Genesis, Kia, Hyundai lead the way in initial quality

Genesis, the Hyundai-owned luxury brand, earned the top spot in J.D. Power’s annual report on new-vehicle quality.

Hyundai and Kia, which are corporate siblings, have performed well in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study in recent years. For 2018, Genesis knocked Kia from first to second place, while Hyundai ranked third. It’s the first time that all three Korean brands have swept the top three slots, J.D. Power said.

German sports car maker Porsche took fourth place in the rankings, as the Porsche 911 earned the best individual score of any model on the market. Ford rounded out the top five.

The J.D. Power report on initial quality is followed closely by car shoppers and industry analysts. J.D. Power develops its rankings by tallying the number of problems that owners encounter during the first 90 days of ownership. Scores are measured using the number of problems per 100 vehicles.

“There’s no question that most automakers are doing a great job of listening to consumers and are producing vehicle quality of the highest caliber,” Dave Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power, said in a news release. “That said, some vehicle owners are still finding problems. As vehicles become more complex and automated, it is critical that consumers have complete confidence in automakers’ ability to deliver fault-free vehicles.”

Initial quality for all new vehicles combined improved 4% compared to 2017, reaching its highest level in the history of the J.D. Power study. Twenty-one brands out of 31 posted stronger scores. All three domestic manufacturers, led by Fiat Chrysler, saw their brands improve faster than the broader industry.

Infotainment issues, which have plagued some brands in past versions of the study, have begun to subside. The audio, communication, entertainment and navigation category remains the most problematic for new-vehicle owners, J.D. Power said, though owners found fewer problems for the third year in a row.

Mazda was the most-improved brand, while Mitsubishi, Cadillac, Infiniti, Hyundai and Lexus also made significant strides in initial quality.

Ford’s lineup took home the most individual awards. The Expedition, Mustang, F-Series Super Duty, Lincoln Continental and Lincoln MKC each ranked highest in their respective segments.

General Motors had winners in the Buick Envision, Chevrolet Silverado and Chevrolet Silverado HD, which was tied with Ford’s Super Duty in the heavy-duty pickup segment. The BMW 4 Series, X1 and X6 were also ranked No. 1 in their premium segments.

Here are the top 10 brands in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study:

  1. Genesis
  2. Kia
  3. Hyundai
  4. Porsche
  5. Ford
  6. Chevrolet
  7. Lincoln
  8. Lexus
  9. Ram
  10. Nissan