Genesis, with two car models, ranked highest in J.D. Power’s survey of light-vehicle reliability after three years of ownership, while Buick placed highest among mass-market brands, and third overall.
The 2020 Vehicle Dependability Study marks the first year Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury arm, has been included in the survey.
For 2017, Genesis marketed just two models — the G80 and G90 sedans .
Lexus, the top brand in the study the last eight years, fell to second place overall. Genesis, Lexus and Buick were followed in the top ten by Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen, Lincoln, BMW, Chevrolet and Ford.
At the bottom of the study, with an average of around 2 problems reported per vehicle: Volvo, Jaguar, Chrysler and Land Rover.
Tesla was not a part of the study.
“For certain states J.D. Power needs the manufacturer’s permission to contact their customers,” Dave Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power, said in an emailed statement. “These states make up approximately 70 percent of Tesla’s sales volume and Tesla does not give J.D. Power approval in these states. (All other automakers do give permission.) Therefore J.D. Power only has responses from states which comprise about 30 percent of Tesla’s sales volume and J.D. Power’s current rules preclude the company from reporting publicly on what may be an unrepresentative sample of customers.”
The survey, conducted for 31 years, tracks problems per 100 vehicles during a 12-month period by owners of three-year old vehicles.
Overall, J.D. Power said 2017 models averaged 134 problems per 100 vehicles studied, a slight improvement over 2016 models tracked in the 2019 study.
In addition to the top 10 brands, Mazda, Cadillac, Hyundai and Kia also fared better than the industry average.
Across all brands, the reliability of 3-year-old vehicles improved 1.5 percent from last year, Power said in a statement. Overall, 18 brands saw improvement, while 13, including Toyota , BMW, Chevrolet, Hyundai and Kia, reported more problems. Brands with substantially more problems in the latest survey: Chrysler, Mini, Infiniti, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Subaru.Cadillac, Acura, Mazda, Lincoln, Ford, Buick, and VW were the brands with the biggest improvement, Power said. Fiat, Dodge and Volvo also posted major improvements but still landed well below the industry average.
“Despite the increased adoption of complex vehicle technology, dependability continues to improve,” Sargent said in a statement.
“There’s no question that three-year-old vehicles today are better built and more dependable than same-age vehicles were in previous years. However, the rapid introduction of technology is putting increased pressure on dependability, so it would not be surprising to see problem levels plateau, or even increase, over the next few years.”
In-vehicle technology showed the greatest improvement, according to the study, “but still accounts for more problems than any other category,” Power said.
The Lexus ES sedan, with 52 problems reported per 100 vehicles surveyed, was the highest-ranked vehicle in the 2020 study, and the best model ever tracked, J.D. Power said.
The study is just the latest sign that Korea’s three leading brands continue to make major strides on the quality front. Genesis, Kia and Hyundai also topped J.D. Power’s annual Initial Quality Study for 2019 new-vehicle reliability.
Other findings: Crossovers and SUVs experience more problems than cars, (134 per 100 vs. 127 per 100) , “but the gap is narrowing,” from 2019 the study said.
The Nissan Leaf won the first all-electric model to receive a segment-level award for a compact car in the 2020 study.
Power said the 2020 survey is based on responses from 36,555 original owners of 2017 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The study tracked 177 problems grouped into eight categories and was conducted from July through November 2019.