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The Initial Quality Study by J.D. Power and Associates has a 30 year history, and this year was the second time a non-luxury brand was ranked highest. In late June, the 2016 study results were published and Kia ranked above the other 33 brands in the study. Kia overtook the place of Porsche, the highest ranked brand for the last three years, to lead the auto industry in terms of overall performance and quality.
Although this is the first time a non-luxury brand was ranked the highest, it is no surprise that it was Kia. For the last three years, Porsche had been awarded, and Kia was not far behind in the previous two years.
Tim Chaney, vice president of marketing communications at Kia Motors America, told Automotive News, "It's a long purchase and consideration cycle for consumers in this industry, so there are still a lot of consumers who aren't paying attention to how far Kia has come, but we're confident we will catch up, and quickly."
Kia didn’t just get the top scores out of 33 auto brands, but mulitple Kia vehicles scored among the top three vehicles for various classes. These include: the Kia Sportage in the small SUV class; the Kia Sorento in the midsize SUV class; the Kia Rio in the small car class; the Kia Soul in the compact MPV Class; and the Kia Forte in the compact car class.
Kia has also been known for its safety features, and every year makes its way to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety’s (I.I.H.S.) list of Top Safety Picks. In fact, five of Kia’s vehicles were chosen for I.I.H.S. Top Safety Picks this year.
The leg up non-luxury brands are starting to get is their challenge to the features of premium brands.
“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 Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive quality at J.D. Power in a statement. “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.”
Other brands that have shown improvement in the last four years are Jeep, Chevrolet, and Chrysler with Chevrolet being in the top 10 and was the highest ranked American manufacturer. Jeep and Chrysler both improved their scores in the last year by 28 points, the strongest improvement amongst all 33 brands. This goes to show that the auto industry and manufacturers are taking consumer feedback to heart and keep it in mind when designing new vehicles.
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 jdpower.com.