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Discussion Starter #1
While I won't spoil the episode and how they felt about it (it should be on BBC America shortly), I do have to ask what in the world is going on with Chrysler's marketing and QC people? The Viper they lent TG had absolutely atrocious panel gaps. I mean they were bad enough that a child could probably get their fingers between the spoiler/decklid and the rear quarter panel. Yeah, I understand it was a pre-production vehicle, but if you're going to lend a vehicle to one of the most watched television shows in the world - you should probably make sure that car is perfect. I would be embarrassed if I were Ralph Gilles and Chrysler.

Here's a clip - which is fair use.
 

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Yeah, the gap struck me. I though all gaps should be within 1mm..
 

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Ralph Gilles actually addressed the gap issue on Twitter. This was a preproduction model and supposedly gaps have been corrected in production pieces but I have to agree Chrysler should have known better
 

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Mopar-nac The Moderator
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Should be on BBC America this coming Monday.
 

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had absolutely atrocious panel gaps. I mean they were bad enough that a child could probably get their fingers between the spoiler/decklid and the rear quarter panel.


Sometimes I'm really surprised for a car forum at the ignorance here. The engineers noticed there would be TOO MUCH downforce at the rear of the car the way the spoiler was designed. That gap is there to let air and downforce escape by .026 JFU to an acceptable level.

:p
 

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Mopar-nac The Moderator
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The car could have had perfect panel gaps and Top Gear would have still found something wrong with it.

The show is full of satire. I would expect nothing less.

Mike
 

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Again - was noted time and again - it's a pre-production car. Not like Chrysler was the only automaker to every provide them with a pre-production car either.
 

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Mopar-nac The Moderator
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Stratuscaster said:
Again - was noted time and again - it's a pre-production car. Not like Chrysler was the only automaker to every provide them with a pre-production car either.
Exactly. And for that matter the production was shot in late October/Early November so that would possible mean the car could be a very early car too. Hardly anything to be concerned with.

Satire is expected with this show.

Mike
 
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Ok I'll go along with it being preproduction, but why in the world with Chrysler's past reputation for quality would you not let them test one that was perfect? Would Honda or Yoda do that? Nooo. As far the spoiler gap, does anyone have proof of the downforce issue?
 

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Trailduster45 said:
Ok I'll go along with it being preproduction, but why in the world with Chrysler's past reputation for quality would you not let them test one that was perfect? Would Honda or Yoda do that? Nooo. As far the spoiler gap, does anyone have proof of the downforce issue?
Because the car was never intended to be sold to the general public. Production cars won't look like that.

Guys, it's a satire based show, they would have simply found something else to poke fun at. We should wait and see what they actually say on the show before I getting our panties in a bunch.

Mountain out of a mile hill.

Mike
 

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If the Top Gear car were the only review to mention these issues, I would agree Mike. However, it seems that the other high profile reviews, like the MotorTrend Viper vs ZR1, have also reported quality issues with the excuse from SRT being "its preproduction car". I can't help but think Ralph is going to have an uncomfortable discussion with Sergio about these preproduction Vipers going out to the media. Since Sergio keeps new product reveals so close to the chest to make sure they are perfect, it seems to me he can't be happy with the negative comments stemming from Chryslers halo vehicle that may not have been ready for some (unfair) scrutiny. You only have one chance for a first impression.

Question: What would have been the ramifications if SRT had waited for a production vehicle to give to the press? Is there a press schedule that they had to meet or risk losing..... what?
 

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I don't recall them mocking gaps on BMW, Mercedes, Porches, Ferrari or Aston Martin. Don't give Clarkson a softball to mock Chryzler with is all people are saying. Factory "Ringers" used to provide test cars, perhaps a "quality" ringer should have been hired.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It doesn't matter if it was a pre-production car. Yes, TopGear is satire, but instead of poking at actual real build quality issues - like those canyon sized panel gaps, they would have targeted something much less meaningful. This was a car they knew was going to a show with a global audience of 350 Million People. It should have been perfect - even if it meant manually realigning panels. Are TopGear's viewers going to know or care that it was pre-production? Are they going to know the issue was fixed with the real cars? No.

TopGear once tested a ZR1 Corvette and they noted how easily the rear fascia panel would flex if you pushed on it. It was only a three second scene in an hour long special. Do you know how many people I've seen mention that scene, and from that they infer that the build quality of the ZR1 as a whole must be poor? This is a show with a lot of push in the automotive community.

I'm just getting sick of Chrysler/Jeep/SRT/Dodge's constant response of "It's pre-production, It'll be fixed with the real cars". If you send a car that you know has problems to be reviewed - those problems are going to be mentioned in the review. You can't rebuild an image of quality if you constantly send out cars with quality issues to be reviewed!
 

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Mopar-nac The Moderator
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John Rogers said:
I don't recall them mocking gaps on BMW, Mercedes, Porches, Ferrari or Aston Martin. Don't give Clarkson a softball to mock Chryzler with is all people are saying. Factory "Ringers" used to provide test cars, perhaps a "quality" ringer should have been hired.
He mocks every manufacturer in one way or another.
 

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GasAxe said:
If the Top Gear car were the only review to mention these issues, I would agree Mike. However, it seems that the other high profile reviews, like the MotorTrend Viper vs ZR1, have also reported quality issues with the excuse from SRT being "its preproduction car". I can't help but think Ralph is going to have an uncomfortable discussion with Sergio about these preproduction Vipers going out to the media. Since Sergio keeps new product reveals so close to the chest to make sure they are perfect, it seems to me he can't be happy with the negative comments stemming from Chryslers halo vehicle that may not have been ready for some (unfair) scrutiny. You only have one chance for a first impression.

Question: What would have been the ramifications if SRT had waited for a production vehicle to give to the press? Is there a press schedule that they had to meet or risk losing..... what?
I just read the entire ZR1 vs Viper article and that is not a correct statement at all. Motor Trend did not complain about quality. The simply said the seats were too hard (subjective and updates by SRT) and the controls for the seats were hard to get too. They said the current ZR1 had a worse interior than the Viper, but had more comfortable seats.

Nearly all cars tested by magazines are preproduction vehicles. It's what the magazine chooses to tell you.

I can't answer the additional question.

AutoTechnician said:
It doesn't matter if it was a pre-production car. Yes, TopGear is satire, but instead of poking at actual real build quality issues - like those canyon sized panel gaps, they would have targeted something much less meaningful. This was a car they knew was going to a show with a global audience of 350 Million People. It should have been perfect - even if it meant manually realigning panels. Are TopGear's viewers going to know or care that it was pre-production? Are they going to know the issue was fixed with the real cars? No.

TopGear once tested a ZR1 Corvette and they noted how easily the rear fascia panel would flex if you pushed on it. It was only a three second scene in an hour long special. Do you know how many people I've seen mention that scene, and from that they infer that the build quality of the ZR1 as a whole must be poor? This is a show with a lot of push in the automotive community.

I'm just getting sick of Chrysler/Jeep/SRT/Dodge's constant response of "It's pre-production, It'll be fixed with the real cars". If you send a car that you know has problems to be reviewed - those problems are going to be mentioned in the review. You can't rebuild an image of quality if you constantly send out cars with quality issues to be reviewed!
What you call "canyon sized" I may call hair sized. I have not seen the actual clip and it won't be aired in the US until next week.

Again, they pick on every car they test. They find anything they can to complain about and have even been caught straight up lying about it too (case in point Tesla).

They love to poke fun at American cars in general. It it's not one thing it's another.

Considering they sold every ZR1 built, I doubt Top Gear affected sales in any way. Again, they will FIND anything to complain about, especially in American cars.

Mike
 

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Mike V. said:
He mocks every manufacturer in one way or another.
There is a difference between mocking a manufacturer for snobbery and mocking one with a poor quality reputation for shoddy quality control.
 

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AutoTechnician said:
It doesn't matter if it was a pre-production car. Yes, TopGear is satire, but instead of poking at actual real build quality issues - like those canyon sized panel gaps, they would have targeted something much less meaningful. This was a car they knew was going to a show with a global audience of 350 Million People. It should have been perfect - even if it meant manually realigning panels. Are TopGear's viewers going to know or care that it was pre-production? Are they going to know the issue was fixed with the real cars? No.

TopGear once tested a ZR1 Corvette and they noted how easily the rear fascia panel would flex if you pushed on it. It was only a three second scene in an hour long special. Do you know how many people I've seen mention that scene, and from that they infer that the build quality of the ZR1 as a whole must be poor? This is a show with a lot of push in the automotive community.

I'm just getting sick of Chrysler/Jeep/SRT/Dodge's constant response of "It's pre-production, It'll be fixed with the real cars". If you send a car that you know has problems to be reviewed - those problems are going to be mentioned in the review. You can't rebuild an image of quality if you constantly send out cars with quality issues to be reviewed!
Thank you, you saved me alot of typing and said it better than I could have!

Remember everyone, perception rules reality. If it is PERCIEVED as inferior, it WILL be inferior to the consumer, regardless of the facts. THIS is the battle that Chrysler is fighting right now, and things like the Superbowl commercials go a long ways to fixing that bad reputation. BUT, this issue with the pre-production Vipers is doing as much damage to the brand image as the Super Bowl ads are doing to heal it.

2 steps forward, one step back...

Edit to add: Just remember WHO started the Sebring bashing..... THAT is the power that Top Gear has.

Danno
 

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Mopar-nac The Moderator
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John Rogers said:
There is a difference between mocking a manufacturer for snobbery and mocking one with a poor quality reputation for shoddy quality control.
I watched an episode from 2004 where they tested a BMW six series. They made fun of the style, they made fun of the materials and they made fun of the car in general. Hell they called it a boring car.

In the same episode they made fun of a Jaguar XKR on how the interior materials are updated to modern style materials but it is all still ugly and cluttered looking and same basic shape.

They do this to EVERY car company.

Mike
 

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I've seen a lot of Top Gear; Richard they always make fun of as being "American" for enjoying muscle cars (he owns some) and the Viper. He ended up loosing in the end because of "sabotage" by Clarkson and James when they were at a hotel. I'm not sure how much he lost by, but with a delay of like 10 minutes, it probably still wasn't much.

I think other than the usual ribbing that everyone should be aware of, they really didn't go over the top to insult it like some previous Chryslers. You have to remember that supposedly Chrysler was pissed and didn't supply them an SRT8 Challenger when in the states, so they had to buy one. Whether or not that is true... i dunno, but even the scripted "bash everything and break everything" Clarkson made good comments and bad comments about the SRT8 300 back when. The power was good, but it "didn't do as well" according to the show compared to some exotics on the beach track or whatever. Being nuts for speed though, I think they really envy the average US driver that could buy a 300+ hp car and beyond without real issue. V8's (For now) are also fair game, and much easier to own and use than around in Britain who I'm sure by and large think we are nuts for having overpowered cars. I think Clarkson himself owns a Fiat Panda amongst other things, and even the brash of the presenters needs a normal daily driver.
 
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