Even though sales may not reflect it, the Korean carmakers are kicking ass and taking names in terms of quality, tech, ergonomics, style, and even driving dynamics. In fact, they've made the most strides in the shortest amount of time out of any auto manufacturers out there. And the proof is in the pudding. Genesis, Kia, and Hyundai just took the top three spots in the 2019 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. And the bad part for the rest of the brands is that they're only getting started.
Just take a look at the fact that they've stolen top designers and engineers from prestigious brands like Audi and BMW. The Genesis G70 sports sedan is widely considered to be one of the best in a very competitive segment that includes the likes of the BMW 3-Series and the Audi A4. And those models have been around for way longer.
Genesis ranked the highest in the study, with sister brand Hyundai in third and Kia in second. That makes the once perceived "cheap" ("It's a KIA!") brand the best mainstream brand in terms of initial quality. This marks the second year in a row the three Korean brands have dominated, and it's Kia's fifth year in a row as the best mainstream brand. The fact that all three Korean brands have shown consistency is testament to a commitment toward constant improvement, something the Japanese are known for. Keep in mind, however, that brand reliability is different from initial quality and covers a longer period of time.
The results of the study are calculated by adding up the issues car owners have within the first 90 days after purchase. The tally figures in the number of problems per 100 vehicles, and obviously the lower the tally, the better the overall ranking. The caveat is that there have to be enough respondents to qualify for the study. Genesis averaged 63 problems per 100 vehicles, Kia 70/100, and Hyundai a close third with 71/100. Jaguar tanked (130/100), with Land Rover (both Tata Motors brands) at 123/100.