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Chrysler Group LLC Spends Quality Time Improving 2014 Model Lineup

September 2, 2013 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

Chrysler Group’s continues its quality investments to enhance the performance, competiveness and reliability of the 2014 Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, Jeep® and Fiat product lineup.

Following last year’s launch of the all-new Dodge Dart compact sedan, the company is targeting another highly competitive segment in 2014 with the all-new Jeep Cherokee compact SUV. At the same time, Chrysler Group also is devoting significant resources to the 2014 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee even while those award-winning products are still fresh in the marketplace. The 2014 models of the Durango and Grand Cherokee benefit from new and upgraded powertrains, a completely new electrical architecture and interior enhancements that improve the function and appearance of everything the driver sees and touches.

“In today’s competitive market, customers expect and deserve a highly reliable vehicle,” Doug Betts, Senior Vice President – Quality, Chrysler Group LLC, said. “For a brand or vehicle to make a strong impression for overall quality, it’s important that we also deliver well-crafted, exciting vehicles and ensure customer satisfaction after the sale.

“Quality means different things to different customers,” Betts said. “We define and track our progress for six types of quality, so we can design and build vehicles that will appeal to a diverse customer base. All customers want high quality vehicles, but that might not mean the same thing to an urban commuter in a Dodge Dart, a contractor hauling a trailer with a Ram 1500 or an off-road enthusiast exploring new trails in a Jeep® Wrangler.”

The six types of quality that Chrysler Group monitors for improvement follow:

Reliability, also described as ordinary quality, is measured according to warranty claims. The establishment of customer satisfaction teams (CST) has been a key factor in reducing the number of warranty claims by approximately 60 percent in the past six years. Each CST is responsible for identifying and correcting problems for a specific vehicle system (brakes, driveline, electronics, etc.). For example, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) team – made up of experts from engineering, manufacturing, supplier quality and service – is tasked with continually reducing warranty claims and improving HVAC system quality on all Chrysler Group vehicles.

Also called appearance quality, Chrysler Group established a perceived quality team that measures and evaluates vehicle attributes such as fit-and-finish, ergonomics, the feel of interior materials and even the sound quality of movable parts like doors and storage bins. The goal is for customers to identify new Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, Jeep and Fiat vehicles as well-crafted and quality-built vehicles the first time they see or touch a vehicle at a dealership, auto show or a neighbor’s driveway.

Performance quality measures how well a vehicle performs and functions compared to its competition. To improve a vehicle’s performance quality, engineers start with an all-new vehicle program, collecting and prioritizing customer desires. Then the team benchmarks more than 300 physical characteristics of best-in-class vehicles. Criteria such as acceleration, braking, handling, seat comfort, storage space, fuel economy and visibility are measured so that all-new vehicles are designed to compete with the best.

Sometimes customers find certain vehicle features annoying or poorly designed even though the vehicle performs reliably. For instance, a customer may think the cup holders are too low or the cruise control is difficult to set. Chrysler Group uses this customer feedback to reduce “dislike” design issues. Another example is Chrysler Group’s extensive consumer research to make sure the Uconnect radio, navigation and entertainment controls are intuitive and easy to use.

Service quality measures the customer’s experience in the dealership, before and after the sale. Chrysler Group surveys customers after dealership visits to determine how likely they are to recommend the brand and product; if the vehicle was in for service, the company also asks customers about their level of satisfaction and monitors whether an issue was fixed properly on the first visit.

Recalls for safety or environmental compliance issues can take a toll on a manufacturer’s reputation, in addition to customer inconvenience for extra service trips to a dealer. With strict quality control processes, Chrysler Group is committed to identifying potential issues as quickly as possible and providing safe, high-quality vehicles for its customers.
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