A Marriage Of (Reliability) Equals

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
a marriage of reliability equals

Consumer Reports drops a sly wink at the irony-free Daimler-Chrysler tagline while revealing that (surprise!) Fiat’s reliability is little better than Chrysler’s. Of course, pre-retreat American Fiat records speak for themselves. Usually in acronym form (Play It Again, Sam, as the old folks say). But even 21st-century Fiat ranked only three places higher than Chrysler in Britain’s 2008 Which? Car reliability survey. Did we mention Chrysler took last place? Honda and Toyota in first, etc. But CR plays it cool. Real cool. “By the limited indication we have, it looks like reliability may be a challenge,” is the money shot. Way to represent the data!

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  • Djn Djn on May 07, 2009

    So, I've been lurking for a month or so and now its time to weight in. I've owned Alfas and Fiats since 1977. My 1991 164 with 180K miles has been head and shoulders reliable over previous products over the decades. My 98 Olds Silhouette was such a piece of crap, intake manifold gasket, head gaskets and 2 transaxles by 110K. If Fiat/Alfa has progressed at all in 19 years, quality could easily be on par with the other European makes. The key will be the dealer service network. Those who trash Italian quality on the basis of the 70's are xxx. Alfa's failure in the 90's was due to the ARDONA (chrysler) distrubution network that ordered 80% automatics vs 5 speeds. How stupid is that? This time Fiat will make the decisions. Alfa will never be a Honda or Toyota in reliability. Japanese cars will never match Alfa or Fiat in sheer fun and style. Fun, style, good gas mileage and reasonable reliability will make for very competitive products,

  • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on May 07, 2009

    @djn: very rational assessment. BTW: The Caliber triplets everyone loves to hate for their "cheap" interiors and etc seem to be holding up well as they have better than average reliability ratings according to CR. The best Chrysler is producing. Next best is one of the trucks with "average" across the board. I don't think the Neon ever pulled a better than average rating.

  • Shaker Shaker on May 07, 2009

    I think if Chrysler can introduce Fiat to their futuristic material known as "Galvanized Steel", Fiat might stand a chance in the US... ;-) I'll take a Brera, minus the pleated hood, please.

  • on May 07, 2009

    @jpcavanaugh: You've got it wrong on the relative quality track records of GM and Chrysler. Chrysler vehicles' build quality (and resultant durability) has been on a more or less sinusoidal curve for decades. They alternated having their shit together and building really good cars (1946-'56, 1963-'73, etc.), and foisting off complete garbage (1957-'59, 1978-'83, 1996-date, etc.), with transitional "Do you feel lucky?" periods between these extremes (1960-'62, 1974-'77, 1990-'95, etc.). GM's quality has been somewhat more consistent but generally lower, with variability according more to engineering and cost decisions than to production quality. A friend of mine who has been a D3 engineer for decades sums up the American auto industry: In general, GM do a mediocre job of building a mediocre design, Ford do a good job of building a lousy design, and Chrysler do a lousy job of building a good design. I think that's about right, plus or minus this model or that one, disregarding those factors that cancel out (Ford AXOD, GM TH200R4, Chrysler A604).

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