Kia Takes the Lead in the 2016 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, With the Soul and Sportage Taking Honors
J.D. Power and Associates, one of the most trusted names in vehicle quality studies, announced last month for their 2016 study that overall new vehicle quality has increased a full 6% over the previous year--up from the 3% increase that we saw in 2015, and the largest improvement that the industry has seen since 2009. And leading that charge? Was Kia.
That's right: the same brand that once had to battle for space among the creaky economy cars of the American automotive market, and had to work to shake off a bad reputation for cheapness, now sits as King of the mountain for Initial Quality--above Porsche, BMW, and even Lexus.
It's the first time in 27 years that a non-luxury brand has been first in the rankings, as Kia jumped up one spot from its #2 ranking last year. Two of the models that were highlighted within the study were the 2016 Kia Soul and the 2016 Kia Sportage. So before you consider any other new car in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, or Gilbert, you need to check out a new Kia.
How Does the J.D. Power Study Rank Initial Quality?
From the J.D. Power website: "Initial quality is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality".
While the company does conduct a separate Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) that gathers information about consumer satisfaction over three years, the Initial Quality Study (IQS) looks at problems and issues that real drivers have with their cars within the first 90 days. Advancements in engineering, materials, eco-friendly construction, and the use of stronger, lighter components have skyrocketed vehicle quality overall, and given non-luxury brands like Kia the chance to compete heavily with brands like Porsche.
"Problems experienced" range from real issues with engine performance to simple dissatisfaction with seat comfort or ease of use for infotainment systems. Problems that are reported are sorted into one of eight categories:
- Engine and transmission
- Vehicle exterior
- Driving experience
- Features/controls/displays (FCD)
- Audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN)
- Heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC)
- Vehicle interior
Kia cars reported an average of 83 problems per 100 vehicles; Porsche was the runner-up with 84 PP100. The next-closest competitor was Hyundai with 92 PP100-nearly 10 more problems per one hundred cars than Kia.