At Allpar, we traditionally do an end-of-year reader survey; for 2014, we once again used Google Insights to present surveys randomly to readers, asking just five questions.
We expected this answer: the Hellcats easily took #1, and Chrysler 200 took a distant #2. Rated significance had nothing to do with sales: the new Challenger’s V6/eight-speed combination should outrace the old version by nearly two seconds, 0-60, with better mileage, and will probably be the best selling Challenger. Charger barely outranked Renegade though it should outsell the little Italian-made Jeep by around 4:1.
Among women, the difference was more extreme: Hellcat took 56% of the vote, 200 took 33%, and Renegade, 11%. However, the small number of women meant that the differences were not statistically significant.
Older respondents were more likely to rate the 200 as more important, with the oldest age group ranking it far above the Hellcats. In one regard, they are right — while Hellcats are a reputation builder among younger buyers, it’s 200s that will end up in garages and make or break the company as a mainstream automaker in the long run, especially with a weaker Camry and Accord.
With fewer votes for the diesels than we’d expect, the Hellcat again easily took first place. The other Hemis were a close second, and the Pentastar V6 came in close behind, in a statistical dead heat. The VM easily beat the Cummins, which is somewhat surprising.
With last year’s results in mind, we kept the question of “Who should run Chrysler when Sergio leaves?” to just the top candidates.
Once again, the charismatic Ralph Gilles easily won, beating all combined “other” candidates; the most visible leader at Chrysler other than Sergio Marchionne himself, the most-seen-in-person, and the most Twitter-friendly Chrysler employee, Mr. Gilles is noted for his enthusiasm, though he was taken off the top job at Dodge.
Coming in at #2 was Reid Bigland, who rose through Chrysler Canada and now heads the Dodge brand as well.
Doug Betts came in next, and then the most likely candidate, Alfredo Altavilla.
We had two open-ended questions, both asking for the best of the year — one from Allpar, one from Chrysler.
Last year, we used very general categories, and news dominated by a massive margin. Until recently, Allpar was much more clearly focused on the past; as the news has come into prominence, other parts of the site have lost viewership. This year, news — including “secrets” — was still dominating, with 31% of the comments.
The news category is self-explanatory. Car information includes any mentions of specific cars, reviews, “historical stuff,” and such. Surviving is essentially keeping on, “staying online and free,” and “kept up the good work.” Secrets includes spy shots, insider information, and predictions. Changes mainly mentioned the new forum software.
The other category included anything that was not easily categorized, some of which might be interpreted as being in the other categories — keeping LH issues alive, posting Diran Yazejian’s drawings, providing honest auto information, summarizing the five year plan, diversity, forums, growing, updates, “keeping me informed,” and such.
If we look at more specifics, we see that news as a catch-all category falls to 40% of answers, and “content-miscellaneous” can be broken down into history, reviews, coverage of specific cars or components, and, well, miscellaneous content. There was also a category of “keeping things up to date or correct.”
Moving on to Chrysler’s best moves for 2014,
we see a continuing trend—Hellcat took the #1 spot, followed by Chrysler 200. The large cars and VM diesel came next with half the votes of the 200 (the Cummins was not mentioned, but it hasn’t been changed for 2014). Next came the Ram 1500 diesel, specifically; then increasing quality and sales.
Not making the chart but getting around 3% of the vote each were Jeep Cherokee, general car improvements, performance, and surviving. There were numerous other comments in the “other” category, accounting for 28% of the comments (Hellcat was 23%, Chrysler 200 was 20%, large cars and VM diesel each 10%, and then down to 6% for Ram 1500 diesel, and 5% each for increasing quality and sales.)
The supercharged Hellcat V8 has certainly brought Chrysler a great deal of good press; the 707 horsepower rating easily trumps anything sold by Ford (via Shelby) or General Motors, and is still eminently driveable, designed to be brought to the track and raced hard, and then driven home as gently or as aggressively as desired.
The Jeep Cherokee is somewhat old news now, but was the first Chrysler car with a nine-speed, and has been, worldwide, a greater sales success than the North America-limited 200. Indeed, while many Allpar followers considered the 200 to be the best thing Chrysler did during 2014, the public has been fairly cool to the new car, while Cherokee has taken off. Then again, if we measured everything by sales, the Hellcat would not appear on the chart.
There you have it. If you took the survey — thank you. If you didn’t — next year is just 12 months away.
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