Kia tops quality and reliability survey…again

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

J.D. Power IQS measures quality during the first 90 days of ownership via a 233-question survey.

Kia has claimed the top spot in J.D. Powers annual initial quality survey of new vehicles for the second straight year.

J.D. Power says Hyundai is the automaker with the most segment awards in this year's survey, although all are for Kia-brand models. This marks the first time in the survey's 30-year history that two Korean brands have topped the list, a spokesman for J.D. Power said. The largest increases in problems were for cruise control, lane departure warning, collision avoidance/alert systems, and blind spot warning. In this year's study, quality improves across seven of the eight categories measured, with 27 of the 33 brands in the study improving their quality compared with 2016. Ford, Ram, Chevrolet and Lincoln - finished in the top 10 in brand rankings. This improvement helped Ford tie for fourth among all brands from 11 in 2016.

J.D. Power, based in Costa Mesa, California, said new-vehicle quality is at its highest level ever, improving 8% from a year ago. "The assembly quality is still world-class, (but) there's a lot of usability problems in these vehicles which customers are increasingly complaining about".

The Ford brand improved to 86 problems per 100 vehicles from 102 in 2016.

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Brands of Hyundai, General Motors Co GM.N and BMW were among the highest ranked in the survey.

Ford is delivering new innovations with better quality than average as the industry has faced challenges rolling out new advancements such as connectivity and driver-assist features.

Luxury brands have one excuse for the falling rankings: They tend to pack their cars with more of the latest electronic gadgets, opening themselves up to additional opportunities for things to go wrong.

Fiat, ranked 32 last year and this year, scored 163 problems per 100 vehicles. Mini, Acura and Volvo also posted big gains. Plant quality awards are based exclusively on defects and malfunctions and exclude design-related problems. The industry has shown significant improvement in each iteration, with the best IQS scores occurring in the most recent year for each generation.

Toyota's Kyushu 2 plant in Japan, home to the Lexus ES and RX, again takes the platinum award, repeating its score from a year ago of 15 problems per 100 vehicles.

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