Korean automotive nameplates showed a significant improvement in quality while Japanese brands fell below the industry average for the first time in 29 years, according to the 2015 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study.
The study examines problems that surface during the first 90 days of ownership. Initial quality is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.
The industry saw a 3 percent year-over-year improvement in initial quality, averaging 112 PP100 compared with 116 PP100 in 2014.
Korean brands recorded performance that was the highest above the industry average, while only four of 10 Japanese brands posted an improvement from a year ago.
The industry continues to suffer from problems integrating entertainment and connectivity systems into vehicles. These systems were the most trouble-prone systems for the third year in a row, especially voice recognition systems.
General Motors, Hyundai, Nissan, and Volkswagen claimed four model awards, while BMW and Toyota claimed three. FCA US and Ford earned two model awards and Mazda earned one.
Among brands, Porsche had the fewest problems per 100 at 80 followed by Kia (86), Jaguar (93), Hyundai (95), Infiniti (97), and BMW (99). Brands with the most problems per 100 included Fiat (161), smart (154), Chrysler (143), Subaru (142), and Jeep (141).