Kia jumped Porsche to take the top spot in JD Power's Initial Quality Survey, the research group announced Wednesday. It was the first time the Korean automaker took the top spot, and ends a 27-year drought for non-luxury brands at the top of the list.
The report rates initial quality through a survey of problems reported by new car buyers within 90 days after their purchase. The study surveys 233 criteria separated into eight categories.
Kia owners reported 83 problems per 100 cars, which narrowly edged Porsche's 84 problems per 100 cars. It was the first time a non-luxury brand topped the list since Toyota's first-place award in 1989, according to the group.
Overall, JD Power said new-car quality improved 6 percent across the board, up from last year's improvement of 3 percent.
Specifically, domestic brands including Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, improved their initial quality marks by 10 percent for 2016. Subaru, Jeep, and Chrysler were the biggest gainers over last year, according to the survey. Jaguar, which finished third last year, dropped to 27th out of the 33 brands ranked.
Kia, Toyota, and BMW rounded out the top five. Niche automaker Smart finished last.
GM hauled in more segment awards than any other automaker. Seven GM cars finished atop their segments, which included the convertible Buick Cascada; compact SUV Chevrolet Equinox; both heavy- and light-duty versions of the Chevy Silverado; the small Chevy Spark; and compact SUV GMC Terrain.
Toyota managed six segment winners including the Lexus CT; Lexus GS; Scion tC; Toyota Camry; Toyota Corolla; and Toyota Highlander. Volkswagen and Hyundai both had four category winners.
JD Power's other benchmark study, its dependability survey, is released in late February.