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Jeep, Chrysler “most improved” in quality

by Bill Cawthon on

Chrysler and Jeep were rated “most improved” in the 2016 J.D. Power & Associates Initial Quality Survey.

Jeep had the largest jump, up nearly 20% with 28 fewer problems. That propelled the best-selling SUV brand from 29th to 18th in the rankings and put it at the top of the FCA brands.


Chrysler also shed 28 problems, good for another 20% gain, and advanced from 31st to 20th.

Ram, the only FCA brand to beat the industry average last year, picked up 4 more problems, a 4% fall, but the tight race in 2016 dropped Ram from 13th to 19th.

Dodge also slipped, adding a problem and a loss of 1%. Dodge fell from 18th to 22nd in the rankings.

Fiat moved up a spot, going from dead last in 2015 to next-to-dead-last this year, as buyers of the smart ForTwo reported 62 more problems, up more than 40% and good for a trip to the cellar, if not the woodshed. Fiat had an increase in problems as well.

The Dodge Challenger three-peated as the top-ranked mid-size sporty car and the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan were the top minivans.

All Chrysler brands finished ahead of Honda, which dropped ten spots in the rankings. They also beat Subaru, Acura, Mazda, MINI and Land Rover, and easily passed Jaguar, which was No. 3 in 2015 but dropped 24 spots.

Rival brands from Ford and General Motors outscored the FCA brands. Chevrolet was the top-ranked U.S. brand; Cadillac came in one spot ahead of Jeep. The other GM brands, along with Ford and Lincoln, were between Chevy and Cadillac.

Kia became the first non-premium brand to top the survey in 27 years, beating Porsche which had one more problem.

Industry-wide, Power noted that quality had increased 6% compared to 2015, the largest year-over-year improvement since 2009.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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