J.D. Power Initial Quality Study: Considering a Porsche? Kia's the One You Want

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

If you’re planning to buy a new vehicle this year, J.D. Power wants you to know you’ll probably happier in a Kia than a Porsche.

Well, maybe less annoyed. By the little things. On average. That’s one takeaway from the firm’s annual ranking of automotive brands based on consumer complaints logged during the first 90 days of ownership.

This year’s J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study is good PR for many automakers, considering 21 of the 33 brands moved up in the rankings this year, including those in the Big Three. Domestic brands collectively recorded a lower problem tally than their foreign competition, a feat only accomplished one other time in the study’s three decade history.

Overall, initial quality rose six percent — the largest increase since 2009, a year many would like to forget. In another twist, non-premium brands outranked premium brands for the first time in a decade.

While the study is good news for domestic brands, especially Chrysler and Jeep (voted “most improved”), it’s fantastic, pound-the-table-and-laugh news for Kia. The Korean automaker ranked number one with 83 problems reported per 100 vehicles, ahead of Porsche’s 84.

This year, the two wildly dissimilar brands swapped places at the top of the list. You can almost hear Kia’s marketing team furiously typing.

Rounding out the top ten were Hyundai (3rd), Toyota (4th), BMW (5th), Chevrolet (6th), Buick (7th), Lexus (8th), Lincoln (9th) and Nissan (10th). Ford, GMC, Infiniti and Volkswagen were the only other brands to beat the industry average of 105 problems per 100 vehicles.

It was an especially bad year for Jaguar, which plummeted from third place in 2015 to 27th this year. The recently introduced F-Pace SUV and XE sedan arrived too late to be included in this year’s study.

Down in the segment rankings, the folks at Toyota can breathe a sigh of relief. The Corolla and Camry take the crown in the compact and midsize car categories, proving that the Earth is stable, on course, and hasn’t slipped off its axis.

The top two brands each captured two market segments apiece. Kia Sportage was the highest ranked small SUV, and the Soul the best compact MPV, while Porsche captured the compact premium SUV and midsize premium sporty car categories with the Macan and 911.

The study handed Chevrolet more ammo to use in its nasty battle against its better-selling full-size pickup rival. The Silverado ranked first in the large light duty pickup category, and the Silverado HD topped the large heavy duty pickup field.

[Image: Moto “Club4AG” Miwa/ Flickr]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Energetik9 Energetik9 on Jun 23, 2016

    Yeah, I'll take my 911 over a Kia, which as it happens has been completely problem free for two years now. Not like I place a single ounce of credibility to J.D. power anyway.

    • SC5door SC5door on Jun 23, 2016

      I'd fully expect someone that can afford a 911 to do that. Others are just as happy driving around in green Souls.

  • DrGastro997 DrGastro997 on Jun 24, 2016

    As much as I hate to admit it but the 911 is full of problems. I'm on my second 911 and the reliability seems to be getting worse because of all the electronic nonsense. Great performance but poor reliability according to my own experience.

  • SPPPP Too much individual choice in that program, maybe?
  • Eric I would like one of each, please. But make that a '641/2 Mustang and a 1970 240Z
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Funny comparison: https://gab.com/Did_I_Piss_You_Off/posts/112661740945412303
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Some insight. https://gab.com/Did_I_Piss_You_Off/posts/112661740945412303
  • Amwhalbi I know this is apples and oranges, but I'd rather have an Elantra N, a Jetta GLI or a Civic Si than either the Mustang or the Z.