2020 JD Power IQS chart by JD Power
John Goreham's picture

Tesla Ranks Lowest In Updated Initial Quality Study - Dodge and Kia Tie For First Place

Oh, the Tesla fans are gonna go cuckoo.

J.D. Power has released the results of its latest Initial Quality Study (IQS) and Tesla fans are about to light up the comments and chat rooms. Mainstream affordable Dodge has surged to first place among brands and the luxury-priced Tesla brand is ranked dead last.

The J.D. Power Initial Quality Study is now in its 34th year. The study data is populated by owner surveys and looks at problems experienced by owners of new vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership. This latest study is for model year 2020 vehicles. Initial quality is determined by the number of problems experienced (reported by owners) per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality. Dodge earned a score of 136. Tesla scored dead last at 250.

“The Initial Quality Study is the industry benchmark for new-vehicle quality and, year after year, automakers apply the insights they learn from consumers to make positive changes,” said Dave Sargent, vice president of automotive quality at J.D. Power. “The higher problem levels we see in this year’s study don’t mean vehicle quality has worsened; rather, the redesigned study asks additional questions that allow owners to cite more of the problems that they are experiencing.”

This is the first time enough owner data were available for Tesla to be added to the study. J.D. Power says that Tesla is not officially ranked among other brands in the study as it doesn’t meet ranking criteria. “Unlike other manufacturers, Tesla doesn’t grant us permission to survey its owners in 15 states where it is required,” said Doug Betts, president of the automotive division at J.D. Power. “However, we were able to collect a large enough sample of surveys from owners in the other 35 states and, from that base, we calculated Tesla’s score.”

So, like with IIHS testing and media testing of fleet vehicles, Tesla opts not to participate in industry-standard evaluations. Yet, J.D. Power did its best to include the manufacturer.

Dodge tied Kia for the top spot among 31 competitors. This makes Dodge the first "domestic"* brand ever to achieve a No. 1 ranking in the prestigious study’s 34-year run. FCA's performance brand leaped seven places from last year’s IQS results.

“These results reflect the relentless, whatever-it-takes attitude of our team,” said Mark Champine, Head of Quality, FCA – North America. “Our complete focus is the customer and these outcomes reinforce that we are on-target. The team is going to be inspired and motivated and will continue to push forward.”

Kia is a perennial IQS winner. This is the sixth year in a row that Kia is the highest-ranked mass market brand. Genesis is the highest-ranked premium brand for the fourth consecutive year of the study.

John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career to chase his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin

*Dodge is owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) headquartered in Amsterdam. Dodge vehicles are built in Canada (Charger, Caravan, and Challenger), Mexico (Journey), and the United States (Durango).

Top of page hart courtesy of J.D. Power media support.

Subscribe to Torque News on YouTube.

Follow Torque News on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.


Stats on top cars after 90 days?
Yes. J.D. Power does long-term reliability studies and others as well. Start at their link in the story above. Consumer Reports is also a great resource for that data.