Korean Brands Soar, Japanese Cars Lag Behind in J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

Korean Brands Soar, Japanese Cars Lag Behind in J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

The initial quality of vehicles coming from Korean automakers is up while Japanese brands are under performing according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Initial Quality Study. 

The study presents scores in problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100) based on experiences during the first 90 days of new car ownership. Topping every brand in initial quality is Porsche, with a score of 80 PP100, followed closely by Kia, the highest ranked mainstream brand with a score of 86 PP100.

The top five highest rated brands finish with Jaguar (93 PP100), Hyundai (95 PP100) and Infiniti (97 PP100).

By nationality, Korean brands are top in initial quality by the widest margin ever, sitting at 90 PP100. For the first time, European brands have managed to surpass Japanese brands in initial quality, though only by a single point to come in at 113 PP100. Domestic brands have the same score as the Japanese brands, sitting at 114 PP100.

It gets worse for Japanese brands too. Despite an improvement of 2 PP100 over last year’s study, Japanese automakers fall below the industry average in initial quality, the first time that has happened in the 29-year history of J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study.

“This is a clear shift in the quality landscape,” said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive quality at J.D. Power. “For so long, Japanese brands have been viewed by many as the gold standard in vehicle quality. While the Japanese automakers continue to make improvements, we’re seeing other brands, most notably Korean makes, really accelerating the rate of improvement. Leading companies are not only stepping up the pace of improvements on existing models, but are also working up front to launch vehicles with higher quality and more intuitive designs.”

Technology continues provide the most problems for a third consecutive year, with voice recognition and Bluetootch receiving the most complaints. Most models that have voice recognition systems score at least 10 PP100 related to the system.

All of the individual models that were rated at the top of their category can be found below:

General Motors (4): Chevrolet Equinox (tie); Chevrolet Malibu; Chevrolet Silverado LD; and Chevrolet Spark

Hyundai Motor Company (4): Hyundai Accent; Hyundai Tucson; Kia Sorento; and Kia Soul

Nissan Motor Company (4): Infiniti QX70; Infiniti QX80; Nissan Sentra; and Nissan Quest

Volkswagen AG (4): Audi Q3; Porsche 911; Porsche Boxster; and Porsche Macan

BMW (3): BMW 2 Series; BMW 4 Series; and BMW 5 Series

Toyota Motor Corporation (3): Lexus LS; Toyota Tacoma; and Toyota Sequoia

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (2): Chrysler 300 and Dodge Challenger

Ford Motor Company (2): Ford Escape (tie) and Ford Super Duty

Mazda (1): Mazda MX-5 Miata

  • narg

    American bred cars continue their climb. Good to see.

  • jay mark

    Do you think the Koreans have forgotten how Japan treated the Koreans, especially their women, during WW2? I served in the Marines in the Far East and recall having South Koreans join the Marines in order to learn how to fight not only the North Koreans, should that become necessary, but to repay Japan for the atrocities.
    The South Koreans will never forget and their automotive goal is to drive the Japs to their knees… and then cut off their heads.
    Remember, it took the Japanese 45 years to issue a luke-warm apology for the ‘comfort stations’, meaning the brothels where South Korean women and young girls were forced to service Japanese soldiers, sometimes as many as twenty a night.
    Hell, I never lived in Korea and I’ve never forgotten. Did spend some time there stationed in South Korea….in fact, thanks to the Marine Corps, I got to travel to lots of lands, some even where the people didn’t hate us.

  • smartacus

    meanwhile Consumer Reports is standing alone with a picket sign and still saying Ra Ra Ra To Yo Ta

  • ngu

    These comfort women were paid on average 1500 to 2000 yen during the time of WW2 (there are even records of pay checks), meanwhile the average Japanese soldiers were paid measly 20 yen a month. There’s even a study made by the US Congress that found no evidence on comfort woman allegation (search IWC report to Congress.

    For that matter, these women also served during the military regime in South Korea, including for the American military base, handled by President Park’s own father. Anybody see a blame game going here?

  • sean t


  • Mike

    This is initial ownership. NINETY DAYS only. No way in he** that Kia or Hyundai will last as long as a Toyota. And you guys know that.

  • smartacus

    Exactly! yes i am jealous. Very Jealous.
    Toyota is up to 3 Million recalls right now.
    That’s a bigger number than the entire population of Miami

  • jay mark

    WOW! That makes everything (in your mind) okay. Forced prostitution is NO picnic and maybe if it happened to you or your sister or your mother you might think differently.
    BTW, if there were all those paychecks, please tell me why the Jap government finally issued an apology stating that the comfort camps were in fact forced prostitution?
    I had a friend from South Korea who went through Marine Corps basic training whose mother and sister were forced into those camps.
    The Japs also made up covers for their ‘medical experiments’ on Chinese detainees and American prisoners of war.
    Those women/young girls were NOT paid, they were systematically raped and abused, end of that story.

  • ngu

    Again, in the IWC report, in which US government spent 7 years and 30 million dollars for researching Nazi and Japanese war crimes, they found no military records on either of the allegations you mentioned. If the Koreans were heavily raped and maltreated, then why was the country able to double its population during its thirty-something years of colonization? Shouldn’t the population decrease as in the case of the Native Americans instead?

  • jay mark

    Fort he same reason the population of French IndoChina increased during the French colonization?
    Further, you were not in Korea. I was in Korea, altho’ it was in the late 50s. Why would my Korean Marines lie to me about the atrocities committed by the Japs? I also served in the Philippines and the Japs did the exact same thing there to the women and young girls.
    When I was in Vietnam, story after story came to me about the way the Japs treated the Vietnamese, worse than the treatment at the hands of the French. Why? Do these people all lie… or did the Japs actually do what the war crimes commission discovered that they did during the occupation of conquered countries.
    Ever hear of the “rape of Nanking”? Besides documentary proof of Jap soldiers actually raping babies, there are numerous movies of them bayoneting the babies.
    I served in Japan also and the single most arrogant people of the Far East were the Japanese politicians and leaders.
    My view is colored by my experiences, first hand.

  • Hugh22

    Well, first of all, let’s talk about the CAR or VEHICLE RELATED TOPIC.
    Here is not the place where do propaganda of Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WW2 in Asia or Chinese Communist Party also Korean cabinet… How come you can justified the history so easily. I understood that you have visited all over Asia and heard lot of anti-Japanese statement. Good for you. However, this is very unfortunate, Eventually you became an anti-Japanese.
    According to human history, people killed people in all over the world. The people don’t stop killing each other because of their fool.
    Yes I agree with you. comfort women or prostitution? these are against human rights. But I will tell you, the system of comfort woman was started by the French Army and most of all European army had same system in terms of military issue. the U.S. army was worst because they kept the system until 1960’s.
    But this is all about women’s rights. WOMEN are always victims. Think about why the women had to committee prostitution or had to become comfort woman? the answer is always money. Money issue. I heard that over 70 years ago Asian people often sell their daughters to make enough money in countryside. Did you know these miserable women’s story?
    Also remember when you talk about this issue, do not blame specific race like Japanese (Jap is quite racism word especially for Japanese American and Japanese Canadian. you better not to use. otherwise you are still discriminate these people). If you are a man, you should have considered about what is the women’s rights and support them instead of what you do now.

  • jay mark

    Moronic and rambling post. First, both my wife and my daughter (black) have no problem with me and know that I am not racist. Hurl your accusations at someone who will wilt under your assertions. I won’t. Further, as I posted, the Japanese leaders are among the most arrogant people (as well as condescending) I have had the misfortune of meeting. I stand by what i posted as it was I and my men who witnessed and experienced this. You did not. I spent years dealing with them, you have never spent five seconds doing the same.
    Walk in my shoes and the shoes of my men and my family. Then come and whine.

  • Aja Aja

    Japan to this deny that they abused the allied POW’s. Read about the broo ha ha that happened after Angelina Jollie’s movie, “Unbroken” came out last year. The Japanese government went ballistic, denied that Japan did any harm or abused the POW’s. There was even a movement in Japan to ban Jollie from entering Japan. Even the Japanese actor who played the evil POW camp commander was threatened with death calls for playing this role. The fact that one of his grandfather was an ethnic Korean who was brought over to Japan as a slave laborer, didn’t help his position either, as he was called a “dirty Korean”. Japanese are one of the most racist country in the face of this world.

  • Mark Rodriguez

    Well I guess you first have to survive in a Toyota before you can provide feedback.

    But with their self-accelerating cars, you’re dicing with death every time you get behind the wheel.

  • Mike

    That’s a decade ago and most stories were fabricated. Why don’t you go worry about Government Motors and their 114+ deaths as they “crimininally” knew of the defect for YEARS and did nothing about it. Oh, and their bailout. Haha. You’re pathetic.

  • Mike

    And Government Motors and their 30+ millon. And we can’t forget about Ford. Haha

  • smartacus