Hyundai was the butt of many jokes in the auto industry when it first entered the US market, but since then, it has forged ahead and built cars that stand with the best in their respective segments. The 2011 Sonata and 2011 Elantra were seen as the apotheosis of the brand's forward progress when they were introduced, but falling J.D. Power and Associates Dependability Study results may actually cause them to hurt the company's hard-earned reputation.

J.D Power's study examines three-year-old vehicles for problems per 100 vehicles. Since the 2011 study for 2008 model year cars, Hyundai has fallen from 10th overall with 132 problems to 27th in the 2014 survey of 2011 model year vehicles with 169 problems. It was also Hyundai's second consecutive year of an increase in reported problems. According to Automotive News, many of these problems are due to faults with the Sonata and Elantra, but J.D. Power didn't identify specifically what issues caused Hyundai's dependability to tumble so far down the list. However, the study found that, on average, reliability fell throughout the industry for the first time since 1998.

Getting the Sonata and Elantra right are vital to Hyundai. In 2013, they were the company's best-selling cars. "We'll be closely going through the data to see where improvements need to be made. Hyundai's goal is nothing short of quality leadership, and the report shows we have work to do," Hyundai spokesperson Jim Trainor said in an email to Autoblog.

It took years and huge amounts of capital to build Hyundai's reputation as a dependable brand, and sustained problems could jeopardize that. "We'll learn from this study and are confident our dependability scores will be better in the future," said Trainor. Hopefully, rehiring engineers who left over quality issues does not point the way forward.


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  • 79 Comments
      kagroyalo
      • 1 Year Ago
      I remember my first Hyundai encounter. My friend bought a 1986 Elantra, I would resort to a horse drawn carriage before that vehicle. That being said they have made HUGE strides since then and have probably forced other manufactures to step up their game as well, but I only know one person who owns a newer KIA and I have to say that while they offer bang for the buck there are still issues with things such as fit and finish and electrical that would concern me as to how this car will be acting when I make my last payment
      Timon
      • 1 Year Ago
      To everyone saying that today's cars are all equally reliable: no, they are not.
      Hedo D
      • 1 Year Ago
      Doesn't Hyundai and Kia still have their 10 year / 100k warranty?
        downwithlaser
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hedo D
        Yes, but I don't think that many people would want to put up with headache after headache, even if it doesn't cost them anything.
      Zach
      • 1 Year Ago
      Becoming to big to fast.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Zach
        [blocked]
      ccmcflora
      • 1 Year Ago
      Cheap Korean junk
      FuelToTheFire
      • 1 Year Ago
      This proves all along that NOTHIG. has changed. Hyundai is STILL the crappiest, least deli ale automaker sold in the US, just like in the 90 s. it's just that they have a better warranty and ripoff styling which is why so many ignorant peasant commoners buy them nowadays.
        NightFlight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Ahem. Might want to take a look at these links, far from the bottom, and also far from the top. http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability-results/12-2013 http://autos.jdpower.com/content/press-release/3WScQEz/2013-j-d-power-initial-quality-study.htm http://autos.jdpower.com/ratings/2014-Vehicle-Dependability-Study-Press-Release.htm
      mikeybyte1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Soooo.... "J.D. Power didn't identify specifically what issues caused Hyundai's dependability to tumble so far down the list." OK then how is this information even relevant? We all know that JD Powers now includes crap like "car doesn't have enough power" and "jerky transmission" as reliability issues. Um, it has nothing to do with reliability or dependability. My take is that cars have gotten so good in quality that JD Powers - and others - are now making up categories and issues just to get a wider spread in the ratings. Sooooo.... another useless survey to support marketing and bragging rights.
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      This can't be a surprise. I really don't understand why some AB users and even a couple of people I've met always fight tooth and nail for Hyundai/KIA's mostly self-proclaimed reputation of late. Really? These guys aren't out for you, they are out for themselves. Every car company is. The difference is many other car companies give you true quality. Hyundai/KIA still gives you subpar quality wrapped in brand new-stylish bodies. Is that really all that people need these days? Would you gamble on a company that just until the last few years was building some of the poorest quality cars in the industry? All because Peter Schreyer has made the once dish water Optima attractive? I'm not really surprised by this article and I think the companies still have a long way to go before claiming superiority.
        aquaticko
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        It's probably due to the fact that they grew so quickly. These kinds of problems can and have happened to others, and as others on here have said, models from the '00's seem to be holding up very well. Why, after all this, they rehired the man who is obviously responsible for these problems is beyond me, but don't make it sound worse than it is. In case you didn't read the article, it says that reliability fell for everyone, not just Hyundai. I also don't think I've ever heard anyone claim Hyundai is "superior"; I'm a pretty frequent defender of them, but they're not leaders in any way but design, at this point, and to a disappointing extent considering what a company of their size could (and I think should) be doing. However, they still deserve a bit more respect than many on here give, present company included.
      FIDTRO
      • 1 Year Ago
      Seriously, is anyone surprised by this? Their low priced, but fully loaded cars seem like a good deal, right? Where do you think they've cut their costs to be able to offer you all that equipment at those bargain prices. You get what you pay for, people.
        mikemaj82
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FIDTRO
        Really? Tell that to the people driving BMW courtesy cars because theirs are in the shop.
        Super D Spamalot
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FIDTRO
        2012 Sonata owner. 120,000 km driven in 2.5 years and I have had exactly 0 problems. Not even minor trim issues. I am totally convinced I got more then I paid for and I will continue to buy from Hyundai in the future because of that. So yes, I am surprised by this. As others have mentioned, price has nothing to do with reliability.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Ryth
        • 1 Year Ago
        Probably has to do more with them being built here by American workers who are substandard compared to Korean workers.
          SloopJohnB
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Ryth
          Well, they may have a different culture than Korean workers, but substandard is harsh. All depends on whose standards.
        Phil B
        • 1 Year Ago
        Jeez, writing their epitaph a bit early perhaps??
      features
      • 1 Year Ago
      Can't wait to hear NightFlight "spin" this one. What is the "response" you guys in the marketing department at Hyundai have crafted?
        NightFlight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @features
        No spin, but keep on proving that you are aaronm_mt. Keep on spouting off that same line....
        Dean Hammond
        • 1 Year Ago
        @features
        ..........This is why we back our products with the best Warranty in America" ?......
      2011 Sportsman
      • 1 Year Ago
      My girlfiiend's sister bought a 03 4 banger Tiburon and it's been nothing but a pile of trash since she owned it... Once a month there is a new issue, right now the airbag light is on along with the check engine light for an evap system problem I can't seem to get rid of after changing a few things I thought might... Terrible car overall, sounds like it's going to fall apart over ever bump. Rather drive a bicycle
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