Kia leads auto industry in J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

Kia Optima available at Miami Lakes AutomallFor the first time in over two decades, a non -luxury car brand, Kia Motors, received the superior scores in the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study. In the study’s 30-year history, only one other non-premium brand has also ranked highest. The scores were released by J.D. Power and Associates at the Automotive Press Association Wednesday morning, June 22nd.

The J.D. Power Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than 80,000 owners and lessees of 2016 model-year vehicles after they have had the vehicle for more than 90 days. Among the 33 brands studied this year, 21 of them had a 6% increase in quality, and Kia was at the top of the list.

While it is a pleasant surprise to see a non-premium brand at the top of the list, it’s not completely shocking that Kia was the brand to take rank highest. Last year Kia placed second while Porsche was in the lead.

Kia had several vehicles that scored among the top three vehicles per class. These vehicles include: the Kia Sorento in the midsize SUV class; Kia Sportage in the small SUV class; the Kia Soul in the compact MPV Class; Kia Forte in the compact car class; and Kia Rio is the small car class.

Aside from the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, another notable aspect of Kia vehicles is their annual frequency and return on the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety’s (I.I.H.S.) list of Top Safety Picks. This year, five Kia vehicles were I.I.H.S. Top Safety Picks.

Over the last four years, non-luxury brands have been increasing their scores and that trend is very clear in this year’s study. Other brands that also showed improvement on the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study were Chevrolet, Jeep and ChryslerChevrolet was ranked sixth on the list and is the highest ranked American manufacturer on the list. In comparison to the study’s 2015 results, Jeep and Chrysler both improved their 2016 scores by 28 points, the strongest improvement among the other 33 auto brands.

“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 press 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.”

In laymen’s terms, Stephens seems to indicate that vehicle owner and driver feedback is making an impact in the auto industry and manufacturers are taking such feedback seriously when designing their new vehicles.

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Kia received the lowest number of problems per 100 vehicles in the J.D. Power 2016 Initial Quality Study, based on 80,157 total responses, evaluating 245 models, and measures the opinions of new 2016 vehicle owners after 90 days of ownership, surveyed in February-May 2016. Your experiences may vary. Visit


Photo Source:; Photo Copyright: Darren Brode


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