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Kia Tops 2016 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

U.S. automakers see best overall improvement in seven years

U.S. automakers see best overall improvement in seven years

For the first time in 27 years, a non-premium brand has ranked highest in J.D. Power and Associates’ Initial Quality Study. With a score of 83 PP100, Kia ranked highest in the study. This is the Korean automaker’s second year topping the non-premium brand list.

The J.D. Power Initial Quality Study tracks new vehicle problems during the first 90 days of ownership. PP100 refers to the number of problems per 100 vehicles. Brands are ranked by lowest number of problems.

Porsche came in second place with 84 PP100, while Hyundai came in third place with 92 PP100. Toyota (93 PP100) and BMW (94 PP100) round out the top five. J.D. Power recognized Chrysler and Jeep as the most improved brands with each nameplate having 28 less problems per 100 than the previous year.

Overall, initial quality is up across the automotive market. According to J.D. Power, 21 of the 33 brands showed improvement in 2016 compared to last year with one brand staying steady.

“Manufacturers are currently making some of the highest quality products we’ve ever seen,” said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive quality at J.D. Power, in a release. “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. Even as they add more content, including advanced technologies that have had a reputation for causing problems, overall quality continues to improve.”

Additionally, seven GM models earned awards as did six models from Toyota. This year also marks the second time in the study’s 30-year history that U.S. automakers scored a higher average score than import brands, at 103 PP100 versus 106 PP100. U.S. automakers saw an improvement of 10 percent from 2015, while import automakers saw an improvement of just 5 percent. Additionally, non-premium brands (104 PP100) had fewer problems than premium brands (108 PP100).

“There is a direct correlation between the number of problems a customer has with their new vehicle and the decisions they make when it comes time to purchase or lease their next car or truck,” said Stephens. “While a small drop in actual loyalty may not sound like much, a percentage point drop in share can mean millions of dollars in lost revenue to an automaker.”

Source: J.D. Power