View Full Version : Fiat replaces Quality Chief

10-28-2014, 10:48 PM
Doug Betts, Fiat Chrysler's longtime quality chief, abruptly left the company Tuesday, one day after its brands performed poorly in Consumer Reports magazine's annual reliability rankings.


Heads are rolling. With the 500L at the bottom of the Consumer Reports quality survey, something had to give.

Fiat Chrysler last in quality survey: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/27/us-usa-autos-consumerreports-idUSKBN0IG1VM20141027

Too many problems with the DDCT I'd reckon, along with the cold starting issue, and now the air bag thing. Not that other vehicles aren't affected by the current numerous air bag recalls, but there's only so much an individual survey participant can handle.

I'd read some of the comments on one article, where many people say they still want a 500, or have had no problem with their Fiats, no problems with their 500L.

Also mentioned in the problems for vehicles overall are the infotainment systems. I wouldn't be surprised if this was part of the problem for the Fiat 500L. Who remembers the mass confusion whether or not a vehicle had the Sirius system? That was a big mess. And no CD player except on the 500L Pop.

All of those things will add up to dissatisfaction. The system may be working properly, but people thought it had one thing or another, and it didn't. It did not help at all that the vehicles all showed Sirius initially on the read out.

Those are quality control issues, someone dropped the ball, and as a result it has sullied the reputation of all the vehicles, the brand itself suffers. And it annoys me. Really. My Fiat has been great. No problems. But the entire world doesn't read my experiences with my car. The world will read the Consumer Reports magazine, the results of the survey, and think that my car brand is a crappy car brand, because it's at the bottom of the list.

This will affect everyone's resale value. Even if their car has never had a single problem, the perception will be that it's not a quality vehicle. :Mad:

Anyone else want to vent their frustration?

10-28-2014, 11:09 PM
Well I'm over it, everybody has already thought Fiats are unreliable for years and My resale value already sucks as a result of this. I think Fiat really blew a chance to come back to the US & CA with clean slate. Truly a shame that most of the vehicles at the bottom of the list are FCA cars and trucks. Hopefully they can turn it all around and I'm not just talking about their QA issues. I must say my car has some very small issues, but I just haven't had the time to bring it to the dealer.

10-28-2014, 11:10 PM
Anyone else want to vent their frustration?

Don't care about the resale value. I researched the features I needed before I made the purchase decision and bought my Abarth for the long haul. I am very satisfied with it's performance and quality and have no regrets about the vehicle or the price I paid.

10-28-2014, 11:33 PM
I plan on keeping my Abarth until I can afford an M4....so a very long time :) resale value is not in my list of worries.

I write what I am about to with the full understanding that the general public does NOT do this, which is why it is so damaging. But I am not a fan of CR, JD, or any of those. They have a limited survey number as opposed to going to the manufacturer like they should. The second issue the article touches on, how the cars are judged. An engine failure is ranked the same way a premature burned out light bulb is. A transmission failure might cost a lot more than say, a rattle when you put the windows up and down. But they are worth the same amount of point deduction!

You would think they ask Mr Jones when his last oil change was before his engine had problems. They should be interested to know that in his year and 15K miles of ownership he ignored the post cards his studio sent him reminding him he was due for an oil change, but no. Just that he had a problem.

Are our cars more prone to small problems right now? Probably. Can they be killed easier than some other makes if they are abused and have basic maintenance neglected? Maybe. But anyone who has any amount of automotive knowledge knows the best source to find out anything about cars come from the owners on message boards like this one. Every car make and model has issues and lemons. Our little Fiats seem to be holding their own compared to some of the other big brands, and in my few months and 2.5K miles of ownership I did have an issue right away. And I can safely say my experience with MY fiat studio (YMMV of course) and the communication with Fiat has been outstanding.

We all took a chance buying into the new brand. Lets stay positive that they will get things worked out.

Oh, and does the author or the article realize that Fiat bought Chrysler, not the other way around?

10-29-2014, 08:43 AM
Finally found a place that spells out a few of the issues:

Here's what Anita Lam, CR's auto data manager, cited as being the reasons that the worst were indeed the worst:

• Fiat 500L: The boxy Italian design has a balky infotainment system, using a version of Chrysler Group's UConnect, and transmission issues.

• Ford Fiesta: Owners responding to Consumer Reports' survey didn't like its automatic transmission.

• Mercedes Benz CLA: A raft of problems, including squeaks and rattles; engine issues, bad audio and electrical problems.

• Jeep Cherokee, with the four-cylinder engine: The nine-speed transmission was an issue and the four-cylinder version had twice as many complaints as the V-6.

• Jeep Grand Cherokee, with the diesel engine: Owners reported that the new engine gave them fits when it came to the fuel system.

• Nissan Pathfinder: The new one has a new CVT and owners didn't like it.

From: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/10/28/consumer-reports-auto-reliability/18040393/

By the way, I LOVE my Fiat. I have a regular 500 with a six-speed automatic. I've had no problems. I love so many things about this car. The ease of entry/exit. The smooth as butter transmission in non-Sport mode. The visibility. The radio and CD work great, including the SiriusXM reception.

I know it's all the rage to do these infotainment systems, but are they really necessary? I like the old-fashioned CD player and radio. Those work just fine for me. Then again, I'm a dinosaur when it comes to technology, and still don't know how to use an iPod.

10-29-2014, 10:02 AM
The various, well-known auto quality surveys are debatable, which is not exactly headline news. There is also the factor of repeat owners who are very loyal to brand and have various expectations of their cars. My classic example is Porsche owners. Those people will defend those cars ruthlessly even when the empirical evidence is completely against them. On the other hand, Honda owners will throw a fit if the grain of the dashboard doesn't match the door panels perfectly. Subaru owners always seem to be happy with their cars.

I personally don't care about resale if I bought well on the front end (I think I got a good deal) since I tend to keep cars for quite awhile if they are serving me reasonably well. Also, FCA seems very eager to make sure I like my car and I applaud them for that.

11-03-2014, 05:39 PM
Another point I would consider is that resale value cannot be solely linked to "quality surveys." Much of resale value is built on brand recognition in a particular market, and Fiat has had a very long absence from the US and Canada.

Our 500L has not been a particularly unreliable car (crap battery and hot-spotting front brakes, both of which easily point to very particular parts), but there are some quirks that require some getting used to. Whoever said the uConnect system is balky is an absolute outlier to every other journalist who has praised it. Most reviewers have considered uConnect best in class for it ease of use.

Michael T
11-03-2014, 06:39 PM
This is no surprise to me. My Abarth is far away from what I would expect a car with a 27.5k MSRP. At 5K miles the driverside window rattles and my rear suspension has a creaking noise. However, I didn't expect a quality product when I bought the car, I just wanted something really fun and small. Has Chrysler ever produced a quality product? lol.

11-05-2014, 04:35 PM
Honestly after reading the report it seems biased to me. Especially the comment about the uConnect infotainment system being balky. Every customer that's purchased a car with the uConnect raves about how easy it is to use and navigate the features of the system compared to others.

And Chrysler HAS created some quality vehicles over the years. But like someone said, I feel like a lot of the CR surveys become biased when the consumer is loyal to one brand regardless of performance or facts.

11-05-2014, 06:45 PM
Honestly after reading the report it seems biased to me. Especially the comment about the uConnect infotainment system being balky. Every customer that's purchased a car with the uConnect raves about how easy it is to use and navigate the features of the system compared to others.

And Chrysler HAS created some quality vehicles over the years. But like someone said, I feel like a lot of the CR surveys become biased when the consumer is loyal to one brand regardless of performance or facts.

This Consumer Reports report isn't really a report from their standpoint of being non-biased (supposedly), it from owners. And most of the articles I read don't go into the specifics. Just a few specifics were mentioned in the blurb I posted, and have personal likes and dislikes. Those are not facts, those are opinions.

I could rave about my darling Verde Chiaro by saying it's the best car ever made in the history of mankind. And this may be true, from my personal standpoint at this moment. But it doesn't mean everyone will love it, or that it's the right car for all other people. And it doesn't say anything about what the car is or does for me.

I like details. I want to know WHAT people found problematic about the UConnect. If the issues aren't detailed, the manufacturer has no way of knowing what to improve. Duh.