Korean quality, that’s the name of the game in J.D. Power’s latest annual Initial Quality Study. Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury brand, topped the annual U.S. report card for 2018 new vehicle quality for the first-time ever. Their renewed focus on giving customers exactly what they want and avoiding operator confusion by not making the vehicles too complicated is at the heart of their first-place ranking. They are followed in the rankings by Kia, who had led this study the past two years, and Hyundai taking third place. This is the first time South Korea’s three main automotive brands have led these survey results.
J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study measures the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100) during the first 90 days of ownership, with a focus on vehicle exterior, interior, safety, performance and other criteria. For 2018, Genesis ranks highest in initial quality with a score of 68 PP100, followed by Kia (72) and Hyundai (74). The Korean trio have taken over from the longtime Japanese leaders, Toyota and Honda, who ranked below the industry average for 2018.
Overall, new-vehicle quality has increased for the fourth consecutive year and has reached its best level ever. The area where car companies have made the biggest improvement is vehicle exterior, specifically around less wind noise and fewer paint imperfections. Electronics and infotainment system technology remain the most problematic category for new vehicle owners. However, the improvement of built-in voice recognition systems, has increased their scores in recent years. Safety continues to be a concern as well. Despite the level of problems being low, these types of issues have been increasing by about 20% annually for the past three years.
In addition to offering the top three brands, the FFUN Group sported nine segment winners. If you’re looking for quality in your next new vehicle, each of these models are worth a look.
Small car: Kia Rio
Small premium car: Acura ILX
Midsize sporty car: Ford Mustang
Large premium car: Genesis G90
Minivan: Dodge Grand Caravan
Small SUV: Hyundai Tucson
Midsize SUV: Kia Sorento
Large SUV: Ford Expedition
Large heavy-duty pickup: Ford Super Duty (tie)
J.D. Power said the study is based on responses from 75,712 buyers and lessees of new 2018 model-year vehicles. The study was conducted from February through May.