The Kia Optima is the Korean brand's biggest US seller (Photo: Kia)

J.D. Power's Initial Quality Study found that new vehicles are constructed better than ever, but problems abound in infotainment and other relatively new automotive technologies that are crucial to the auto industry's transformation.

The study, which measures the number of problems US new-car buyers experience during the first 90 days of ownership, concluded that new-vehicle quality was 8 pc higher than the year before, with quality improving in seven of the eight categories measured.

The category that showed more problems was features, controls and displays, with the the largest increases registered for cruise control, lane departure warning, collision avoidance and blind spot warning.

J.D. Power said issues with these advanced driver-assistance technologies  should be taken as a "warning bell" for automakers working on autonomous vehicles. "Consumers will need to be convinced that these systems are foolproof before they will give up driving control to autonomous vehicles," the market researchers said in a press release.

Kia ranked highest in overall initial quality, followed by Hyundai's new Genesis brand, Porsche, Ford and Dodge's Ram.

The parent company that received the most model-level awards was Hyundai, followed by General Motors and BMW.

"The industry has improved significantly in each of the past three years," J.D. Power's vice president, global automotive, Dave Sargent, said in a statement. "Today's vehicles have more things that could go wrong but fewer things that actually do go wrong."