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Toyota tops Consumer Reports quality survey, Fiat at bottom

Discussion in 'Sports and World News' started by ramjn, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    High points

    - Toyota Motor Corp's namesake brand and its Lexus luxury brand finished one-and-two for the second year in a row in Consumer Reports' annual quality survey of the US new-vehicle market, the influential magazine said on Monday.

    - The four lowest-scoring brands were all from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Chrysler Group.

    - Fiat scored the lowest of the 28 brands and the Fiat 500L was named the least reliable among 265 models included in the survey.

    - Chrysler's brands have been at or near the bottom of the survey since at least 2009, while the group's share of the US market has risen to 12.2 per cent this year through September from less than 9 per cent in 2009.

    - The biggest complaint about new cars and trucks is that infotainment systems do not work well.

    - Fisher said the complaints about infotainment systems are about how they perform after a driver understands them, not about them not being intuitive.

    - Japanese brands, which have dominated the survey in recent years, took the first four places, with Mazda Motor Corp third and Honda Motor Co fourth. Fifth was Volkswagen AG's luxury brand Audi, followed by the lone domestic brand in the top 10, General Motors Co's Buick at No. 6.

    Source - http://economictimes.indiatimes.com...ports-quality-survey/articleshow/44953190.cms
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014
  2. pv_krish

    pv_krish Regolare

    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    I do not understand one thing, Toyota have been the no.1 in recall for the past 2-3 years. This being the case, how have they been the best in consumer satisfaction?

    Is the US awards also like India there things are lobbied?

    I have even known brands like Land rover being unreliable, do not understand why FIAT has so many enemies than friends? Is it the cultural differences in the FIAT management of Italian vs the rest of the world?

    Need to see the survey in Italy for FIAT
    ramjn likes this.
  3. acechip

    acechip Superiore

    I guess you must be well aware that the "lobby" culture was invented in the US ! Thats just a politically polite (and sometimes legal) term for buttering/bribing/"managing" whatever in desi equivalent.
    And while Oriental companies may be hardworking, forthrightness isnt exactly their virtue. There is always a tendency to underplay problems, even to severe detrimental effect (Fukushima disaster, some airline accidents, Toyota ABS/floormat/ various issues) At the end of the day, they have their standard " apology and hang their heads in shame in public" posture all well planned.
    And I would like to believe that Fiat brand is not really tops in Italy too, in peoples perception. Where Fiat does well is Lat Am, parts of Central Asia/Balkan markets.

    But "all that is US is the golden standard ", is so-not-true.
  4. amogh

    amogh Staff Member Janitor

    Grande Punto 1.3
    I started taking consumer reports with a pinch of salt some time back. This just reinforces my thoughts.

    I don't know what quality toyota harps about when all that it has been doing for the past few years is recall cars.

    Stupidity to say the least !!
    MakeTheMove and GirishRaghu like this.
  5. Viny

    Viny Esperto

    Infact recall is part of long term quality goals, unlike FIAT, where issues are fixed as and when it arrises and as and when consumer faces issues. In last 5yrs of ownership there where many parts that where replaced FOC by company. But i never heard recalls from FIAT. From CC to AC Upgrades to Strut Pads, to what not. I know many who didnt knew that this are known issues and many times they paid to get it fixed, which should have been done by company actively by method of compulsory recalls.

    Buyers of FIAT cars are generally niche, they have selected FIAT with certain expectations so even if FIAT fails 1% it will get treated as failing in 90%, big dolldrums will be created. This happens with many products that are part of niche market. Unless the company recognizes this does lot of pampering of consumers, this kind of survey results will be always on chart. Best solutions for over coming this kind of negative base is by organizing frequent friendly meetups or get together and then offer some free services there.

    Putting up free checkup camp is kind of wrong way of doing it, put up a free get together camp, invite people to share some quality time create happy environment and then offer this kind of free checkup services in that environment. With happy mood even if an issue is there it will get digested easily, otherwise even in a free checkup camp if an issue rises, first reaction is FIAT poor product quality.

    I seriously find lack of foresightedness in plans and executions that FIAT India Team does.
    They forgot to think out of box. Or probably they dont have a team which has creative brains or probably they are still trying to see themselves as engine makers for mass market. They have to keep aside a XX amount of budget to keep existing customer happy in all the ways, this will help them in long term market penetration. A happy customer means more word of mouth publicity, better survey results and much more trust in brand. This should not have been very hard to learn given there horrible past in India.
  6. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    But Viny, this survey was done in USA. Nothing to do with India or Fiat India.
  7. Viny

    Viny Esperto

    ramjn: DNA remains same :p
    The indian version of similar kind of survey also had similar results for FIAT
  8. prabhjot

    prabhjot Esperto

    delhi ncr
    The problem with all such surveys is that they are purely subjective in the responses they elicit from customers. That means that old, previously valid brand perceptions as well as perceptions that are widely repeated ('hearsay') reproduce themselves even in the pseudo-objective/scientific survey technique.

    The other problem with consumer reports in particular is that a technofool (say an older person) who has difficulty say pairing a cellphone to the car's ICE gets equal weightage as say someone who finds that the gearshifts on his auto-transmission is jerky. A trivial non-problem is equated with severe engineering ones.

    In particular, in the US Fiat has got the stick for deploying the dual-clutch DDCT paired to the T-jet multiair: apparently most users are so unused to turbopetrols and to dual-clutches that they 'felt' their cars were defective! Just a testament to the radically different automotive mass culture in the US relative to Europe.

    ChryslerFiat quality standards have improved hugely over the last 3-4 years both in the US and globally (including India: the initial 2009/10 Linea-s had numerous small niggles, all long since sorted out). That is why they increasingly enjoy very positive word-of-mouth, leading to soaring sales and marketshare in the US. Marchionne has been revamping manufacturing processes in all the older plants. In fact some plants of FCA are widely known to be the best in the world, eg., the one Pomigliano i think where the Panda is made, as well as the one where the new Cherokee and the Chrysler 200 are made.

    Quality and reliability is a fading problem for FCA, here and there. But the quality of dealers and ASS manpower service still IS !!
    pv_krish, ramjn and VIJENDRA SINGH like this.
  9. ghodlur

    ghodlur Esperto

    As @amogh and others have said, these surveys are most of the time biased and dont represent the true customer response. Not because the surveys reported bad about Fiat, but its a known fact that the sample lot used for the survey isnt a true representation of the actual customers. I havent seen the customer feedback being published anytime by the so called top of the lot manufacturers.
    prabhjot likes this.
  10. prabhjot

    prabhjot Esperto

    delhi ncr
    Consumer reports is the equivalent of the 'reader's digest' version of knowledge and expertise on cars, dealers, maintanence, repairs etc. i.e., pretty dim and dumb.

    Their dwindling subscriptions (mainly to older people) are completely unrepresentive of the overall, rather complicated demographics of car buyers in the USA, and so their 'survey' results are terribly skewed, at huge variance to not just a lot of anecdotal evidence, but also to IHS and J D Power's better surveys, though 'statistical' subjective reports of 'any problem whatsoever, however interpreted and however severe or mild' are very poor guides in any case: sample sizes are limited, sampling methodologies are questionable, biased reporting is rife, etc. Besides, Consumer Reports it seems has a systematic skew against American brands, and in favour of 'bland appliance cars' i.e., japanese and now Korean cars.

    Its influence is so diminished that people are buying precisely the car brands they tend to NOT reccomend: Chryslers, Rams, Dodges, and Jeeps, esp, but also GM and Ford cars.

    The Jap and the Korean firms have, taken together, lost a lot of marketshare over the last 4-5 years, i.e., since the end of the great recession of 2008-9.

    Consumer reports is also repeatedly and routinely these days seen to be a 'paid' service, especially now that it will pretty soon be, like so many other older consumerist magazines, overtaken by the internet revolution and will likely go bankrupt. They don't charge for accessing material on the web, don't get great ad revenues, their print business is in rapid decay.....so how are they financing their extensive, knowledgeable testing activities? Why through curated pay-offs and PR plugs, of course.

    To be fair: such practices are UNIVERSAL in the American media (and EVEN more so in India!), including by such venerable names as the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, the LA Times, the Washington Post, etc. Let alone the plethora of utterly unregulated internet 'branded' commercial sites.

    Having said that: the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and now Fiat brands have huge legacy issues, still, both in perception and in fact, hugely improved though they are (far fewer serious recalls on new post-Fiat-merger models than most other firms, including German luxury and Japanese/korean ones).

    Not so much quality, it seems, but dealers and service support esp manpower quality, because although sales pace Consumer Reports have been soaring, the whole FCA system from suppliers to service is still (for obvious merger related historical reasons) run on VERY tight margins.

    Quality for FCA products, esp the all-new post-Fiat ones are very much par or above par for the course nowadays, just as it is for Fiat small cars and utility vans etc in Europe but gaps still remain esp relative to say Toyota and BMW.

    Interestingly 2 other brands with a huge reliability/quality disrepute in the US market: Jaguar-Land Rover (with very growing sales though) and ..... VW (with plummetting sales), funny since VW cars are a by-word for quality and reliability in Europe.

    Also: J D Power ranks GM near top for overall quality/reliability these days in the US, while CR has them barely making the top 10!
    Vidhyashankar Kannan likes this.

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