Korean Car Reliability Rises, While Japanese Brands Decline

South Korean automobile brands continue to widen the quality gap with their industry counterparts while Japanese carmakers fell below the industry average for the first time in 29 years. So says J.D. Power in their latest findings.

“For so long, Japanese brands have been viewed by many as the gold standard in vehicle quality…we’re seeing other brands, most notably Korean makes, really accelerating the rate of improvement.”

The study focuses on an array of problems experienced during the first 90 days of vehicle ownership. The average is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles with a lower score reflecting higher quality.


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

Korean cars rank highest in having the least problems

Korean brands lead the industry by the widest margin ever, while European brands, for the first time, surpassed Japanese brands.

American brands for only the second time, managed to be on par with their Japanese counterparts –with only four of the 10 Japanese brands included in the study showing an improvement over last year.


“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.”

The Kia brand ranked second behind the top brand, Porsche, which remained well above the rest for the third year in a row.

The Hyundai brand moved up to fourth place, right behind third-place Jaguar. Both Kia and Hyundai are owned by the same the Hyundai Motor Company.

Average problems per 100 vehicles of brand’s whole line:

Porsche 80
Kia 86
Jaguar 93
Hyundai 95
Infiniti 97
BMW 99
Chevrolet 101
Lincoln 103
Lexus 104
Toyota 104
Buick 105
Ford 107
Ram 110
Honda 111
Mercedes-Benz 111
Industry Average 112
Audi 115
GMC 115
Dodge 116
Volvo 120
Nissan 121
Cadillac 122
MINI 122
Mazda 123
Volkswagen 123
Scion 124
Acura 126
Mitsubishi 126
Land Rover 134
Jeep 141
Subaru 142
Chrysler 143
smart 154
Fiat 161


City Car: Chevrolet Spark

Small car: Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Chevrolet Sonic

Small premium car: BMW 2 Series, Acura ILX

Compact car: Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Corolla

Compact sporty car: Mazda MX-5 Miata, Volkswagen Eos, Scion tC

Compact premium car: BMW 4 Series, Lincoln MKZ, Lexus ES

Compact premium sporty car: Porsche Boxster, Porsche Cayman

Midsize car: Chevrolet Malibu, Kia Optima, Toyota Camry

Midsize sporty car: Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet Camaro

Midsize premium car: BMW 5 Series, Lincoln MKS, Infiniti Q70

Midsize premium sporty car: Porsche 911, Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, Jaguar F-Type

Large car: Chrysler 300, Kia Cadenza, Chevrolet Impala

Large premium car: Lexus LS, BMW 7 Series, Porsche Panamera

Small SUV: Hyundai Tucson, Buick Encore, Kia Sportage

Small premium SUV: Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, Land Rover Range Rover Evogue

Compact SUV: Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, GMC Terrain

Compact premium SUV: Porsche Macan, Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class, Infiniti QX50, Lexus NX

Compact MPV: Kia Soul

Midsize SUV: Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe, Chevrolet Traverse

Midsize premium SUV: Infiniti QX70, Lincoln MKX, Porsche Cayenne

Midsize pickup: Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier

Minivan: Nissan Quest, Chrysler Town & Country, Kia Sedona

Large SUV: Toyota Sequoia, Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Tahoe

Large premium SUV: Infiniti QX80, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Lincoln Navigator

Large light duty pickup: Chevrolet Silverado LD, Ram 1500 LD

Large heavy duty pickup: Ford Super Duty, Chevrolet Silverado HD

See more at: www.jdpower.com


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