QUALITY: Kia Triumphs With Top J.D. Power IQS Ranking

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Kia has had an uphill battle building its brand, but today’s news of its top quality rating should be quite a help.

When buyers think of quality cars, they tend to think of Japanese cars. Hondas, Toyotas, Nissans and Mazdas developed a well-deserved reputation for building bulletproof transportation.

Like the Japanese brands, the cars from South Korea have sloughed off the smears of being cheap knock-offs and have steadily ascended in the quality rankings. This latest survey from J.D Power indicates that they have arrived.

It’s especially pointed because Kia has arguably had a steeper hill to climb in terms of consumer perceptions; the flimsy Excels sold initially by Hyundai are an ’80s memory, while Kia‘s first Spectras and Rios exhibited their disposability as recently as the early 2000s.

But no more. Kia has a lot to brag about here: not only did it top J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study (IQS), which measures defects in the first 90 days, it also is first non-premium brand to top the list in 27 years. Not Honda, not Toyota, not Chevrolet or Ford – Kia’s the one that rose up through the price ranks to put everyone else on the truck.

In fact, both #1 Kia and #3 Hyundai rank above #4 Toyota.

Even better, in the red-hot compact crossover segment, it’s Kia’s Sportage that’s best-in-class.


Kia’s statement is understandably sweeping: “Ranking number one in the entire industry for initial quality is the result of Kia’s decade-long focus on craftsmanship and continuous improvement, and reflects the voice of our customers, which is the ultimate affirmation,” said Michael Sprague, chief operating officer and EVP, Kia Motors America.

“As the highest ranked brand in the industry, there is no doubt Kia is a world-class automaker.” Mic drop, Kia’s out.

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