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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Should You Believe Hyundai's Top Rank in the J.D. Power Quality Survey?

Hyundai has grabbed the headlines by topping the J.D. Power’s 2018 US Initial Quality Study or IQS. In the latest results released just a few days ago, Hyundai’s premium brand, Genesis managed to topple long-time leader Porsche in the Premium category while sister brands Kia and Hyundai took the top spots in the Non-Premium category pushing American, German, and Japanese makes down the order. But are the results all they’re cracked up to be?

To recall, IQS is done by J.D. Power, an independent marketing research company based in Los Angeles, California. The study measures new-vehicle quality at 90 days of ownership and measures 233 problems split into 8 basic categories: Exterior, Seats, Driving Experience, Engine/Transmission, Features/Controls/Display, Interior, Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning, and Audio/Communication/Entertainment/Navigation.

While, J.D. Power calls the IQS “an excellent predictor of new-vehicle quality” the main problem lies in the survey’s tendency to look at quality in a broad view rather than just simply looking at the absence of defects. The survey tries to capture things wrong in a vehicle, problems that may stem from a variety of things from a simple design issue to actual poor assembly quality.

As a result, IQS will put a faulty power window or a transmission that refuses to shift out of park in equal measure to poor Bluetooth pairing or brakes that generate too much brake dust. It doesn’t distinguish a minor annoyance from a major one and that muddles the results.

Granted that the study was originally crafted to capture problems at the assembly plant-level—things like poorly installed door trims, virtually every carmaker now has adopted a system that frees them from most mechanical faults. Thus, IQS nowadays have become much more subjective; much more along the lines of “my phone doesn’t want to pair with the Bluetooth system” instead of “my engine is leaking oil.” And as carmakers begin to adopt new technology and roll them out faster to mainstream vehicles, the most common complaint wouldn’t be about a suspension that broke into two but would be about a voice recognition system that didn’t work properly.

Naturally, these subjective “problems” aren’t manufacturing defects per se since they can be addressed simply by offering better customer tutorials, perhaps at the dealer level. As customers demand more and more technology, carmakers and dealers have to be there to help them adjust. The same is especially true for features that are new or unfamiliar to customers who have recently switched brands.

Thanks to J.D. Power’s strong brand recognition, they’re typically used by carmakers to laud the improvement in their products. Admittedly, Korean brands, particularly those under the Hyundai Group have come a long way. However, as consumers, the results of the IQS should be taken with a grain of salt. As carmakers face less and less assembly-related quality issues, the gap between true defects and design problems is closing rapidly. And with that, people are just starting to nitpick.


  1. well hindi naman mahirap paniwalaan ung initial quality survey, ang tanong ung after 5 years, 10 years, 15 years

    1. Nakita ko yung ranking and Nissan lang above average ang quality. Kung maraming na problema within one year ang Jap cars ngayon ano pa kaya kung 5-10 years? Quality of Jap cars has really been deteriorating over the past few years.

    2. Depende sa gumagamit yan. Mapa-Japanese, Korean or American brand. Ang reflection kasi rito sa Pilipinas ay yung after sales ng mga casa and availability of good and original spare parts. Marami rin kasing Pilipino, may pambili ng sasakyan pero walang panggastos sa maintenance. Anong bagsak? Banawe at cheap knock off parts tapos magra-rant sa forums, facebook at youtube na sakit sa ulo si ganito o ganyan.

  2. Sad to say this achievement of Hyundai doesn't to Philippine settings. Hyundai Philippines is really a jackass for offering severely underspec'd vehicles to us Filipinos.

    If they can only offer us what we rightfully deserve, then they'll surely have a healthy market share here in the PHI. Sayang pa man din yung Crdi Santa Fe at Tucson ang lakas ng makina.

  3. Bakit ganun yung headline? Should You Believe Hyundai's Top Rank in the J.D. Power Quality Survey? Isn't JD Power the bible for car quality worldwide? It just show's this website's fanboy tendency towards his beloved Mazda, which btw ranked very poorly

  4. Yes, you should believe this survey cause a car's reliability can be easily judged on the first 90 days of ownership.


  5. People should really be educated on their research methods. They count defects without severity, i.e. an infotainment crash and an engine issue are counted as one problem each. Not really a good basis for reliability.

  6. Hmmm, really??? I just wondering if Hyundai vehicles here in PH are reliable and won't give you any headaches if you own one and also if they are good to own.

  7. As a retired American auto manufacturer, I can say without reservation that, despite this article marginalizing small defects from larger ones, manufacturers do not see it that way. Every customer complaint is a serious issue. We understand that with enough of these “small customer complaints” it can convince someone to purchase their next vehicle from our competitor.


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