Kia continues to be a standout as the highest-ranking brand in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Initial Quality Study, although this year the Korean brand shares the crown in a tie with a time-honored American make associated with muscle - Dodge.
Detroit automakers benefited from a change in the study's methodology, which was updated this year to include more questions about new technology, said Doug Betts, president of J.D. Power's Automotive Division and a former quality chief for Fiat Chrysler.
"More and more of these features, if they don't work the way you want them to work, and they're not useful to you, that's a problem you can't get fixed", Betts said.
In the case of specific models, the Chevrolet Sonic came in with the least reported problems among all cars. And if you're Dodge or Kia driver, you'll probably be very excited about this year's rankings.
J.D. Power's annual Initial Quality Study for 2020 puts Dodge and Kia at the very top, marking the first time a US manufacturer has netted the highest rank in the report, even if technically in a tie. Covered for the first time in the IQS, the California EV maker was, by far, posted an industry-worst score, underscoring recent reports of endemic quality issues impacting its line-up and, in particular, the new Model Y battery-SUV. Issues can range from major component failures to user dissatisfaction with the design and functionality of features like infotainment systems, which are responsible for the most complaints.
This is the first time Tesla has been profiled in the survey, which grades automakers on the number of problems experienced per 100 new vehicles within the first 90 days of ownership. Instead, J.D. Power culled consumer data from 35 states and projected those results across the 15 states lacking data.
Over the past three decades, the J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey has offered plenty of insights, and any number of surprises, as it tracks the auto industry's efforts to solve issues ranging from balky navigation systems to faulty engines - and this year is clearly no exception. Chevrolet and Ram place third in a tie.
Dodge is the first domestic brand to rank first in the 34-year-history of the IQS. BMW, Ford and Nissan each had three category winners, Toyota taking two.
Japanese brands faltered after setting the bar for quality for so many years. Jaguar, which had an average 190 PP100, had the top-ranked offering in the Small Premium SUV segment, its E-Pace, with a score of 159 PP100. Premium brands generally equip their vehicles with more complex technology, which can cause problems for some owners, according to J.D. Power.
Hyundai Motor Group models that rank highest in their respective segments are Genesis G70; Hyundai Tucson; Hyundai Veloster; Kia Forte; Kia Sedona; Kia Sorento; and Kia Soul. A quality study. Seriously.