South Korean Carmakers Rank Highest For Quality In 2019

JD Power quačity study 2019
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Reliability is perhaps the top thing that consumers look for when buying a new car.

Most consumers are probably of the belief that the Japanese make the most reliable automobiles, with the Germans and Americans coming in just behind.

That would leave the Koreans out in the cold, but as the new JD Power Initial Quality Study proves, the reality is really rather different than those perceptions.

What the survey shows is that the three Korean automakers are actually the most reliable vehicles in the US, as the 2019 JD Power survey clearly shows.

It is Genesis, Kia, and Hyundai, all member of the same automotive group, who took the top 3 slots, respectively, the second straight year in which they have done so in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS).

The Study looks at the number of problems that an owner faces during the first 3 months of ownership of their vehicle.

Luxury brand Genesis took the #1 spot with 63 problems per 100 vehicles, with Kia and Hyundai hot on their heels in the top three.

Sitting behind the top 3 are American automakers Ford, Lincoln, and Chevrolet. They are trailed by Lexus and Toyota. The industry average sits at 93 problems per 100, with all the previously mentioned automakers bettering that score.

Sitting below the average score are European automakers that include Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Volvo, and Volkswagen, with Land Rover and Jaguar occupying the bottom spots on the list.

Listed below is the official order of finish of all the automakers that were included in the IQS.

TOP quality car makers in 2019

  • Genesis (63)
  • Kia (70)
  • Hyundai (71)
  • Ford (83)
  • Lincoln (84)
  • Chevrolet (85)
  • Nissan (86)
  • Dodge (90)
  • Lexus (90)
  • Toyota (90)
  • Buick (92)
  • GMC (94)
  • Mazda (94)
  • Mercedes-Benz (94)
  • Porsche (96)
  • Honda (98)
  • Cadillac (100)
  • Jeep (100)
  • Infiniti (101)
  • BMW (102)
  • Ram (105)
  • Audi (106)
  • Mini (107)
  • Acura (110)
  • Chrysler (113)
  • Subaru (113)
  • Volkswagen (113)
  • Volvo (114)
  • Alfa Romeo (118)
  • Mitsubishi (121)
  • Land Rover (123)
  • Jaguar (130)

Best quality cars in each vehicle segment:

  • Top overall model: Porsche 911
  • Small car: Kia Rio (runners up: Hyundai Accent, Nissan Versa)
  • Small premium car: BMW 2 Series
  • Compact car: Kia Forte (runners up: Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Corolla)
  • Compact sporty car: MINI Cooper (runner up: Hyundai Veloster)
  • Compact premium car: Genesis G70 (runners up: BMW 4 Series, Kia Stinger)
  • Midsize car: Chevrolet Malibu and Ford Fusion (runners up: Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima)
  • Midsize sporty car: Dodge Challenger
  • Midsize premium car: Mercedes-Benz CLS (runners up: Genesis G80, Audi A7)
  • Large car: Nissan Maxima (runners up: Toyota Avalon Chrysler 300)
  • Small SUV: Kia Sportage (runners up: Hyundai Tuscon, Hyundai Kona)
  • Compact SUV: Chevrolet Equinox (runners up: Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue)
  • Compact premium SUV: BMW X4 (runners up: Lincoln MKC, Mercedes-Benz GLC)
  • Midsize pickup: Ford Ranger (runners up: Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma)
  • Midsize SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe (runners up: Ford Flex, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Kia Sorento, Nissan Murano)
  • Midsize premium SUV: Lexus RX (runners up: Mercedes-Benz GLE)
  • Minivan: Kia Sedona (runners up: Dodge Grand Caravan, Toyota Sienna)
  • Large SUV: Chevrolet Tahoe (runners up: Toyota Sequoia, Ford Expedition)
  • Large premium SUV: Cadillac Escalade (runner up: Lincoln Navigator)
  • Large light-duty pickup: Nissan Titan (runner up: Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra)
  • Large heavy-duty pickup: Chevrolet Silverado HD (runner up: Ford Super Duty)

The results don’t surprise and ain’t a one-year phenomenon. The Korean automakers have worked hard and consistently improved their cars’ quality over the past decade.

So, is it time for consumers to reassess their perception of vehicle quality?

A look at the just-released J.D. Power 2019 Initial Quality Study (IQS) is a strong indicator that the many consumers who consider Japanese vehicles to be leaders in quality might be well-advised to re-think their position.

Not only did a Korean brand — Genesis, Hyundai Motor Group’s luxury brand — top the overall ranking, but another Korean brand — Kia — led all mass-market brands for the fifth year in a row.

About the J.D. Power study

All told, a total of 76,256 car owners and lessees of 2019 models provided input into the J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study. The responses were delivered after 90 days of ownership, with a total of 233 different questions in the study.

Those questions were divided into 8 specific vehicle categories, with the idea of the study being to provide automakers with real-world feedback on their newest models. The study was held between February and May 2019.

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