J.D. Power's 2017 Initial Quality Study results are in, and the big winner is Kia. Last year, the brand became the first non-premium brand to top the list and now they've done it for the second year in a row. Mini was most improved, and Ram jumped 14 spots on the results chart.
The Initial Quality Survey measures the number of problems experienced in the first 90 days of owning the car. The results are from surveys completed by owners of the vehicles. The results are shown as the number of problems per 100 cars (PP100). Like golf, fewer problems are better.
The results for the industry were an improvement from last year. The industry average dropped from 105 PP100 to 97. Only six of 32 brands had more problems this year. Toyota and Lexus by just 2 PP100, Infiniti by 4, Audi by 5, but Mitsubishi jumped 15 and Jaguar jumped 21 PP100.
The category that covers infotainment systems, known as audio/communication/entertainment/navigation, has long been a sore spot. It's still the highest problem area, but it's also most improved this year, dropping 2.7 to 22.8 PP100. Features, controls, and displays showed the only increase, with more problems for adaptive cruise control and other collision avoidance systems.
Good news for American brands, with GM, Ford and Chrysler outperforming the imports for the second year in a row. And the third time in the 30 years of the study. The score was 93 versus 99 PP100.
The new Genesis brand debuted in 2nd spot, with Porsche close behind. Ford and Ram tied for fourth, with Ram improving from 114 to 86 PP100. Mini's big gain put them in 12th place.
Volvo, Jaguar, and Fiat take the bottom three positions, in that order. Volvo and Fiat showed big improvements though, by 18 and 11 PP100 respectively.
In addition to Kia taking top spot in the study, the brand had five segment winners. The Soul, Forte, Cadenza, Niro, and Sorento all took top spots, with the 2017 Kia Cadenza earning the top score of all ranked models.