Chrysler's reliability ratings from Consumer Reports have been less-than-stellar in recent years. In its 2008 survey, where CR tallied up its subscribers' experience with some 1.4 million vehicles among 34 brands, Jeep came in 28th, Dodge took the 30th spot and Chrysler listed in at number 32 – with a bullet. This caused CR to ask the obvious question: how will Chrysler's tentative alliance with Fiat affect its overall score? More to the point, does Fiat bring anything positive to the table? According to CR's research, gleaned from the Which? Car – the equivalent of CR abroad – not much.
WC's annual survey of ownership experiences in the UK rates vehicle models up to eight-years-old, and keeps track of all the standard quality metrics (breakdowns, unscheduled repairs, etc.). WC's ratings largely mimicked CR's 2008 reliability list, with Honda and Toyota taking the top spots, followed by Lexus, Mazda and Subaru. Of the 38 brands listed last year, Fiat ranked 35th on the list, with Renault, Land Rover and Chrysler/Dodge filling the bottom and garnering a "Very Poor" rating. Jeep came in 29th, just missing the lowest designation, but still walking away with an overall rating of "Poor."
Consumer Reports sums up its findings, "When Daimler-Benz bought Chrysler in 1997, it was billed as 'merger of equals.' The Chrysler and Fiat deal seems to fit that description better." And judging by the course set last week, we might find out if the adage from the '80s, "Fix it again, Tony" holds up in the 21st century.