Kia tops the quality study made by JD Power image

JD Power’s 2016 Initial Quality Study puts Kia on top of the ranks, a report that also shows an improvement made by the Detroit Big Three.

The Initial Quality Study made by JD Power examines problems experienced by car owners during the first 90 days of ownership. The latest report shows the automakers have stepped up a bit on the quality department of new-vehicles, as it improved by 6 percent this year, double the rate recorded in 2015 and the largest increase since 2009. Kia ranked highest among the 33 car brands in the study, overpassing Porsche, the first time in 27 years that a non-premium brand has topped the initial quality charts. It is also the second consecutive year when the South Korean automaker, which held the second spot in 2015, has led all non-premium makes in initial quality. Porsche ranked second among nameplates, followed by Hyundai, Toyota and BMW. On the bottom, there are third-to-last Volvo, next-to-last Fiat and very-last Smart.

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For just the second time in the 30-year history of the study, US domestic brands collectively have shown fewer problems than all the import brands combined and Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler posted year-over-year quality improvements. The last time they outpaced imports was in 2010. The “Detroit Three” achieved a combined average of 103 PP100, improving 10 percent from 2015, which is double the improvement rate of the import brands at 106 PP100.

“Manufacturers are currently making some of the highest quality products we’ve ever seen,” said Renee Stephens, vice president of US automotive quality at JD Power. “Tracking our data over the past several years, it has become clear that automakers are listening to the customer, identifying pain points and are focused on continuous improvement.”