Three brands that fall under the Hyundai Group umbrella dominated the latest J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey, the results of which were released Wednesday.
The rankings this year placed each Korean auto brand in the same spots as last year: Genesis in first, Kia in second, and Hyundai in third. Hyundai's luxury brand, Genesis, scored top marks with only 63 problems reported per 100 vehicles. Kia owners reported 70 problems per 100 vehicles and Hyundai drivers said their vehicles showed 71 problems per 100 vehicles. The industry average for 2019 was 93 problems reported per 100 vehicles.
J.D. Power surveys owners after 90 days of ownership to help predict a brand and its models' long-term reliability. The firm breaks 233 areas that owners can report problems into eight categories, exterior, seats, driving experience, engine and transmission, features/controls/display, interior, heating/ventilation/air conditioning, and audio/communications/navigation/entertainment. This year, J.D. Power sampled 76,256 buyers and lessees of 2019 models.
No matter if it's a large or minor problem, any reported issue is a mark against the brand or specific car, which makes the Korean brands' repeat top-three finish rather remarkable. It's also Kia's fifth year as the top-rated mass-market brand. Further, Genesis, Kia, and Hyundai's problems per vehicle score each dropped compared to 2018.
Looking at domestic auto brands, Ford earned the highest marks with 83 problems reported per 100 vehicles. It trailed only Hyundai to take fourth place. Chevrolet placed sixth behind Ford and Lincoln with 85 problems per 100 vehicles. Also notable were European brands. Every single brand that calls Europe home placed below the industry average of 93 problems per 100 vehicles. At the bottom of the list this year is Land Rover with 130 problems reported per 100 vehicles. Related Jaguar was second to last with 123 problems per 100 vehicles.
Like past years, infotainment systems continue to be the source of most problems. However, it's also the most improved area for automakers. Voice recognition and Bluetooth connections are both improved for 2019, J.D Power noted. However, newer technology, especially in luxury brands, created new problems for owners.