• Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Image Credit: Kia
The rapid rise of Korea's auto brands in the US market has been apparent on the sales charts for several years, and now it's showing up in an area that's just as crucial: quality.

Kia and Hyundai earned the highest rankings among mainstream brands in the J. D. Power Initial Quality Study released on Wednesday. The study tracks problems owners report during the first 90 days they own their car. Kia reported 86 problems per 100 vehicles, or fewer than one problem per car sold, to take second in the rankings behind luxury sportscar-maker Porsche (80). Kia's score improved by nearly 20 percent compared with the 2014 study.

"The big industry story is Kia," Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive quality at J.D. Power, said in a video statement, noting Kia's infotainment systems were the key reason for its improved performance.

Hyundai was fourth for the second straight year, though its score actually worsened by one, to 95. Even with Hyundai's slight dip, Korean quality increased 11 percent, according to the study, which far outpaced American and European companies' three-percent increases. Japanese brands improved one percent. Hyundai Motor Co. (parent company of the Hyundai and Kia brands) captured four individual vehicle awards, which tied for the most with General Motors, Nissan, and Volkswagen.

"The Korean brands have really taken off," Stephens said. "There's movement in the industry, and the patterns are shifting."

Another luxury brand, Jaguar (93 problems), slotted in between Hyundai and Kia in third place. Infiniti was fifth, followed by BMW. Chevrolet was the highest domestic brand, taking seventh place, followed by Lincoln, Lexus, and Toyota, which were all well above the industry average of 112 problems per 100 vehicles.

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