Genesis Ranked Highest Premium Nameplate For Initial Quality By JD Power

Which Car Ranks Highest for Quality? Surprisingly, It's a Kia
New vehicle reliability hits record high but driver-assist features struggle
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22 June, 2017

South Korea's Kia Motors Corp. took top honors for the second year in a row and affiliate Hyundai Motor Co.'s Genesis brand finished No. 2 in its inaugural year. However, Lexus' score of 98 is just two off from past year and one below the industry average. Vehicles were evaluated on driving experience, engine and transmission performance and a broad range of quality problem symptoms reported by vehicle owners. As competitors led by the Koreans catch up, Lexus models are now merely near the middle of the pack - the industry average for brands this year improved to a rate of 97 problems.

"Automotive manufacturers are responding to consumer feedback and producing vehicles of the highest quality", says J.D. Power Global Automotive VP Dave Sargent. "Like everybody else, they've had challenges with new technology and they haven't shown improvement while many others have". This improvement helped Ford tie for fourth among all brands from 11 in 2016. There is absolutely no compromise when it comes to the quality and safety of our vehicles.

In a situation that was common throughout this year's survey, Kia improved its score from last year, recording 72 problems per 100 vehicles compared with 83 in the 2016 survey.

Kia repeats in the No.1 spot from 2016, while newcomer Genesis, Hyundai's premium marque and in its first year on the market, ranks second. The lowest ranking brands were Fiat, Jaguar, Volvo, Mitsubishi and Land Rover.

"Many people wondered if we could maintain such a lofty position", Michael Sprague, chief operating officer of Kia's USA sales unit, said in a statement. As a result, J.D. Power said it does not have enough responses from Tesla owners to include in the survey.

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"Receiving this award in our very first year in the US market is a strong testament toward the commitment and meticulous work of Genesis", said Head of Genesis Brand, Manfred Fitzgerald.

To identify the best and worst new cars, 24/7 Wall St. listed the problems per 100 vehicles score for each of the 32 nameplates measured in J.D. Power's 2017 U.S. Initial Quality Study.

Luxury brands have one excuse for the falling rankings: They tend to pack their cars with more of the latest electronic gadgets, opening themselves up to additional opportunities for things to go wrong. The largest increases in problems are for cruise control (primarily adaptive cruise); lane departure warning; collision avoidance/alert systems; and blind spot warning.

Detroit Three brands make some big gains this year, with Ram and Ford among the most-improved in the survey, with 28 and 16 fewer problems per 100 vehicles, respectively.


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