Chrysler hasn't been following the trend in terms of improving the way its products are seen by critics and consumers.
Of the five "Most Disappointing" new models listed in Consumer Reports' annual April Autos issue, four - the Jeep Compass, Dodge Caliber, Dodge Nitro and Chrysler Sebring - were Chrysler products. (The fifth was the subcompact Toyota Yaris.)
Likewise, Chrysler has not done well in J.D. Power surveys, said Ivers, ranking low in quality and owner satisfaction. In J.D. Power's latest Initial Quality survey, all three Chrysler brands - Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep - scored well below average. In the J.D. Power APEAL survey, the three Chrysler brands all ranked among the bottom five.
For its part, Chrysler does not see the situation as being as dire as all that. Surveys and selected media reviews, like those in Consumer Reports, don't encompass all that people feel about their Chrysler products, said Sam Locricchio, a Chrysler spokesman. Also, even though the rankings in J.D. Power surveys may be low, the brands are still seeing improvements year over year.
Interior quality has been a problem, Locricchio acknowledged, which is why Chrysler opened a special interior design studio in October of last year.