When J.D. Power released the results of its 2017 U.S. Initial Quality Study in June, the best performing brand was South Korea’s Hyundai/Kia, the winner for a second year in a row. Based on J.D. Power’s scoring system, the Kia brand experienced 72 problems per 100 vehicles within the first 90 days of ownership.
Why then are Kia’s U.S. sales falling? When the company reported June sales on Monday, total sales for June fell about 10.3% to 56,143 units and year-to-date sales dropped to 295,736 units, down 9.9% year over year.
Globally, sales posted a record 232,370 units sold in June, but there were some soft spots. Domestic sales fell 10.5% year over year and overseas sales dropped 14% included a continued decline in China.
In the United States, Kia’s best-selling model in June was the Forte, also the best compact car for initial quality in the J.D. Power survey. Of the company’s top-selling cars, only the Forte has sold more units through the first half of 2017 than were sold in the first half of 2016.
In addition to the Forte, four other Kia models ranked at the top of their categories: the Cadenza, the new Niro, the Sorento, and the Soul. Only the new-this-year subcompact Niro crossover has added to the company’s sales total, however. Kia sold just 502 Cadenzas in June (more than double sales in June 2016). Sales of Sorento dropped from 12,118 last year to 9,751 this year and the Soul sold just 9,493 in June compared with 12,229 a year ago.