Kia Sportage

Kia Sportage

South Korean vehicle maker Kia has taken the automotive world by surprise in a big way. Kia has become the first non-premium brand to top the JD Power Initial Quality Study (IQS) in 27 years. Beating 32 other makes sold in the USA to do so.

Now in its 30th year, the annual JD Power IQS analyses responses from new vehicle owners in 26 segments. IQS is determined by vehicle owners evaluating the driving experience, engine and transmission performance, and a range of quality-related problems within the first 90 days of ownership.

In individual areas, the Kia Sportage (Small SUV) and Kia Soul (Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle) were recognised as best-in-segment. The Kia Rio, Forte (sold as the Cerato in Australia) and Sorento all ranked in the top three of their categories.

Regarding the stunning result Kia Australia’s chief operating officer Damien Meredith said. “It is certainly an outstanding statement on the quality of the Kia product, and while it directly relates to owners in the United States the cars which starred – Sportage, Soul, Rio and Cerato – are all made in the same factories as the cars for Australia.

“This is a powerful endorsement of the brand and the commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, something Kia Motors Australia has embraced with our seven year warranty, seven year capped price servicing and seven year roadside assist.”

Kia Soul

Kia Soul

Mr Meredith went on to say that while initial customer satisfaction was important, Kia Motors Australia was committed to the entire ownership experience. “Initial experience is important, but it is the longer term ownership experience that builds brand loyalty. “Your customer service is not something you can go to sleep on, you always have to be working at customer satisfaction,” he said.

As a sign of the way the global automotive scene is changing, Kia’s parent company, Hyundai, was in third place in the 2016 JD Power IQS, with German Porsche squeezed between the two South Koreans.

Kia is not the newcomer to the automotive arena that many people believe. Kia Motors Corporation was founded over 70 years ago, in 1944 and is Korea’s oldest motor vehicle manufacturer. Today it has about 50,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of AUD$59 billion.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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