What a long way Kia has come. When the South Korean automaker was founded, Korea was a newly independent country after gaining freedom from Japanese colonization. Kia was the first Korean producer of bicycles in a transportation industry dominated by oxcarts. Just over 70 years later, Kia has leapfrogged Japanese automotive giants Toyota and Honda, as well as every other brand but Porsche, in J.D. Power’s 2015 Initial Quality Study.
Japanese vehicles collectively fell below industry standards for the first time in the 29-year history of the Initial Quality Study, J.D. Power’s annual survey of problems experienced during the first 90 days after a car is purchased. This historic plummet in quality is compounded by the remarkable rise of Korean makes Kia and Hyundai, who share the top four rankings with renowned luxury brands Porsche and Jaguar.
Kia, which has more units in operation in the United States than ever before, saw a 20% improvement in Initial Quality from last year’s J.D. Power study, which was Kia’s best performance to date. Kia’s strong showing was bolstered by the Soul, which took home top honors in the Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle segment, and the Sorento, which led all cars in the Midsize SUV segment.
2015 has also been a banner year for Kia’s manufacturing plants; Kia’s U.S. plant in West Point, Georgia, which produces the Sorento and Optima, achieved its highest-ever ranking in J.D. Power’s Plant Assembly Line Quality awards in the North/South America region, and Kia’s Kwangju Plant 1 in South Korea won the 2015 Gold Plant Quality Award in the Asia Pacific region.
This historic rise in the rankings is even more remarkable because companies usually experience a slight drop in initial quality with the release of new vehicles, but the release of Kia’s redesigned 2015 Sedona Minivan defied that tendency. Butler Kia is proud to be home to two of the top ten cars in overall initial quality; come on down and test drive one today and see what everyone is talking about!