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Dodge Becomes first Domestic Brand to top JD Power Initial Quality Study

Dodge Becomes first Domestic Brand to top JD Power Initial Quality Study

In a welcome first, Dodge has become the first domestic brand to top the JD Power Initial Quality Study. The automaker tied for first place with another brand we know and love, Kia.

Dodge has come a long way in the past decade and this report proves it. Having been more used to sitting further down the table, Dodge now has top spot.

To make life even sweeter for FCA, Ram came third and Jeep weren’t far behind. Dodge and Kia tied for first place with Chevrolet and Ram third with equal points.

Good news all round

The full JD Power Initial Quality Study shows a fairly clear picture of where automakers are in the world. There were some changes but also some news we didn’t want to hear. News like premium brands being outperformed by mass market brands where we would hope for the opposite.

More welcome news is that Dodge, Ram and Jeep along with Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac all outperformed the market. All achieved higher industry averages than usual which shows the domestic manufacturing scene improving significantly.

‘Most domestic brands are above average: Seven domestic brands—Dodge (136 PP100); Chevrolet (141 PP100); Ram (141 PP100); Buick (150 PP100); GMC (151 PP100); Jeep (155 PP100); and Cadillac (162 PP100)—perform better than the overall industry average of 166 PP100. Collectively, this is the best-ever performance by the Detroit automakers—when compared with the import brands—in the history of the study.’

As before, infotainment is cited as the most problematic area of new car ownership. A quarter of all problems reported by new car owners were to do with infotainment.

‘Infotainment is most problematic category: Almost one-fourth of all problems cited by new-vehicle owners relate to infotainment. Top complaints include built-in voice recognition; Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity; touchscreens; built-in navigation systems; and Bluetooth connectivity.’

That’s not such good news. This has been the same for a while and has been reflected in other customer surveys.

Hard work paying off

FCA’s improvements are not unexpected. A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to improve products, manufacturing processes and factories. This result is testament to how much the company has worked to drive quality improvements.

One key change is switching from a reactive approach to a proactive one. FCA would learn about issues from customers and then fix them. This did fix issues but not before reputational damage occurred.

The new system tests new vehicles and technologies much more rigorously before release in an attempt to weed out issues before the customer ever sees the vehicle. This is obviously paying off.

Expect to see FCA brands continuing to climb the JD Power Survey ladder in years to come as the process of improvements continues.

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