THERE is a new king of quality.

The authoritative J.D. Power Initial Car Quality survey has thrown up some surprising results, as Japanese and German brands ranked below their Korean rivals.

JD Power's Initial Quality survey ranks brands on the amount of problems per 100 vehicles in the first 90 days of ownership. A single vehicle can contribute several faults.

New luxury brand Genesis was the best performer.
New luxury brand Genesis was the best performer.

The top three brands for initial quality were Hyundai's luxury offshoot Genesis with 63 problems per 100, Kia (70) and Hyundai (71). All three marques reported incidents well below the industry average of 93 per 100 vehicles.

Hyundai and Kia are both known quantities in Australia having built a reputation of growing quality over the past few decades. And several popular models including the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Rio and Sorento all performed strongly.

Australia buyers can expect big things from Genesis - the luxury offshoot of Hyundai - due to launch locally next week.

2019 JD Power Initial Quality survey.
2019 JD Power Initial Quality survey.

The survey is based on US respondents so don't directly compare with Australia as some vehicles are sourced from different plants. But it is the best information on offer to Australian buyers because the local car industry refuses to publish its quality results.

Ford was the best performing American car maker. Pics by Thomas Wielecki
Ford was the best performing American car maker. Pics by Thomas Wielecki

Another surprise was the strong performance of US brands. Traditionally ridiculed for their poor quality, the Americans have lifted their game and now outshine the luxury European car makers.

Ford ranked fourth while Chevrolet, which provides vehicles to Holden, was sixth.

Nissan, Toyota and Lexus were the best of the Japanese brigade. All wee slightly better than the industry average of 93.

Mercedes-Benz (94) and Porsche (96) were the best placed European brands. A bright spot for Porsche was that its vaunted 911 sports car was the best rated vehicle with only 48 faults reported per 100 vehicles.

The Porsche 911 was the highest ranking individual vehicle.
The Porsche 911 was the highest ranking individual vehicle.

Mazda was the biggest improver with the maker reporting 25 less faults per 100 vehicles than last year.

But while the top of the table may have throw up a few surprises there is some familiar faces at the bottom.

Jaguar (130) and Land Rover (123) were again cellar dwellers while Volkswagen (113) experienced a steep fall.

Jaguar was the worst performing brand for initial quality.
Jaguar was the worst performing brand for initial quality.

The luxury marques may struggle due to an increase in technology and driver aids leading to a jump in faults per vehicle. That provides an interesting insight into the development of autonomous cars according to JD Power's Vice President of Global Automotive Dave Sargent.

"As we look to the future, avoiding problems with safety and driver assistance technology is critical," says Sargent.

"In an era of increasingly automated vehicles, vehicle owners have to be comfortable using foundational technologies like lane keep assistance and collision avoidance. Otherwise, automakers will not easily overcome consumer resistance to fully automated (driverless) cars."


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