South Korean auto divisions Hyundai and Kia have nailed high marks in the traditional JD Power US survey of new vehicle quality, with the Japanese competitors for the first time in almost three decades sliding below the industry average.
Hyundai and its affiliate Kia are the world’s fifth largest automaker and both have nailed the top spot by the biggest margin seen in the history of the study, according to the J.D. Power initial vehicle quality study that has been released on Wednesday. Kia was even ahead of the mass-market brands in initial quality for the first time ever since the study has been commissioned. Overall, the industry performance soared by three percent to a rate of 112 problems per 100 vehicles from model year 2015. The Korean brands were at 90 (the smaller the rate, the better), the European rivals were at 113 and Japanese and American competitors were tied at 114, according to JD Power. “This is a clear shift in the quality landscape,” J.D. Power vice president Renee Stephens said in a statement. “For so long, Japanese brands have been viewed by many as the gold standard in vehicle quality. We’re seeing other brands, most notably Korean makes, really accelerating the rate of improvement.”
On the other hand, in the JD Power of long-term vehicle dependability, seen by the industry as a more accurate indicator, Toyota’s Lexus luxury brand achieved the top position for the fourth consecutive time. The study covering the initial quality problems – appearing in the first 90 days of ownership, had in the top three positions Volkswagen AG’s Porsche, Kia and Tata’s Jaguar.