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Chrysler IQS lapses (updated)

by David Zatz on

Chrysler did poorly on the most recent J.D. Power initial quality survey (IQS), which covers just the first 90 days of ownership. Some of the gap may have been due to the large number of new or heavily revised models, and the numbers do not correspond well to those of TrueDelta‘s latest report. They appear to indicate a greater need for internal testing at Chrysler before cars are delivered to dealers.

The term “problems” does not, in this survey, indicate a repair or quality flaw. “Problem” could mean an unsatisfactory stereo (which would explain Fiat’s results), an overly firm ride, lower than expected gas mileage, or a myriad of other issues, which is one reason why Ford claimed they would do far better except for software issues in their entertainment system.

Chrysler brand actually had six more problems per vehicle than last year, with 116 per 100 cars. Ram, Jeep, and Dodge all dropped, but remain below average: Ram had 16 fewer problems per 100 cars (to 99), Jeep had 12 fewer (to 110), and Dodge had 13 fewer (to 124). The industry average was 102; Ram was the only Chrysler brand to fall on the good side of the average.

Fiat, surprisingly, tied with smart for the bottom of the list, looking at Fiats made in the first year, with 151 problems per 100 vehicles. Mini helped tie down the bottom end, with 139 problems — a large step from the next worst, Volkswagen and Mitsubishi, which each had 124 (along with Dodge).

Chrysler did not get any model level awards. Toyota/Lexus received five, and GM and Nissan/Infiniti received four each.

Ford announced its excuse before the survey came out, namely that their software fixes were too late to be part of the survey results; they said a “dramatic improvement” would come in next year’s survey. Based on TrueDelta’s research, Fiat should have a dramatic improvement over its first year’s results. Data for the rest of Chrysler is still coming in, but Chrysler execs may take some solace that the much-hyped Ford brand fell below Chrysler, Jeep, and Ram. Hyundai and Kia, which have been getting better reputations for quality, and Audi also fell below average.

Luxury car providers tended to dominate the top spots, possibly because luxury brands tend to have more intense inspections of each car at both the factory and dealer level: Lexus topped the ratings (73), followed by Jaguar, Porsche, and Cadillac. Toyota came in at #8, one step above Mercedes and BMW.

The 2012 U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than 74,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2012 model-year cars, trucks and multi-activity vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study is based on a 228-question battery designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate identification of problems and drive product improvement. The study was fielded between February and May 2012.

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