Reliable? Consumer Reports Takes on Chrysler-Fiat Merger

Fiat500 The last time Fiats were sold in the U.S., reliability wasn’t exactly the company’s hallmark. Consumer Reports points out on its blog that not only do Chrysler’s brands rank at the bottom of its 2008 Reliability study — Jeep is 28th, Dodge 30th and Chrysler 32nd out of 34 brands — Fiat ranks poorly in equivalent studies in Europe.

Which? Car in the U.K. conducts a very similar survey to Consumer Reports’, and its readers ranked Fiat No. 35 out of 38 brands. Only Renault, Land Rover and Chrysler/Dodge ranked worse.

These are just two studies, but the reliability factor has gone largely ignored during the merger talks between the two companies. Let us know what you think. Is this new marriage likely to produce more reliable vehicles?

Chrysler and Fiat reliability – Merger of equals? (Consumer Reports)

Comments 

Bob

Considering the continued history of poor build quality for both companies, it seems unlikely that a merger will resolve the problem.

Original sheth

This is a nonstory. It amazes me that CR is actually going out of their way to disparage Chrysler as if that is really core to their mission. WHy are they even weighing in on this? They already issued statements during the auto bailout controversy in which they reminded people that Chrysler's vehicles werent competitive and the company isnt worth saving. That is overstepping their bounds in my book. CR should tell us how they compile road test scores and explain why they don't factor in pricing when rating cars before they waste more time warning us about this merger.

CR's just bored waiting for the '10s to come out.

Dan

Sounds like the two companies are perfect for each other then. Very little cultural mismatch. This merger ought to go smoothly.

Blaine Hall

Wow. No mention of Toyota having the highest recall. No mention of GM's brands or Ford. Biased? I think so.

Blaine,
It's not biased. Those other brands aren't near the bottom of the reliability studies.

Recall "totals" is also hard to use since GM, Ford and Toyota produce 3x the cars as Chrysler or Nissan, it's likely their recalls could also be larger

Here's a post we did on recalls in 2008 that spells it out if that helps
http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2009/01/recalls-down.html#more
It also shows Chrysler was second highest in 2007 in terms of recalls.

bob v

This could have the outcome of when cousins marry.

Marty A

I remember when Fiats were sold in the U.S. A neighbor owned one. Talk about how bad the original Hyundais were, Fiat was worse. So, now what are we going to get when we merge a mediocre car company with a substandard car company? A Chrysler with an Italian logo. Not to mention Fiat also produces Alfa Romeo. Another stellar product.

RickTv

hmmm .. me thinks this has nothing to do with anything EXCEPT; The car zar is formerly treasurer of the Democratic Committee, the UAW has donated quite a few millions to DEMOCRATIC campaigns, AND they get 55% of the company, WITH a loan @ 9%, with 2 board picks! All that IN FRONT of the bank!
It would only make sense to merge them with a company in Italy! (if you get my drift!)

Ziggy

Reliablity is an issue. CR reports are known for reliablity ratings. For CR to report on the reliablity factor makes sense. Remember the C stands for consumer and this is something that the consumer needs to be aware of. I wouldn't buy one so it really doesn't matter to me.

Stellar

Two negatives normally make a positive, but lets just hope these two can work out what makes their cars so unreliable. Then again I don't like any chrysler products, and I don' think I've ever seen a Fiat putting around here.

sheth

CR doesn't need to offer its opinion about the wisdom of the merger based on its own flawed reliability study. Reliability today is more a matter of nuisances than a matter of breakdowns. Considering CR has been dogging Chrysler products for as long as I can remember I am not surprised CR readers rate their vehicles poorly. CR fails to acknowledge that people buy cars for more than just top notch reliability. If they didn't and they consulted CR before a purchase no one would buy anything but Toyota, Honda and Nissan products. The fact that a brand, scores low in CR's survey hardly means that you are risking major problems buy purchasing from that brand. CR doesn't even differentiate between rattles and transmission problems. Any reported "issue" counts against a vehicles' reliability. Several models that they rate as horribly unreliable (like Corvette) have high customer satisfaction ratings per their surveys.

James

Blaine got schooled.

Derrick G

sheth,

"CR doesn't even differentiate between rattles and transmission problems" is an abject lie. Rattles, part of body integrity, are weighted less than transmission or engine problems. Disagree if you like, but you do little to help your case by telling untruths.

Also, CR's survey isn't the only one that Chrysler does poorly in. Furthermore, all three of Chrysler's brands score well under 50% customer retention in Power's loyalty study. That's a low showing even among domestic manufacturers. And it well shows that the majority of buyers of the company's products aren't well satisfied.

Original sheth

Derrick:

First of all CR doesnt dislose actual problem rates or problems per vehicle. There measure of unreliability is based on how a vehicle relates to the mean for the category, not actual problem rates. This can be skewed by the number of responses they get from each brand and its not a very effective way to inform people about unreliability. All cars are mechanically reliable these days period. Regardless of how rattles are weighted the bottom line is that CR is very flexible in its use of the term "reliability" and thus annoyances count agaisnt reliability. CR has to covince customers that there is a wide gap between the most reliable and least reliable brands to justify their existence. If they relied on PPV or actual percentages we would see the gap is rather small which is why they chose to present data in a particular way.

What is the difference between the brand with the highest retention rate and the lowest? With so many options on the market no brand is retaining 70% or 80% of customers. Customer renention is not a great way to measure reliability. Why? Product line has a huge impact on retention rates. When gas went up Chrysler was bound to lose a huge percentage of existing customers because they don't sell a small car or hybrid. That doesn't mean people shunned Chrysler due to reliability. CAr magazines do 40k mile tests of all types of vehicles and I've seen no consistent evidence that Chryslers are more problem prone than other brands.

Original sheth

Derrick:

Also, do you have any specifics on how CR weights problems when determining final reliability ratings? BTW, my initial point didn't mention weighting. I was saying that CR counts a wide range of things (including rattles/body integrity) when determining reliability. My other issue with CR is that curiously problem areas with their preferred brands (Toyota/Honda, etc.) never seem to be reflected in their results. For example, they claimed ONE 2007 Camry model was less than average in reliability even though there had been widespread discussion of transmission quality issues on the V6 and I4 models as well as interior quality issues and squeaks/rattles across the board. When Honda had transmission issues that didn't seem to show up in their results and every Honda model got top scores in reliability. This is what happens when you survey the same people every year.

Tony

2008 Reliability Ratings

2-3 year old
1. Mazda 3
2. Mazda 2
3. VW Golf
4. Ford Fusion
5. Honda Jazz
6. Porsche Boxster
7. Porsche Cayenne
8. Mazda MX-5
9. Opel Meriva
10. Mercedes A-Klasse
11. Toyota RAV4
12. Ford C-Max
13. Porsche 911
14. Toyota Yaris
15. Ford Fiesta
16. Audi A8
17. Toyota Avensis
18. Mazda Premacy
19. Audi A4
20. Mazda 6
21. Saab 9-3
22. Toyota Corolla
23. Suzuki Vitara
24. Subaru Forester
25. Land Rover Freelander
26. Lancia Y
27. Audi A3
28. Mercedes SL
29. Nissan Almera
30. VW Touran
31. Honda CRV
32. Hyundai Matrix
33. Mitsubishi Space
34. Nissan X-Trail
35. Skoda Octavia
36. Audi TT
37. Smart Fortwo
38. Audi A2
39. Nissan Micra
40. Seat Cordoba
41. Hyundai Getz
42. BMW X3
43. Citroën Xsara
44. Ford Focus
45. Opel Agila
46. Opel Corsa
47. Honda Civic
48. Suzuki Wagon R+
49. BMW 5er
50. Mercedes SLK
51. Skoda Fabia
52. Kia Sorento
53. Volvo S40/V40
54. Renault Scenic
55. BMW 3er
56. BMW 7er
57. VW Lupo
58. Mitsubishi Pajero
59. Opel Vectra
60. Volvo S70/V70
61. Audi A6
62. VW Polo
63. Citroën Berlingo
64. VW New Beetle
65. VW Passat
66. Honda Accord
67. Ford Mondeo
68. Mercedes S-Klasse
69. Jeep Grand Cherokee
70. Skoda Superb
71. Mitsubishi Carisma
72. VW Sharan
73. Opel Astra
74. Hyundai Santa Fee
75. Renault Twingo
76. Mercedes E-Klasse
77. Seat Toledo
78. Volvo S60
79. Ford Galaxy
80. Ford Ka
81. Suzuki Jimny
82. Seat Alhambra
83. BMW Z4
84. Renault Megane
85. Fiat Punto
86. Opel Zafira
87. Peugeot 206
88. BMW X5
89. Citroën C5
90. Citroën C2
91. Fiat Doblo
92. Opel Frontera
93. Citroën C3
94. Suzuki Swift
95. Mercedes C-Klasse
96. Kia Rio
97. Renault Clio
98. Peugeot 406
99. Fiat Panda
100. Fiat Seicento
101. Chrysler Voyager
102. Alfa Romeo 156
103. BMW Mini
104. Peugeot 307
105. Alfa Romeo 147
106. Mercedes M-Klasse
107. Mitsubishi Colt
108. Opel Omega
109. Fiat Stilo
110. Seat Arosa
111. Renault Kangoo
112. Nissan Primera
113. Renault Laguna
114. Renault Espace
115. Chrysler PT Cruiser
116. Kia Carnival

4-5 yo

1. Porsche 911
2. Honda Jazz
3. Subaru Legacy
4. Porsche Boxster
5. BMW 7er
6. Toyota RAV 4
7. Subaru Forester
8. Honda CRV
9. Audi A4
10. Mazda MX-5
11. Mercedes SLK
12. Toyota Corolla
13. Toyota Yaris
14. Mazda Demio
15. Nissan X-Trail
16. Honda Accord
17. Mitsubishi Pajero
18. Mercedes C-Klasse
19. Audi TT
20. Citroën C3
21. Suzuki Vitara
22. Mercedes S-Klasse
23. Mercedes SL
24. Honda Civic
25. Toyota Avensis
26. Audi A3
27. VW Golf
28. Mercedes A-Klasse
29. Audi A2
30. Nissan Primera
31. VW Polo
32. Mitsubishi Space
33. Volvo S60
34. Nissan Almera
35. VW New Beetle
36. Suzuki Jimny
37. Saab 9-3
38. Mitsubishi Carisma
39. Opel Corsa
40. Skoda Octavia
41. Ford Focus
42. Smart Fortwo
43. VW Lupo
44. Ford Fiesta
45. Mazda Premacy
46. Opel Agila
47. Hyundai Matrix
48. Volvo S40/V40
49. BMW 5er
50. Audi A6
51. Citroën C5
52. VW Passat
53. Suzuki Wagon R+
54. Audi A8
55. Mercedes M-Klasse
56. Citroën Xsara
57. Ford Mondeo
58. Skoda Fabia
59. Renault Megane
60. Citroën Berlingo
61. Mazda 323
62. BMW Z3
63. BMW X5
64. Seat Cordoba
65. Volvo S70/V70
66. Land Rover Freelander
67. Skoda Superb
68. Opel Astra
69. Mazda 626
70. Seat Toledo
71. Jeep Grand Cherokee
72. Peugeot 206
73. Alfa Romeo 156
74. Nissan Micra
75. Mitsubishi Colt
76. Hyundai Elantra
77. BMW 3er
78. Opel Frontera
79. Suzuki Swift
80. Renault Espace
81. Alfra Romeo 147
82. Opel Vectra
83. Peugeot 406
84. Peugeot 307
85. Renault Twingo
86. Daihatsu Cuore
87. Seat Arosa
88. Renault Scenic
89. Fiat Punto
90. Fiat Doblo
91. Opel Omega
92. Ford Galaxy
93. Renault Clio
94. Fiat Seicento
95. VW Sharan
96. Mercedes E-Klasse
97. Renault Kangoo
98. Fiat Stilo
99. Ford Ka
100. Lancia Y
101. Hyundai Santa Fee
102. Seat Alhambra
103. BMW Mini
104. Opel Zafira
105. Citroën Saxo
106. Chrysler PT Cruiser
107. Kia Rio
108. Peugeot 106
109. Chrysler Voyager
110. Renault Laguna
111. Kia Carnival


6-7 yo

1. Toyota RAV 4
2. Porsche 911
3. Porsche Boxster
4. Mercedes SL
5. Mazda Demio
6. Mazda MX-5
7. Subaru Forester
8. Mercedes SLK
9. Toyota Avensis
10. Subaru Legacy
11. Audi A2
12. Mercedes S-Klasse
13. Honda CRV
14. Toyota Yaris
15. Mitsubishi Pajero
16. Toyota Corolla
17. Honda Accord
18. Nissan Almera
19. Suzuki Vitara
20. Audi TT
21. Mitsubishi Space
22. Mazda Premacy
23. Opel Agila
24. Smart Fortwo
25. Saab 9-3
26. Nissan Primera
27. VW Golf
28. Mitsubishi Carisma
29. Mitsubishi Colt
30. Volvo S40/V40
31. Audi A3
32. Mercedes C-Klasse
33. Citroën Xantia
34. Honda Civic
35. Ford Focus
36. VW Polo
37. Skoda Octavia
38. Suzuki Jimny
39. VW Lupo
40. VW New Beetle
41. Mercedes M-Klasse
42. Daihatsu Cuore
43. Opel Corsa
44. Opel Vectra
45. Seat Cordoba
46. Seat Toledo
47. Land Rover Freelander
48. Renault Megane
49. Renault Espace
50. Suzuki Swift
51. Skoda Fabia
52. Opel Astra
53. Mazda 323
54. BMW Z3
55. Jeep Grand Cherokee
56. Audi A4
57. Volvo S70/V70
58. BMW 5er
59. Mazda 626
60. Mercedes A-Klasse
61. Ford Fiesta
62. Peugeot 406
63. Peugeot 206
64. Peugeot 306
65. Opel Omega
66. Renault Laguna
67. Audi A6
68. Fiat Punto
69. Ford Mondeo
70. Mercedes E-Klasse
71. Lancia Y
72. Nissan Micra
73. Audi A8
74. Renault Clio
75. Seat Arosa
76. Citroën Berlingo
77. Opel Zafira
78. Citroën Xsara
79. VW Passat
80. Citroën Saxo
81. Alfa Romeo 156
82. Opel Frontera
83. BMW 7er
84. Renault Twingo
85. BMW 3er
86. Hyundai Lantra
87. Renault Scenic
88. Fiat Seicento
89. Ford Galaxy

Derrick G

sheth,

There you go again playing fast and loose with the truth. You said "CR doesn't even differentiate between rattles and transmission problems". You might not have said the word weighting, but there's just no other reasonable explanation for what you meant. They do ask about them seperately, afterall. And CR is very clear that rattles are included. Furthermore, most people don't want to drive around with them, which means a trip to the dealer during which time you can't "rely" on the car to go pick up the kids. This line of reasoning that what they don't measure is BS. They ask based on what they've been told over the years by readers is important to the readers.

And gas prices haven't been high continuously for years. In the oldest Power study I can find online, core brand Dodge is around 40%. So is Jeep. Chrysler is lower and all have stayed within a couple of points of that since then. Core brands Ford and Chevrolet have been at least at 52% during the same period, often higher. So don't give me crap about Chrysler makes vehicles just as good as anyone else. The people who've bought them very obviously haven't been especially pleased. As for you comment about magazine long-term tests, even if you read every one out there, that's a sample size of maybe 7 or so per model that's even available. Now THERE'S a flawed survey.

Jeannot

I can only go by my own experience. I have a 1996 Jeep Cherokee which I bought two years ago. It has 154.000 miles on it, and has been very reliable. It looks good, runs good, and has never let me down.

I also have a 2004 Chrysler Sebring Limited convertible, which has 74,000 miles. I can't speak with as much authority about this one, since I've had it only three months. But so far, the car has been a joy to drive in.

JJ

All Vehicles will run forever with proper maintenance and driving style (With the exception of manufacturing defects). The reliability ratings perhaps are a better scale of how well you take care of your car LOL I have seen a LOT more Toyota's out of commission then my family has had with Hyundai's, Fords, Chrysler's, or Chev's.

JJ

Sorry, With the exception of a FEW manufacturing defects (Which are rare)

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