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Survey results explained by Betts

by David Zatz on
Recently, numerous media outlets reported on Consumers Reports‘ quality survey results.  Doug Betts, Chrysler Chief Customer Officer, noted in an e-mail to employees and contractors that this survey did not contain any new survey data, despite its recent release. He pointed out that the survey is reported in the fall issue, but is reprinted in the April 2009 issue, which is currently out.  
Betts wrote: “Unfortunately, what is now appearing is just a repeat of that same harsh news. The cars that were surveyed in the spring of 2008 were built in the fall of 2007, shortly after the transition from Daimler to Cerberus ownership. As you know, since that time, we have driven our warranty claim rates down 30 percent. Based on our internal metrics, we are currently operating with reliability that is better than it has ever been in company history.”

He believes, based on correlations of warranty rates to survey ranks, that Chrysler has moved “40% compared with industry average” for the last 12 months of production. However, Consumer Reports measurements are based on three years of reliability data for each model, so it will take a considerable amount of time for changes implemented after the Cerberus takeover to appear in full.

Betts also noted that the road tests were identical for all vehicles except the Ram, Compass, and Patriot. Ram moved from a score of 48 to 72 out of 100, and Compass and Patriot moved up somewhat and might be recommended once quality improvements are seen in the survey.

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