Toyota and Lexus drop in J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. Toyota now ranked fifth among mainstream automakers and Lexus fifth in luxury.
Each year J.D. Power and Associates releases the results of its Initial Quality Study and each year the results are the same – Toyota and Lexus dominate. Except this year. For the first time in the history of the survey (and the car industry to be blunt) the Korean automakers, Kia and Hyundai, have become the top-rated mainstream (non-luxury) brands in terms of initial quality.
The J.D. Power Initial Quality Study is the result of a survey that asks 84,000 new car owners about problems in the first 90 days of ownership. As in past years in the modern era, technology problems are the top problems reported by consumers. Voice recognition system SNAFUS and Bluetooth phone pairing challenges are the top two bugaboos. First-world problems for sure, but nonetheless aggravating to owners of new cars not even three months old. And it’s getting worse. 67% of owners now report problems with voice recognition systems compared to just 57% three years ago according to J.D. Power.
Kia’s score of 86 problems per 100 vehicles is the second best overall after Porsche, who scored 80. Porsche builds so few vehicles the survey (and most average car buyers) don’t consider the brand mainstream. Thus, Kia is really the number one rated everyman’s brand. This was Toyota’s exclusive domain for many years. Among luxury brands. Lexus moves to fifth behind Porsche, Jaguar, Infiniti, BMW, and Lincoln. Toyota actually improved its score slightly (104 up from 105), but Lexus’ score went from 92 to 104. Interestingly, Toyotas are now equal in ranking to Lexus vehicles.