Kia, the unheralded South Korean manufacturer still often scoffed at by mainstream car buyers, has achieved the top spot in the just-released J.D. Power annual report card on vehicle quality for a second consecutive year.

With 72 problems reported per 100 vehicles, Kia retained its No. 1 position despite a shake-up in the 2017 U.S. Initial Quality Study rankings that included significant shifts with the German and Japanese brands.

The 2017 Kia Sorento help the South Korean manufacturer achieve the J.D. Power top qualliyt postion for the second straight year. Image © James Raia

Most notably, Toyota and Lexus fell behind many U.S. and Korean brands.

“This is without question the best quality the world has ever seen,” Dave Sargent, vice president, global automotive at J.D. Power, said when releasing the results at an Automotive Press Association meeting in Detroit. “The industry is picking up steam and really improving the quality of their vehicles.”

In its first year as a standalone brand, Hyundai’s luxury Genesis brand debuted at No. 2, with 77 problems reported per 100 vehicles. Porsche, with 78 problems, dropped to third — its lowest ranking since 2015.

Ford and Ram, both with 86, rounded out the top five brand positions. It marked the highest positions in the study for both brands and the first time since 2011 that two Detroit brands have ranked that high.

The Industry Average was 97 problems per 100 vehicles.

9Sargent said Ford’s improvement, up from 11th in 2016, was largely because of its new Sync 3 infotainment system, a replacement for its previous Sync and MyFord Touch system that plagued the brand’s rankings in recent years.

J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Initial Quality Study

Nameplate IQS ranking (Problems per 100 vehicles)

Kia, 72; Genesis, 77; Porsche, 78; Ford, 86; Ram, 86; BMW, 88; Chevrolet, 88; Hyundai, 88; Lincoln, 92; Nissan, 93; Volkswagen, 93; Mini, 94; Buick, 95; Toyota, 95; Lexus, 98; GMC, 99; Chrysler, 102; Mercedes-Benz, 102; Acura, 103; Cadillac, 105; Honda, 105; Dodge, 106; Infiniti, 107; Jeep, 107; Subaru, 113; Audi, 115; Mazda, 125; Land Rover, 131; Mitsubishi, 131; Volvo, 134; Jaguar, 148; Fiat, 163

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