Car Industry

South Korea crushes it in J.D. Power's 2018 Initial Quality Study

Genesis, Kia and Hyundai sweep the metaphorical podium with 1, 2 and 3 rankings.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

The myth of Korean cars being cheaply made and problematic to own should, by now, be well and truly busted. But, if you've had your head in the sand for the last few years, here's some fairly definitive proof for you: J.D. Power's Initial Quality Study has Genesis, Kia and Hyundai in its top three spots.

This is a big deal, too, because it represents the first time that the three Korean brands have topped the list. Kia is no stranger to the top, having been the top-ranked mass-market brand for the last four years. Genesis has only been an independent brand for two years, but improvements to the G80 and a strong showing from the new G70 pushed it to the front of the pack.

Improvements to the Genesis G80 pushed it to the front of the pack in J.D. Power's Initial Quality Study.

Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

At the bottom of the list we have two historically low-ranking brands (despite being generally lovely cars to drive) and one somewhat surprising entry. Jaguar and Land Rover have struggled with initial quality and reliability for a long time, though most of their problems now center on complicated infotainment systems and not mechanical issues. Volvo is in the same boat with its infotainment system giving people problems.

Interestingly, Porsche's 911 had the fewest instances of problems per 100 vehicles sold with just 48, yet Porsche came in fourth on the list behind Hyundai and followed by Ford. There is apparently something to be said for incremental change in the case of the 911, its current 991.2 generation being in its third model year.

Porsche's 911 led the list in fewest problems per 100 vehicles sold.

Marc Urbano/Porsche

The good news for consumers is that overall, quality is up across the board. The average problems per 100 vehicles across all manufacturers samples is down by four points, which means it's harder than ever to buy a crappy new car.