This Wednesday, researchers who conducted the J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study, an annual U.S. survey of vehicle quality, released the survey results to the public. The survey measures the number of problems consumers experience during the first three months owning a new car.
According to the survey results, KIA Motors Corp. got the top score, becoming the first non-luxury brand in nearly three decades to nab the top score on J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study. Aside from that, Porsche AG, Hyundai Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) and BMW AG also got high marks.
Overall, the study found that car manufacturers continue to produce vehicles that run smoothly despite an ever growing number of technological features that range from automatic braking to adaptive cruise control and voice-activated commands. Even amid record recalls and an unprecedented government crackdown on safety lapses in the U.S., new vehicles continue to perform well and give motorists fewer and fewer problems.
“Manufacturers are currently making some of the highest-quality products we’ve ever seen,” said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive quality at J.D. Power. “Even as they add more content, including advanced technologies that have had a reputation for causing problems, overall quality continues to improve.”
Detroit’s three auto makers continued making significant gains, and collectively had fewer problems than their foreign counterparts for just the second time in the 30-year history of the study, the last time coming in 2010. Brands at General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s U.S. arm improved quality scores 10% from 2015, double the improvement rate of foreign brands.
In a nutshell, non-premium brands for the first time since 2006 had fewer problems than premium brands. According to J.D. Power, roughly half of owners say expected reliability is still the most important consideration when buying a new vehicle, with brand loyalty dropping significantly for consumers who experience problems in their first 90 days after purchase.
“There is a direct correlation between the number of problems a customer has with their new vehicle and the decisions they make when it comes time to purchase or lease their next car or truck,” Mr. Stephens said. “While a small drop in actual loyalty may not sound like much, a percentage point drop in share can mean millions of dollars in lost revenue to an auto maker.”