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Old 05-06-2009, 08:41 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Chrysler and Fiat reliability – Merger of equals?




Quote:
As Chrysler goes through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, the troubled U.S. automaker is working on recreating itself through a partnership with Fiat. (Read: “Chrysler enters bankruptcy, merges with Fiat.”) There is much synergy promised from this relationship, such as shared technology and manufacturing capacity, though there are many unknowns—including quality and reliability.

Chrysler reliability

Chrysler Corp. brands rated poorly in the Consumer Reports 2008 Car Reliability Survey, based on our subscribers' experiences with 1.4 million vehicles. Respondents reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles in 17 trouble spots during the previous 12 months, which allows us to provide predicted-reliability Ratings for new cars.

Among the 34 brands ranked for 2009, Jeep is 28th, Dodge 30th, and Chrysler 32nd. (Land Rover takes the bottom spot by a significant margin.)

Clearly, reliability is a challenge for Chrysler. In fact, it is a key factor in why Consumer Reports does not recommend a single vehicle from its three brands, along with often-mediocre test scores. (Read "Detroit report cards.") That said, Chrysler has stated that it is making a concerted effort to improve its vehicle quality and its internal auditing shows marked gains. If these changes are successful it will be reflected in our survey findings, but will take several years to assess its effectiveness and allow vehicle recommendations. We hope the promised improvements come to fruition, for both consumers’ benefit and company health.

Now, the real question is, how will working with Fiat affect quality?

Fiat reliability

For those Americans who recall when Fiat cars were sold here, the brand made a less-than-stellar impression. Looking back at Consumer Reports reliability ratings from the late 1970s, Fiat models typically had more dreaded solid black blobs than most car shoppers would prefer. In particular, the Fiat 128 and 131 received a worse overall reliability rating for several years. Back then, Fiat was sometimes referred to as “Fix It Again, Tony.”

A lot can happen in 30 years, but don’t get your hopes up.
For insights, I turned to the 2008 Brand Reliability Index from Which? Car. The annual Which? Car survey is the largest survey of its kind in the U.K., and it is conducted by a publication that, like Consumer Reports, does not accept advertising and delivers the straight facts from its findings. Its methods differ from Consumer Reports’, and cars can be different from the ones sold here. Still, the results are nonetheless illuminating.

For its reliability study, Which? Car looks at models up to eight years old, thereby often reporting on years of experience with a given vehicle. Their survey tallies serious breakdowns, unscheduled repairs, and minor problems.
When the brands are ranked, Which? Car finds Honda and Toyota at the top of the 2008 reliability list, followed closely by Daihatsu, Lexus, Mazda, and Subaru. This largely mirrors the latest CR predicted reliability ranking, though there Scion was at the top and Mazda placed 12th with CR due to a different model line-up. (CR online subscribers, see how brands compare.)

Among the 38 brands featured in Which? Car, Fiat ranked 35th, followed by Renault, Land Rover, and Chrysler/Dodge. Jeep is the highest-rated brand from Chrysler, with its 29th place just barely keeping it in the “Poor” category. Fiat, Chrysler, and Dodge are categorized as “Very poor.” In total, Fiat, Chrysler, and Dodge provide similar reliability, and it isn’t good.

There is risk in assessing how a brand performs in one part of the world, versus another, given product line variance, equipment differences, and usage patterns. Point of assembly could also be a factor. That said, the results from the Which? Car survey are illuminating.

Bottom line
When Daimler-Benz bought Chrysler in 1997, it was billed as “merger of equals.” The Chrysler and Fiat deal seems to fit that description better. By the limited indication we have, it looks like reliability may be a challenge. Even in the best of times, it would be difficult for these newly joined companies. Further challenges include factory closings, assembly line changes, and corporate language and cultural differences. We will know for sure only when the products from the new, joint company hit the streets, and our subscribers report on their experience.
http://blogs.consumerreports.org/car...of-equals.html
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:43 AM   #2
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So a Fiat will depreciate like a 57s



2006 Maybach 57S. Sticker when new: $385K. Current mileage: 36k. Current price: $169,900 or . . . less.

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Old 05-06-2009, 08:54 AM   #3
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That is pretty bad... and yet not too surprising, but lets put things into perspective. The quality of today's cars - all cars - are vastly better than anything imaginable back in the 70's. Heck, I would be willing to bet that an "average" car today (in terms of quality) would have ranked at the top of the list 10 or 15 years ago.
Still, though in today's market, Fiat and/or Chrysler need to get their sheet together real quick if they want to compete - and maybe that is where Opel comes into the picture... get some of that German engineering.
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:57 AM   #4
rypt
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These surveys are also based on cars from ~2001/02 - a time when Fiat was almost bankrupt ... Fiat's new cars are much better but unfortunately have very little data on them due to their new age; Opel's from the mid 90s were hardly better
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:58 AM   #5
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like i posted before.....two wrongs don't make right


or as woody allan would say.....two wongs don't make a wight
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
“Fix It Again, Tony”
I remember that from when I was a kid. Also "Found on Road Dead" and "Gotta Mechanic Coming"

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Originally Posted by Hazdaz View Post
That is pretty bad... and yet not too surprising, but lets put things into perspective. The quality of today's cars - all cars - are vastly better than anything imaginable back in the 70's. Heck, I would be willing to bet that an "average" car today (in terms of quality) would have ranked at the top of the list 10 or 15 years ago.
True, but people also expect more. Why take a chance on a Fiat when the equivalent Toyota, Honda, or Subaru model has a proven track record of quality and reliability? IMO selling Fiats in the US is going to be really tough.
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:16 AM   #7
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FIAT employs a few former BMW german engineers in charge of quality. the new Alfas in europe are just as solid as a bmw now and are scoring excellent in reliability. I think we will be suprised whenever they start selling here....FIAT knows it has to impress right away, of course who knows what badging theyll be doing.
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:27 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mike Wevrick View Post
Why take a chance on a Fiat when the equivalent Toyota, Honda, or Subaru model has a proven track record of quality and reliability?
I won't argue with that, and even the domestic carmakers are having that same problem... there has to be a very good reason for someone to "risk" buying something other than a Honda or Toyota if all they want is pure, basic transportation. It's either gonna be cost - and the Detroit automakers (and companies like Hyundia) have gone that route, or performance or style. I think we know which way an Italian car maker would go.
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:45 AM   #9
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Or Ford. Right now if you wanted a domestic I thik I'd have to pick from Ford's lineup. I have alot more faith in them than GM/Chrysler.
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Old 05-06-2009, 11:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVjupiter View Post
FIAT employs a few former BMW german engineers in charge of quality. the new Alfas in europe are just as solid as a bmw now and are scoring excellent in reliability. I think we will be suprised whenever they start selling here....FIAT knows it has to impress right away, of course who knows what badging theyll be doing.
Except German brands in general, including BMW, do not score well in reliability. You may be right in that Fiat has improved a lot, but I'd be surprised if that's just because they hired a couple of German guys.
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