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Betts updates employees on recent J.D. Power results

Posted Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009, 10:35 am in Employee News

Doug Betts, Senior Vice-President—Quality, sent employees the following message yesterday regarding the company’s 2009 Initial Quality Study (IQS) results:

Today, J.D. Power and Associates announced the results of their 2009 Initial Quality Study (IQS), which measures new-vehicle quality at 90-days of ownership. We were pleased to learn that there are several bright spots for Chrysler Group LLC within this study, which demonstrate that the improvements we have been implementing over the past year are starting to show for the company as a whole and within each of the brands.

First, of the 10 most-improved vehicles on the J.D. Power list, five of them were Chrysler Group vehicles, including the top three. The five most-improved vehicles are the Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Grand Caravan, Dodge Avenger, Jeep® Wrangler and Jeep Liberty.

Second, the Chrysler Group improved 15 points on the survey, faster than the industry average of 10 points. The industry as a whole saw its greatest improvement since 2004. Despite this fact, Chrysler Group gained ground versus the competition.

The Jeep brand improved by 30 points and moved up three rank positions. This jump is attributable primarily to a 47 point improvement for the Jeep Wrangler.

Among the product highlights are:

* Chrysler PT Cruiser, which tied for first place in the Compact Multi Activity Vehicle segment
* Chrysler Sebring (sedan and convertible), which finished fourth in the very competitive Midsize Car segment that includes such competitors as Nissan Altima, Pontiac G6, Chevy Malibu, Toyota Camry and Honda Accord
* In fact, when filtering out just the Chrysler Sebring sedan, it tied the Nissan Altima for first place in the segment with a score of 81 points
* Dodge Grand Caravan, which improved by 60 points and now ranks third in the midsize van category

What the J.D. Power IQS shows us is that we have some forward momentum. We have figured out how to improve vehicles in production and have taken aggressive actions to continue that progress.

During the course of 2008 and early 2009, Chrysler Group has made tremendous progress on quality, which we can see in our internal measures. The fact is that over last year, Chrysler has reduced its warranty claims by 30 percent. Our internal metrics confirm that we are currently operating with reliability that is better than it has ever been in company history. While the improvement is encouraging, we have by no means arrived at a resting place.

Our Opportunity for Improvement:
Above we talked about the highlights from the J.D. Power IQS survey. Internally, we have to acknowledge the “low lights.” We have proven to ourselves that we can improve the quality of vehicles that are in production at a faster pace than before. What we have not demonstrated is our ability to have a successful launch for a new model. The best competitors are able to launch new models with award-winning levels of quality. If we do not find the source of our problem in doing this and change our methods, our ability to improve in current production will not be enough to make us competitive with the best in the industry. We will improve and then fall behind, over and over. A change in our culture and a fundamental change in what we believe is “good enough” has to happen. I look forward to working together to make this next big shift in our expectations for ourselves.

Thank you for your continued support.

Doug Betts
Senior Vice President – Quality
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