can’t understand drivers and smartphones that won’t pair with the car have been an ongoing problem.
The study also found that some key high-tech safety systems also draw complaints, such as collision avoidance and lane departure features.
“An increasing number of consumer-reported problems sound warning bells for auto makers and suppliers,” the study states.
On points, Kia has 72 problems per 100 owners in the first 90 days – down from 83 last year. Genesis received a score of 77.
Porsche finished in third place with 78, with the Ford and Ram brands tied for fourth with 86. Ram rose dramatically from 20th place last year.
The industry average was 97 problems per 100 owners. After last place Fiat, with 163, came Jaguar and Volvo. Toyota fell from fifth place last year to 14th this year.
Mini was the most improved brand, rising from 29th to 12th.
The study was designed to provide automakers with customer feedback on the quality of new vehicles so they can benchmark that against their competitors, and to provide consumers with information to help them make informed car-buying choices, according to J D Power.