During the latest release of the annual Consumer Report reliability study, the readers of the influential US magazine unanimously panned the brands of the recently merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.
With all of the brands present on the US market placed at the bottom, Chrysler ousted its quality chief the day after Consumer Reports presented the report and now executives swarm to offer explanations.
Chrysler’s Bob Hegbloom, who became the Ram truck brand’s head back in August has a partial excuse – the advanced cockpit technology is one of the main culprits for Ram’s labeling as the third-worst automaker. The executive says that as average ownership of a pickup has risen to 11 years, the level of technology integration would assault a customer that hasn’t bought a truck in a decade.
Indeed, among the 17 categories on which Consumer Reports polled buyers of 2014 model autos, cockpit-related technology issues had the highest number of complaints from users. When it comes to the category, owners complained about Fiat Chrysler’s Ram, Jeep and Fiat brands, but rival carmakers were not left out – including Cadillac, Ford or Honda.
On the other hand, although the Group’s brands have not fared well in the Yonkers, New York-based magazine’s study in recent years, the sales have continued to increase for the Chrysler brands – they recorded a 15% rise so far this year, with a 22% jump for the Ram unit.