Chrysler Counting Its Quality Chickens

chrysler counting its quality chickens

Way back in 1995, a certain Robert A Lutz, then president of Chrysler, proclaimed “there is no other area in the field of human communications that is as rife with disinformation as the story on Chrysler quality.” Much water has passed under the bridge since ’95. These day, Chrysler’s quality occupies the basement of most reliablle rankings, while overstuffed suits cry perception gap. Despite flying under the industry standard in J.D. Power and Consumer Report rankings, Chrysler has recently taken to trumpeting a 29 percent decrease in warranty costs. Now the Cerberusian dog is putting its lack of money where its mouth is, telling the Detroit Free Press that it’s setting aside less money for warranty costs. “When you ship a car, you reserve the money for its whole lifetime of warranty. Based on where you think you’re at, that’s how much money you reserve,” explains Chrysler’s chief customer officer and former Nissan man Doug Betts. “A decrease of “30% … is hundreds of millions of dollars.” But the Freep catches something that deserves some attention. “Betts said Chrysler is measuring quality by the rate of warranty claims within a new vehicle’s first 3 months in service, a reliable bellwether for predicting total problems for the life of a vehicle’s warranty.” But doesn’t reliability become most important towards the end of a vehicle’s life? Isn’t that why Chrysler introduced its “lifetime powertrain warranty?” And all this while Chyrsler’s is squeezing suppliers for a 25 percent cost reduction? Auburn Hills must be incredibly cash-starved confident to light this financial time bomb now.

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  • Tony-e30 Tony-e30 on Sep 05, 2008

    As there is a reaction for every action, it seems quite likely that this will require dealers to tighten up their standards for what is deemed a warranty repair/replace. I'm not quite sure who sets that standard, actually, so perhaps it will be Chrysler changing the standard? Either way, the dealership repair experience for customers is not likely to improve. This will be interesting to keep an eye on.

  • Geotpf Geotpf on Sep 05, 2008

    tony-e30-Yeah, you might have a point. One way to lower warranty costs is to deny a bunch of claims for warranty repairs. That just pisses people off, of course.

  • FreedMike $27,000 adjusted and the heater was optional? Wow, how things have changed...
  • Zang I’m sorry but does anyone desire GMC products? Looks are subjective but across the board GMC kinda makes a case for taking home the ugly trophy. Their full size trucks look like a parody of full size trucks- like they couldn’t figure out anything original so they came up with… that. I get they’re playing for an upscale image but cmon son, with the Terrain and Acadia on the lot we all know you ended up here after the Lincoln/Cadillac/Toyota dealer encouraged you head to their pre-owned section. Combined with the zero credibility they have with the off road / overlanding crowd (you dont take the current Canyon off road unless you want a quick way to empty your engine of oil), GM’s reputation for building crappy vehicles, and the fact even their white trash customer base prefers RAM … who is this for?
  • FreedMike This car looks terrific from the front. Then we have the back end...I don't think the "very expensive halo car" approach is a bad one at all (though I'd price this a LOT lower than $300,000), but the "ugly $300,000 halo car" approach is going to fail. And I think the Lyriq - which has the same horrid rear-end treatment - is going to fail too. Is it too late to restyle this car? God, I hope not.
  • Corey Lewis This is a great idea, and I like it on the regular Bronco.Don't care about it on the Bronco Sp, where it's very fake.
  • FreedMike By the time you add in the inevitable dealer markup, you might as well find a nice old-school Bronco, like this one.