Doug Betts, Chrysler’s senior vice president of quality, said that the difference between Chrysler’s cars and those of Japanese automakers has become very small.
“We still benchmark Toyota,” says Doug Betts, Chrysler’s senior vice president of quality. “Toyota’s very good at reliability. I believe that we have gotten close enough on reliability to Toyota that it shouldn’t be a reason for somebody not to buy our cars.”
Last week, Chrysler’s vehicles managed to come first in four out of the 21 categories in Strategic Vision’s annual Total Quality Index survey. The survey was made on 17,568 buyers of 2013 vehicles and the Chrysler 200 convertible and Town & Country minivan, as well as the Dodge Dart and Durango came first in their categories.
This is an important step forward, taking into consideration that in 2008, before Fiat acquired Chrysler, the automaker won only one category out of the total of 19. Although Chrysler executives promised to make the automaker a true rival for Toyota’s reliability and quality ownership turnover, supplier and production issues kept the US automaker at the back of the pack.
“There are third-party metrics out there that say we are still short of where [Toyota] is, and I don’t disagree with those,” said Betts, a former quality executive with Toyota and Nissan. “But is it a big enough difference that you would not buy the car over that” gap? Betts asked. “Or would you then turn to other things, like how the car feels, how it drives, how it sounds, how it looks?”