For the fourth consecutive year, Kia has been recognized as the top non-premium brand by J.D. Power in the 2018 Initial Quality Study (IQS) conducted in the US market, with a reported 72 problems per 100 vehicles.  Kia maintained its leadership position with segment-leading performances from the Sorento (Midsize SUV) and Rio (Small Car), while Optima (Midsize Car), Sportage (Small SUV) and Sedona (Minivan) placed second and the Forte (Compact Car) placed third in their respective categories.

“Ranking number one among all mass market brands for four consecutive years leaves no doubt as to the world-class quality and craftsmanship instilled in every car and SUV that Kia builds,” said Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer and EVP of Kia Motors America.

“With two segment winners and five additional models finishing in the top three of their respective categories, the evidence of Kia’s progression and focus on the ownership experience is overwhelming,” he added.

The 2018 U.S. IQS was based on responses from 75,712 purchasers and lessees of new 2018 model-year vehicles in the USA. They were surveyed after 90 days of ownership and the vehicles were evaluated on driving experience, engine and transmission performance and a broad range of quality issues reported by vehicle owners.

The latest Kia Sportage SUV

Kia’s ascent to being tops in quality is certainly a huge contrast from 30 years ago when Korean carmakers entered the US market. At that time, they focussed on low cost and one TV commercial showed a customer trying to get two new cars home. The suggestion was that they were so cheap that two could be bought for the price of one. Then it was discovered that the cars had very poor quality and the joke was that customers were being advised to buy a second car because the first one would break down!

The poor quality had such a serious effect that sales fell by 50% within a year. The Korean carmakers withdrew quietly and worked hard to improve quality. Many years later, they returned and since the late 1990s, Korean brands have been very popular and as Kia has shown, even topping J.D. Power studies.

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[Chips Yap]

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