Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis sweep the top three spots on J.D. Power’s annual U.S. report card for new vehicle quality.
Maybe seeing is believing. For the second year in a row, the top three sports for initial quality are taken by the Korean brands. Genesis, a 3-year-old luxury spin-off from Hyundai topped the charts again, just as it did in 2018. Genesis owners reported just 63 problems per 100 vehicles; an absolutely amazing number that is an improvement even over 2018s number of 68. Kia and Hyundai were shortly behind at 70 and 71 respectively per 100 vehicles.
Across the industry, the trend line is flat year over year which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it does mean we need to give more credit to the brands that were able to best this trend and improve their rankings.
Also worth noting: This is Kia’s fifth straight year as the top ranked mass-market brand.
But what does this report really tell us? Well I covered it in more detail in this video:
But in summary, the report is based on customers reporting problems with their vehicles. Given this means of data collection, there is some inherent biases because different brands will have different expectations for their vehicles. This is why the luxury brands like Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Range Rover and others are often lower on the list. A Mercedes buyer is going to have different expectations of quality than a Toyota buyer. So the severity of problems in the Mercedes may be lower but the volume higher, which makes Mercedes look worse in this report. So the key here is to remember to keep these results in context.
But no matter how you look at it, the improvements that these Korean brands have made in the last several years is not going unnoticed and in fact it should be praised.