Korean Brands Lead Industry in Initial Quality, While Japanese Brands Struggle to Keep Up with Pace of Improvement

Porsche Ranks Highest among Nameplates for a Third Consecutive Year

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 17 June 2015 — With a significant year-over-year improvement, Korean brands continue to widen the quality gap with other automakers, while Japanese makes collectively fall below industry average for the first time in 29 years, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM(IQS) released today.

The study examines problems experienced by vehicle owners during the first 90 days of ownership. Initial quality is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.

The industry experiences a 3 percent year-over-year improvement in initial quality, averaging 112 PP100 compared with 116 PP100 in 2014.

Historic Shifts in Performance by Brand Origin

Korean brands lead the industry in initial quality by the widest margin ever, averaging 90 PP100, which is an 11 PP100 improvement from 2014. For the first time in the study, European brands (113 PP100) surpass Japanese brands (114 PP100), while domestic makes (114 PP100) equal the Japanese for only a second time.

Although Japanese brands overall experience a 2 PP100 improvement from 2014, this has proven insufficient to keep pace with the industry, causing Japanese makes overall to fall below industry average for the first time in the 29-year history of the U.S. Initial Quality Study. Only four of the 10 Japanese brands included in the study post an improvement.

“This is a clear shift in the quality landscape,” said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive quality at J.D. Power. “For so long, Japanese brands have been viewed by many as the gold standard in vehicle quality. While the Japanese automakers continue to make improvements, we’re seeing other brands, most notably Korean makes, really accelerating the rate of improvement. Leading companies are not only stepping up the pace of improvements on existing models, but are also working up front to launch vehicles with higher quality and more intuitive designs.”

Technology Continues to be a Trouble Spot for the Industry

  • Entertainment and connectivity systems remain the most problem-prone area for a third consecutive year, with voice recognition and Bluetooth pairing continuing to top the problem list.
  • The majority of models included in the study that have voice recognition systems experience 10 or more PP100 related to this feature.
  • The number of owners who indicate having voice recognition in their new vehicle has increased to 67 percent in 2015 from 57 percent in 2013. Based on results from the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Tech Choice Study,SM this will continue to increase as simple wireless device and near field communication are the top two entertainment/connectivity technologies consumers indicate wanting on their next vehicle.

“Smartphones have set high consumer expectations of how well technology should work, and automakers are struggling to match that success in their new vehicles,” said Stephens. “However, we are seeing some OEMs make important improvements along the way. What’s clear is that they can’t afford to wait for the next generation of models to launch before making important updates to these systems.”

Highest-Ranked Nameplates and Models

Porsche ranks highest in initial quality for a third consecutive year, posting a score of 80 PP100. With a 20 PP100 improvement from 2014, Kia follows Porsche in the rankings at 86 PP100. This marks the first time in the history of the study that Kia has led all non-premium makes in initial quality.

Jaguar (93 PP100), Hyundai (95 PP100) and Infiniti (97 PP100) round out the top five nameplates. Infiniti is one of the most improved brands in the study, lowering its problem score by 31 PP100 from 2014.

Model awards are spread among several corporations, with many receiving multiple awards.

General Motors (4): Chevrolet Equinox (tie); Chevrolet Malibu; Chevrolet Silverado LD; and Chevrolet Spark
Hyundai Motor Company (4): Hyundai Accent; Hyundai Tucson; Kia Sorento; and Kia Soul
Nissan Motor Company (4): Infiniti QX70; Infiniti QX80; Nissan Sentra; and Nissan Quest
Volkswagen AG (4): Audi Q3; Porsche 911; Porsche Boxster; and Porsche Macan
BMW (3): BMW 2 Series; BMW 4 Series; and BMW 5 Series
Toyota Motor Corporation (3): Lexus LS; Toyota Tacoma; and Toyota Sequoia
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (2): Chrysler 300 and Dodge Challenger
Ford Motor Company (2): Ford Escape (tie) and Ford Super Duty
Mazda (1): Mazda MX-5 Miata

Plant Assembly Line Quality Awards

BMW AG’s Rosslyn, South Africa plant, which produces the BMW 3 Series, receives the Platinum Plant Quality Award for producing models with the fewest defects or malfunctions. Plant quality awards are based solely on defects and malfunctions and exclude design-related problems.

In the North America/South America region, Toyota Motor Corporation’s Cambridge North, Ontario, Canada (TMMC) plant, which produces the Toyota Corolla, receives the Gold Plant Quality Award.

Kia Motors Corporation’s Kwangju Plant 1, Korea, which produces the Kia Soul, receives the Gold Plant Quality Award in the Asia Pacific region.

The 2015 U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than 84,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2015 model-year vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study, now in its 29th year, is based on a 233-question battery organized into eight problem categories designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate the identification of problems and drive product improvement. The study was fielded between February and May 2015.

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DETROIT – The Chevrolet Malibu, Equinox (tie), Silverado LD and Spark ranked highest in their respective segments for the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM. Chevrolet has 10 models in Top 3 positions, more than any other brand, foreign or domestic.

The other Chevrolet nameplates achieving a Top 3 score for their respective segment include the Sonic, Traverse, Camaro, Impala, Silverado HD and Tahoe.

“We are constantly challenging ourselves to bring to market the highest-quality products for our customers, regardless of the type of vehicle they purchase,” said Alan Batey, global Chevrolet president. “Quality studies like this one tell us we are moving in the right direction.”

The IQS announcement for 2015 models coincides with a strong May sales performance for many of the brand’s nameplates highlighted in the study. Overall, Chevrolet U.S. sales are up 1.6 percent over the same period last year.

Malibu: Total sales up 11 percent
Equinox: Total sales up 30 percent
Silverado LD: Total sales up 12 percent
Traverse: Total sales up 2 percent
Sonic: Total sales up 3 percent
Silverado HD: Total sales up 6 percent





Third Straight Year of IQS Improvement Places Kia Second Among 33 Brands

  • Kia Sorento and Soul awarded for highest scores in compact multi-purpose vehicle and midsize SUV segments as five other Kia models rank among top three in their respective categories
  •  With nearly 20-percent improvement, Kia owners had fewer issues with their vehicles than nearly all other car and truck brands

IRVINE, Calif., June 17, 2015 – With more units in operation in the U.S. than ever before, Kia Motors reached another historic milestone today when J.D. Power recognized the brand as the second-highest scoring nameplate industry-wide in its 2015 Initial Quality Study (IQS). Kia’s IQS score improved by 20 points over its previous best-ever performance in 2014, vaulting the growing automaker up four positions to second overall among 33 automotive brands and highest among all mass-market nameplates.

Kia’s ascension was powered by segment-leading performances from two of the company’s best-selling vehicles – Soul and Sorento – while the Rio, Optima, Cadenza, Sportage and Sedona models all ranked in the top three of their respective categories.

“We believe the J.D. Power report leaves no doubt that Kia builds world-class vehicles, and the results are especially gratifying as the IQS study truly reflects the voice of our customers,” said Michael Sprague, Chief Operating Officer and EVP, Kia Motors America.  “Kia’s rise is one of the industry’s greatest success stories and is driven by the hard work of thousands of team members around the world as well as our long-term strategy to concentrate on quality, strengthen the brand and elevate the ownership experience.”

Kia’s U.S. sales have more than doubled over the last six years as the brand has made significant investments in the market and steadily climbed J.D. Power’s annual IQS rankings. After the Soul was ranked number one in the compact multi-purpose vehicle segment in 2012, Kia broke into the overall top 10 in 2013, with the Soul and Sportage (tie) taking top honors in their respective segments, and then rose to sixth in the industry in 2014.  The company’s $1.1 billion manufacturing facility in West Point, Georgia – Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia – produces the Sorento and Optima, and achieved its highest-ever quality ranking among plants in North/South America in the 2015 study. Additionally, the Kwangju plant where the Soul is produced ranked number one for the Asia Pacific Region.

Now in its 29th year, the annual J.D. Power IQS analyzes responses from vehicle owners in 26 segments.  IQS is determined by vehicle owners evaluating the driving experience, engine and transmission performance, and a broad range of quality-related problems within the first 90 days of ownership.





Hyundai Tucson and Accent Receive J.D. Power Initial Quality Awards

  • Company achieves fourth-place industry ranking for the second year in a row
  • Elantra and Santa Fe finish in second place in their segments

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., June 17, 2015 – Hyundai ranked fourth among all brands in the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS) and second among non-premium automakers. In addition, the 2015 Hyundai Tucson was awarded for the highest initial quality in the small SUV segment and the 2015 Hyundai Accent earned the highest honor in the small-car segment for the second year in a row.

“Hyundai is committed to delivering its owners exceptional quality vehicles,” said Frank Ferrara, executive vice president, customer satisfaction, Hyundai Motor America. “Not only do we take the improvement of quality on our existing models seriously, but we must also launch new vehicles with the highest quality right out of the gate. It is important for our customers to be happy with their vehicles, and that starts with quality and educating them on how to use all the features of their vehicle. Results like these demonstrate how well we’re succeeding in connecting with our customers on all levels.”

IQS, now in its 29th year, serves as the industry benchmark for new-vehicle quality measured at 90 days of ownership. According to the study, Tucson and Accent owners reported fewer problems with their vehicles than any other small SUV or small car, respectively.

“Small SUVs and small cars are some of the most popular vehicles on the road today and nearly every automaker has products that compete in these segments, giving consumers many options to choose from,” said Mircea Gradu, executive director, engineering and quality, Hyundai Motor America. “Both the Accent and Tucson were ranked highest in their crowded segments for high quality, which provides owners peace of mind when it comes to an important financial purchase.”

In total, Hyundai had four models ranking in the top two in their segments, including segment awards for Tucson and Accent, and second-place finishes for Elantra and Santa Fe. The Hyundai overall score was 95 problems per 100 vehicles, 17 problems fewer than the industry average. This year’s results mark the fourth time Hyundai has finished among the top four brands overall.

The 2015 IQS is based on responses from more than 84,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2015 model-year vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study is based on a 233-question survey designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate the identification of problems and drive product improvement.





  • Chrysler 300 is highest-ranking Large Car in quality study
  • Dodge Challenger leads Midsize Sporty Car segment for second consecutive year, third time in five years
  • Ram 1500, Chrysler Town & Country rank second for initial quality in their respective segments

June 17, 2015 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – The Chrysler brand’s big, bold American sedan – the new 2015 Chrysler 300 – ranks highest among Large Cars in J.D. Power’s 2015 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS). For a second consecutive year and for the third time in five years, surveyed owners placed the Dodge Challenger at the top of the Midsize Sporty Car segment in initial quality.

IQS is based on responses from more than 84,000 owners of new 2015 model year vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership. The study asks customers to identify issues with their vehicle’s design, as well as defects.

“This is the first time the Chrysler 300 has ranked highest in the Large Car segment in this quality study,” said Matt Liddane, Vice President – Quality, FCA-North America. “The 300’s class-exclusive technologies, premium appointments and an award-recognized level of quality in this category are catching the eyes of consumers who expect a lot from vehicles in this segment.”

The Chrysler 300 was updated for the 2015 model year and previously ranked among the top three vehicles in the Large Car segment in 2012 and 2013.

The Dodge Challenger was totally updated for the 2015 model year with a new standard eight-speed transmission, all-new interior, exterior updates and new safety technologies. It previously achieved the highest IQS ranking among Midsize Sporty Cars in 2011 and 2014, as well as being named a segment leader in the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) StudySM.

“The Dodge Challenger has led the Midsize Sporty Car segment in initial quality for the second straight year and for the third time in five years,” Liddane added. “While customers are drawn to the Challenger’s muscle-car styling and performance credentials, its quality helps reinforce customer loyalty.”

The 2015 Ram 1500 and Chrysler Town & Country also performed well in the IQS study, ranking second in the Large Light Duty Pickup and Minivan segments, respectively. The Town & Country previously achieved the highest IQS ranking among minivans in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

The IQS study, now in its 29th year, is based on a 233-question survey conducted between February and May 2015.





Woodcliff Lake, NJ – June 17, 2015… BMW of North America announced today that three of its models – the BMW 2 Series; the BMW 4 Series; the BMW 5 Series – were the top ranked vehicles in their categories according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS). Also, BMW ranked 6th among all the brands, considerably above the industry average.

“IQS is the leading indicator of customer delight in the initial phase of ownership as it measures not only how well our vehicles perform but also how well our dealers are doing in demonstrating the functions of the new vehicle,” said Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO, BMW of North America. “The model rankings show improvements across the board from existing to new models with the clear challenge being to improve and simplify technology.”

In the 2015 J.D. Power IQS Study, the BMW 2 Series was the Highest Ranked Small Premium Car; the BMW 4 Series was the Highest Ranked Compact Premium Car; and the BMW 5 Series was the Highest Ranked Midsize Premium Car. Additionally, the BMW 7 Series was ranked 2nd in the Large Premium Car segment.

The BMW brand ranked 6th among the nameplates with 99 PP100, a 9 point improvement from 2014. PP100 is the J.D. Power standard measurement of problems per 100 vehicles. The 2015 industry average is 112 PP100.

The 2015 J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than 84,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2015 model-year vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study was fielded between February and May 2015.





  • Small SUV crossover introduced last fall remains in high demand
  • New car buyers in J.D. Power study of first 90 ownership days gave Q3 high marks
  • The smallest in the Audi SUV line-up, Q3 starts at $33,425

June 18, 2015 | HERNDON, VA — The new Audi Q3 crossover introduced last fall remains in short supply in the U.S. market partly because it’s in great demand. And in its 2015 Initial Quality Study that was released on Wednesday, J.D. Power & Associates explained part of the reason: Owners of the all-new compact CUV give it segment-leading scores for quality and reliability.

In fact, Q3 ranked No. 1 in the Small Premium SUV category of the new Power study, which compiles owners’ evaluations of the quality of their vehicles within the first 90 days of ownership. That kind of showing for an all-new vehicle is an industry rarity, given the complexity of launching any new model.

Given that the Q3 was the brand’s entry into the hottest segment in the U.S. premium-vehicle market, and one where competitors also have been trying to establish themselves, Audi paid special attention to this introduction. The four rings needed to excel with its first crossover in the compact segment, which is sized below the mid-size Q5 and the full-size Q7 in the Audi lineup.

Starting prices for the Audi Q3 in the United States are $33,425, including destination. Both trim levels of the vehicle share the 200-horsepower Audi TSI 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission, and quattro four-wheel drive is available.






– Third-generation MX-5 received IQS segment award for all but one year during 10-year run –

IRVINE, Calif., June 18, 2015 — The third-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata is finishing up its model run on a high note, as it was recently awarded top honors in its segment for J.D. Power’s annual Initial Quality Survey (IQS) for the sixth year in a row.

J.D. Power surveyed more than 86,000 people during the first 90 days from which they purchased or leased a new vehicle made during the 2015 model year, with the 2015 Mazda MX-5 taking the overall top spot in the “Compact Sporty Car” segment. The third-generation MX-5 roadster was named the IQS segment award recipient for all but one year of its model run, which began in 2006.

“This marks a great bookend for our third-generation MX-5 ahead of welcoming in the all-new 201re6 model,” said Robert Davis, senior vice president of operations, Mazda North American Operations. “Enthusiasts the world over have fallen in love with MX-5 for more than 25 years because of its performance, reliability, ease of use and, most of all, the smile it puts on the face of everyone who drives one. We expect that to continue into the next generation of our flagship roadster.”

The 2016 MX-5 goes on sale in July with an MSRP starting at $24,915*, not including $820 for destination and handling ($865 in Alaska), taxes or any additional fees.

Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers.  Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.





2015 Nissan Quest earns top spot in Minivan segment
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The 2015 Nissan Sentra is the top Compact Car in the 2015 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study℠ (IQS), the industry benchmark for new-vehicle quality. Sentra – also awarded an IIHS “Top Safety Pick” earlier this year – received the award yesterday at the Automotive Press Association (APA) Luncheon in Detroit. Additionally, the 2015 Nissan Quest earned the top spot in the Minivan segment.

Now in its 29th year, the Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than 84,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2015 model-year vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. Initial quality is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality. The study was fielded between February and May 2015.

“In the very competitive segment of compact sedans, Sentra continues to separate itself with a strong combination of quality, safety, value, style and more,” said Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Nissan Sales & Marketing and Operations. “Driven by owner feedback, the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study serves as an important benchmark for new vehicle quality, further demonstrating the worth of Sentra and Quest as top contenders in their respective segments.”

The elegant, modern and refined exterior of the Sentra reflects a “professional” character targeted at buyers who aspire to drive something more premium than traditionally available in this segment. It features Nissan’s bold signature trapezoid-shaped grille and large wraparound headlights with standard LED accents and LED taillights.

The refined look continues inside with a high-quality interior design featuring materials not usually found in compact vehicles, including soft-touch instrument panel and door armrests, available leather-appointed seating and available Maple wood-tone trim. Along with offering ample roominess in a compact-size exterior, including an outstanding 37.4 inches of rear seat legroom, the intuitive interior layout emphasizes driver control and outstanding seat comfort for all occupants.

Sentra utilizes a fuel-efficient 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine, which along with the next-generation Xtronic transmission with sub-planetary gear, helps the Sentra FE+ S model deliver 30 mpg city/40 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined – resulting in a more than 415-mile real-world driving range*.

Safety and security features standard on all 2015 Sentras include the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt and occupant classification sensors; front seat-mounted side impact supplemental air bags; roof-mounted curtain side impact supplemental air bags for front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection; three-point front and rear seatbelts, front seat belts with pre-tensioners and load limiters and adjustable upper anchors; and LATCH System (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren).

Other available features range from Dual Zone Automatic Temperature Control and a Bose® Premium audio system with 8 speakers, to Nissan Intelligent Key® keyless entry and push button ignition system and RearView Monitor. The 2015 Nissan Sentra is offered in six models: S 6MT, S CVT, FE+ S, SV, SR and SL.

The boldly styled Nissan Quest is offered in four well-equipped models: S, SV, SL and Platinum. It offers a range of family friendly features, including one-touch power sliding doors, quick release fold-flat 2nd and 3rd row seats, Advanced Climate Control System and an always-available rear storage well.

The sophisticated, modern exterior of the Quest combines fluid sculptural elements with a dynamic mass and crafted details. The low sliding door step-in height is helpful for small children or older adults getting into the 2nd or 3rd rows and to assist entry further, the 2nd row features a standard walk-in device for easier access to the 3rd row. A one-touch unlock/open power rear liftgate is standard on Quest SL and Platinum models. Third row power return seatbacks are standard on Quest Platinum.





911, Boxster and Macan take highest honors in their respective segments

ATLANTA, June 18, 2015 — For the third year in a row, U.S. customers have rated Porsche highest among all automotive nameplates in the 2015 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. In addition to the brand taking overall honors, the Porsche 911 ranked highest for the fourth consecutive year in its vehicle segment (Midsize Premium Sporty Car), while Boxster and Cayman swept the first two places in the Compact Premium Sporty Car segment. In its first year of production, the Porsche Macan was awarded the highest rank in the Compact Premium SUV segment.

“The success of Porsche is primarily dependent on the satisfaction of our customers,” said Matthias Muller, Chairman of the Executive Board of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG. “We see these awards as confirmation of our strategy for high quality standards in design, development and production and in continuously offering Porsche customers a unique purchase and ownership experience.”

The Cayenne and Panamera models achieved third place in their vehicle segments of Midsize Premium SUV and Large Premium Car. As a result, this is the first time that five Porsche model series have reached the top 3 rankings in their respective segments.

The J.D. Power Initial Quality Study measures the number of problems experienced by U.S. customers during the first 90 days of ownership. Initial quality is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles, with a lower score meaning higher quality. In this year’s 29th edition of the study, the survey consisted of various categories covering 233 different criteria.

Porsche scored only 80 points on the problems per 100 scale, compared to the premium industry average of 110. The overall industry average was 112.



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