Kia Motors tops JD Power quality study

The 2017 Kia Sportage is introduced at the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles

Kia repeats in the No.1 spot from 2016, while newcomer Genesis, Hyundai's premium marque and in its first year on the market, ranks second. For the second year in a row, Kia came out on top of all the manufacturers who sell cars in the U.S. market.

Mini was the most improved brand in the survey, with owners reporting 94 problems per vehicle, down from 127 problems in 2016. Domestic brands averaged a rate of 93 problems, while imported brands had 99.

"Historically, Lexus has been the leading brand in the study", said Dave Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power.

More problems pertaining to features, controls and displays were reported than a year ago, the only category of eight to diminish in the latest annual study.

The concerning news is that collision-avoidance technology and other advanced driver-assistance systems were part of the only category to show declines in quality scores.

The more new technology crammed into a vehicle, the more things can go wrong. Last year, domestic brands also had fewer problems (103 PP100) compared to import brands (106 PP100).

Audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN) remains the area where new-vehicle owners experience the most problems.

The number of problems overall for new cars and trucks continues to fall, with J.D. Power recording a 7.6-percent drop in the industry average, from 105 problems per 100 vehicles in the model year 2016.

In third this year was Porsche with 78 points, followed by Ford and Ram, which each received 86 points to place in fourth.

The Cadenza, Niro and Sorento were ranked highest in the large auto, small SUV and midsize SUV segments, respectively.

BMW: 2 Series, 4 Series, X6, and MINI Cooper. Other big movers included Acura (losing 19 PP100), Volvo (losing 18 PP100) and Ford itself (losing 16 PP100). General Motors' Fort Wayne (Ind.) plant, which produces the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, receives the Gold Plant Quality Award for the Americas region, while Porsche's Leipzig plant, which produces the Porsche Cayenne and Macan, receives the Gold Plant Quality Award for the Europe/Africa region. As a design-focused brand, Genesis has introduced fascinating models that embody athletic elegance, starting from the brand's flagship model G90, mid-size luxury sedan G80, and its derivative G80 Sport.

Luckily, though, there is the annual J.D.

Now in its 31st year, the study is based on a 233-question survey conducted between February and May 2017. Plus, most consumers who just plopped down $35,000 (roughly the average purchase price for a new vehicle in the U.S.) probably would enjoy a honeymoon period of more than three months before starting a running tally of creaks, squeaks, and quirks.

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