Category Archives: Awards & Accolades

Kia Motors Ranked Highest Mass Market Brand for Fifth Consecutive Year in J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study

  • Kia’s reported problem levels improved by two points over last year to secure the top spot over all non-luxury automakers and second among all brands, luxury and non-luxury
  • Four Kia models included among the top 10 vehicles in the industry, the most of any brand
  • The Rio subcompact, Forte compact, Sportage SUV and Sedona minivan each topped their respective segments

For the fifth consecutive year, Kia was named the number one non-luxury automotive brand today by J.D. Power in the 2019 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS), with a reported 70 problems per 100 vehicles, a two-point improvement over last year’s results. Kia’s continued success in IQS was led by having four models – Rio, Forte, Sportage and Soul — included among the top 10 vehicles in the industry, the most of any brand. In addition, Kia had segment-topping performances from Rio (Small Car), Forte (Compact Car), Sportage (Small SUV) and Sedona (Minivan).

“Being ranked at the top of J.D. Power’s U.S. Initial Quality Study among all mass market brands once is a tremendous honor, but capturing this leadership position for five consecutive years unequivocally affirms Kia’s commitment to quality and the ownership experience,” said Michael Cole, chief operating officer and EVP, Kia Motors America. “With four segment winners – and three additional models ranking among the top three in their respective segments – Kia’s ‘Give It Everything’ brand philosophy has clearly yielded a world-class model lineup.”

The annual report analyzed responses from 76,256 respondents with regards to 257 vehicle models across 26 segments. Vehicles were evaluated on driving experience, engine and transmission performance and a broad range of quality issues reported by vehicle owners.

Kia takes Three J.D. Power (APEAL) Awards

By August 6, 2017


Kia is the only non-premium brand to earn three segment wins in this year’s J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study with the Niro (shown), Soul and Cadenza.


Kia has earned three J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) awards with the Kia Niro, Kia Soul, and Kia Cadenza, all garnering awards in their respective segments.
Kia is the only non-premium brand to register wins in three segments (in a three-way tie with two premium brands), earning accolades in the Small SUV segment (Niro), Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle segment (Soul) and Large Car segment (Cadenza).
The announcement follows on the heels of Kia Motors recently being ranked highest in the industry in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS) for the second year in a row and all three Kia APEAL study segment winners were also IQS segment winners.
Amid tough competition, the new Niro crossover hybrid performed a substantial 51 points above its segment average.
The Cadenza also outperformed strong competitors in the Large Car segment, surpassing the segment average by an impressive 27 points.
The Soul, a long-running favorite among consumers looking to stand out from the crowd, garnered its fifth APEAL award (2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017), making it the vehicle with the most APEAL accolades in Kia’s lineup of award-winning offerings and is the only vehicle in the Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle category to score above its segment average.
The J.D. Power APEAL study measures new-vehicle owners’ overall satisfaction with their vehicles in the first 90 days of ownership.
The results are divided into 10 categories and weighted accordingly: exterior, interior, storage, audio, seats, heating and ventilation, driving dynamics, powertrain, visibility and fuel economy.


Kia tops J.D. Power quality rankings amid shake-up

By Michael Wayland June 21, 2017

Source: Automotive News

DETROIT — Kia took the top spot in J.D. Power’s annual report card on vehicle quality for a second consecutive year, as industry ratings reached a new record and domestic brands maintained their edge over foreign rivals.

Kia, with 72 problems reported per 100 vehicles, was able to retain 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 — most notably, Toyota and Lexus — falling 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 debuting 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 — marking the highest positions in the study for both brands and the first time since 2011 that two Detroit brands have ranked that high.

Sargent 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.

Initial Quality Study

Japanese fall

Improvements to infotainment systems greatly helped brands from the Detroit automakers outperform import brands for the second year in a row, according to Sargent. In 2017, domestic brands received a score of 93 compared with 99 for import brands. It’s just the third time since the study was first published in 1987 that domestic brands outperformed their foreign counterparts.

“The domestics have done a pretty good job of wrestling the infotainment issue,” Sargent said. “They have a significant advantage of the imports.”

Toyota’s brands, which for years led or were ranked near the top of the study, had mediocre performances this year, with Lexus ranking one position below the industry average and Toyota ranking one above it. This was the first time in the history of the survey that Lexus scored below average.

Nissan, with a score of 93, was the top-ranked Japanese brand at No. 10 — level in the rankings from a year ago.

At the very bottom of this year’s rankings were Mazda, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Volvo, Jaguar and Fiat — all with between 125 and 163 problems reported per 100 vehicles.

Many of the low rankings, according to Sargent, are due to the brands launching all-new products, which tend to have more quality issues than older, more refined models.

Record quality

New-vehicle quality overall for the industry reached a new record, improving a significant 8 percent from last year’s previous record-setting year. The industry average for the 2017 study is 97 problems reported per 100 vehicles, down from 105 a year ago.

“For the most part, the industry as a whole has got their arms around this,” Sargent said. “This is the third-straight year of improvement. It’s an accelerating rate of improvement.”

The only category to worsen this year was features, controls and displays. The largest increases in problems were for cruise control (primarily adaptive cruise); lane-departure warning; collision-avoidance/alert systems; and blind-spot warning.

The study was based on nearly 80,000 responses from owners and lessees of 2017 model-year vehicles after 90 days of ownership. Consumers were surveyed from February through May.


Hyundai Motor Co., which includes Kia, was awarded the most model-level awards. They included the Kia Cadenza; Kia Forte; Kia Niro; Kia Sorento; and Kia Soul.

Following the South Korean’s five awards were General Motors Co. (Chevrolet Silverado; Chevrolet Silverado HD; Chevrolet Sonic; and GMC Terrain) and BMW Group (BMW 2 Series; BMW 4 Series; BMW X6; and MINI Cooper) both with four awards.

Top three models per segment

Segment Highest ranked Others ranked
Small Car Chevrolet Sonic Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit
Small Premium Car BMW 2 Series BMW i3, Lexus CT
Compact Car Kia Forte Chevrolet Cruze (tie), Toyota Corolla (tie), Volkswagen Jetta (tie)
Compact Sporty Car* Mini Cooper  
Compact MPV* Kia Soul  
Compact Premium Car BMW 4 Series Lexus ES, Cadillac ATS
Midsize Car Toyota Camry Kia Optima, Nissan Altima
Midsize Sporty Car* Ford Mustang Dodge Challenger
Minivan* Chrysler Pacifica Dodge Grand Caravan
Midsize Premium Car Lexus GS Lincoln Continental, Audi A7
Midsize Premium Sporty Car* Porsche 911  
Large Car Kia Cadenza Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima
Small SUV Kia Niro Kia Sportage, Buick Encore (tie), Volkswagen Tiguan (tie)
Small Premium SUV* Mercedes-Benz GLA BMW X1
Compact SUV GMC Terrain Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox
Compact Premium SUV Porsche Macan BMW X3, BMW X4
Midsize SUV Kia Sorento Toyota Highlander, Buick Enclave
Midsize Premium SUV BMW X6 BMW X5, Porsche Cayanne
Midsize Pickup Nissan Frontier Chevrolet Colorado, Honda Ridgeline
Large SUV Ford Expedition Chevrolet Tahoe, Toyota Sequoia
Large Premium SUV Infiniti QX80 Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz GLS
Large Light Duty Pickup Chevrolet Silverado Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra
Large Heavy Duty Pickup* Chevrolet Silverado HD Ford Super Duty
*No other model in this segment performs above segment average.
There must be at least three models with 80% of market sales in any given award segment for an award to be presented. The Large Premium Car segment did not meet criteria to be award eligible, thus no awards will be issued.

Top 10 Most Reliable Car Brands

Source: Auto Guide by Jason Siu – October 25, 2016

Top 10 Most Reliable Car Brands

The 2016 Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey has been released and there are a few surprises. Designed to rank automakers based on the predicted reliability of their product lines, the annual survey gathers data from over 500,000 Consumer Reports subscribers that bought or leased a new vehicle between model year 2000 and 2017. This year’s survey includes more than 300 individual nameplates.

There are some familiar faces in the top 10 most reliable car brands, while others are new to the list.

10. Honda

2017 Honda Civic

Honda stumbled a bit this year, dropping two spots to 10th place with an average reliability score of 57 across seven models. Honda owners told the publication they have been stymied by problematic infotainment systems and transmissions. But perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that the Honda Civic is no longer recommended by Consumer Reports.

9. BMW

BMW i3

BMW rose two spots to ninth place, with the same average reliability score as Honda at 57. The German automaker, however, had eight models as part of the survey with the i3 and X5 newly recommended, meaning they’re models with improved reliability.

8. Infiniti

2016 Infiniti Q70

Nissan’s luxury arm, Infiniti, was most improved rising 16 spots to eighth place. Four models were taken into consideration to give the brand an average reliability score of 62. The publication notes that Infiniti is a bit of a mixed bag, however, with the Q70 sedan scoring 91, but the QX60 getting a score of 33.

7. Hyundai

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe

Korean automaker Hyundai saw the Santa Fe join the newly recommended list, helping the brand move up two spots to seventh place. Hyundai had seven models as part of the survey, averaging a reliability score of 66.

6. Mazda

2016 Mazda CX5

With an average reliability score of 68, Mazda dropped two spots to sixth place with five models surveyed. The Japanese automaker didn’t have any vehicles that joined the no longer recommended list, nor did it have any newly recommended models.

5. Kia

2017 Kia Forte

Kia may be the more affordable of the two Korean automakers on the list, but Hyundai’s sister brand fared better in the annual reliability survey. “Kia builds cars that are slightly better than Hyundai,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports‘ director of automotive testing. It’s likely due to the fact that Kia introduces models a bit later than Hyundai, once many initial bugs have been addressed. The company rose one spot to fifth place, with four models surveyed netting an average reliability score of 69.

4. Audi

Audi A3

Audi dropped one spot to fourth place, with seven models averaging a reliability score of 71. Both the Q3 and Q7 models have proven to be reliable, but the A3 ranked below average, making it no longer recommended by the publication.

3. Buick

2017 Buick Lacrosse

Buick moves into the top three brands this year, with its core product line mature and most problems having been ironed out. The American automaker has introduced several new vehicles, however, which could have an impact on future brand performance. For this year, it rose four spots with four models averaging a reliability score of 75.

2. Toyota

2016 Toyota Tacoma

To little surprise, Toyota is in the top two this year, with 12 models averaging a reliability score of 78. Despite high marks throughout, Toyota was hindered by the redesigned Tacoma, which was unreliable in its first year. The Japanese automaker continues to use tried-and-true methods to build its vehicles, taking a conservative, evolutionary approach.

1. Lexus

Lexus RX 350

Topping the list as the most reliable car brand this year is Lexus, scoring 86 with nine models surveyed. Both Toyota and Lexus have been consistently reliable throughout the years of the annual survey.

Hybrid Kias Are Set To Take Over The World

Source: Car Buzz by James Allen – October 24, 2016

Brace yourselves for an alternative powertrain onslaught.
Considering Kia hadn’t made a non-LPG alternative powertrain car before the start of the decade, it’s safe to say the Korean firm’s made some decent progress with its greener technology development. An EV Soul has been on sale for the last couple of years, for example, and there’s now the hybrid Niro to complement gasoline-electric Kia Optima variants. However, it appears this gradual approach won’t be retained for long, as Autocar is reporting the company is gearing up for an “alternative powertrain onslaught.”

Kia Optima Hybrid

According to Kia Europe’s Chief Operating Officer, Michael Cole, the overall plan is to introduce no less than 14 new alternative powertrain models across the world. Perhaps more interestingly, Cole also stated these 14 models will go on sale by 2020 – which, when you notice that Kia won’t be launching a new car this year, means we should see on average between four to five new alternative powertrain Kias brought to market per annum over the next few years if the company can stick to this schedule. Cole didn’t cite what the powertrain split would be, other that stating “a fuel cell model” will be launched by 2020.

This suggests most of these new models will be predominantly hybrids of some description. For instance, we’re pretty confident a plug-in hybrid and all-electric version of the series hybrid Kia Niro will be launched fairly imminently, and the markets with access to the Kia Optima Sportswagon will likely be receiving a hybrid version of that car too. It also wouldn’t surprise us if the Sportage, the Sorento and the next Kia Forte get hybrid systems at some point. Basically, expect to see lots of hybrid Kias launched onto the market in the coming years.

Kia Optima Hybrid

Kia Optima Hybrid

Kia Optima Hybrid

Kia Optima Hybrid

Kia Optima Hybrid

Kia Motors Earns Best-Ever Ranking In 2015 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

Third Straight Year of IQS Improvement Places Kia Second Among 33 Brands

  • Kia Sorento and Soul awarded for highest scores in compact multi-purpose vehicle and midsize SUV segments as five other Kia models rank among top three in their respective categories
  •  With nearly 20-percent improvement, Kia owners had fewer issues with their vehicles than nearly all other car and truck brands


IRVINE, Calif., June 17, 2015 – With more units in operation in the U.S. than ever before, Kia Motors reached another historic milestone today when J.D. Power recognized the brand as the second-highest scoring nameplate industry-wide in its 2015 Initial Quality Study (IQS). Kia’s IQS score improved by 20 points over its previous best-ever performance in 2014, vaulting the growing automaker up four positions to second overall among 33 automotive brands and highest among all mass-market nameplates.

Kia’s ascension was powered by segment-leading performances from two of the company’s best-selling vehicles – Soul and Sorento – while the Rio, Optima, Cadenza, Sportage and Sedona models all ranked in the top three of their respective categories.

“We believe the J.D. Power report leaves no doubt that Kia builds world-class vehicles, and the results are especially gratifying as the IQS study truly reflects the voice of our customers,” said Michael Sprague, Chief Operating Officer and EVP, Kia Motors America.  “Kia’s rise is one of the industry’s greatest success stories and is driven by the hard work of thousands of team members around the world as well as our long-term strategy to concentrate on quality, strengthen the brand and elevate the ownership experience”

Kia’s U.S. sales have more than doubled over the last six years as the brand has made significant investments in the market and steadily climbed J.D. Power’s annual IQS rankings. After the Soul was ranked number one in the compact multi-purpose vehicle segment in 2012, Kia broke into the overall top 10 in 2013, with the Soul and Sportage (tie) taking top honors in their respective segments, and then rose to sixth in the industry in 2014.  The company’s $1.1 billion manufacturing facility in West Point, Georgia – Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia – produces the Sorento and Optima, and achieved its highest-ever quality ranking among plants in North/South America in the 2015 study. Additionally, the Kwangju plant where the Soul is produced ranked number one for the Asia Pacific Region.

Now in its 29th year, the annual J.D. Power IQS analyzes responses from vehicle owners in 26 segments.  IQS is determined by vehicle owners evaluating the driving experience, engine and transmission performance, and a broad range of quality-related problems within the first 90 days of ownership.

Good Design Awards

(SEOUL) January 7, 2015 – Kia Motors has received prestigious GOOD DESIGN awards for three of its most recent models, the Kia K900 (known as 'K9' or 'Quoris' in some countries), Soul EV and GT4 Stinger concept car, in the award program's 'Transportation' category.

Chosen by GOOD DESIGN's jury of independent design professionals, industry specialists and design media, the three Kia models were evaluated on a range of criteria – innovative design, new technologies, form, materials, construction, concept, function, utility, energy efficiency and sensitivity to the environment.

Soon-Nam Lee, Vice President of Overseas Marketing at Kia Motors Corporation, commented, "These three GOOD DESIGN awards cap a particularly strong year for the Kia Motors design team, which has picked up a number of prizes for its work on our latest models. The Soul EV and GT4 Stinger are two of the most striking and well-received designs we've ever produced, and the K900 appeals for its classic, yet thoroughly modern, styling and contemporary values of luxury. The GOOD DESIGN honors are testament to the team's consistent design excellence."

The Kia design team, led since 2006 by Peter Schreyer, has won widespread acclaim for its striking and innovative work, and for contributing to Kia's substantial global growth in recent years.

Established in 1950, the GOOD DESIGN awards program – organized annually by The Chicago Athenaeum – celebrates design excellence across 25 different categories. Designers and manufactures in over 30 nations have won awards for contemporary design, and past recipients of GOOD DESIGN awards include everything from a paperclip to a Boeing 787 Dreamliner and NASA spacecraft.