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A quick glance at recent Consumer Reports or JD Power data shows that the Pentastar has a big problem on its hands, but the new Chrysler says that will change in a big way by the end of 2012. Chrysler is planning to be a quality leader in only three years by dramatically increasing staffing levels in its quality team while working to dramatically clean up its engineering processes. Just one year ago, there were only 200 staff members on the quality team. Chrysler is now hiring 200 additional workers and shifting head count to beef up its quality team to over 1,700.

Quality boss Doug Betts, who was hired from Nissan during the Cerberus acquistion, tried to address quality before the automaker descended into bankruptcy, but Chrysler's woeful money situation led to the postponement of the Pentastar's long overdue quality renaissance. With bankruptcy in the rearview mirror and Fiat's full blessing to dig deep to fix Chrysler's competitive disadvantages, Betts now has the tools needed to make drastic changes. And some progress has already been made.

For starters, Chrysler has cut per-vehicle spending by $240 million, and warranty spending is down 30 percent to an all-time low. In 2008, 75 percent of all quality problems were design issues, and that number has reportedly dropped to 50 percent this year though better engineering. The factory floor is also receiving attention, as Chrysler is adopting Fiat's "world class" manufacturing system.

Chrysler has also made several departmental shifts to give workers more autonomy to make changes faster. In the past, problems were shifted from one department to another, resulting in an average delay of 71 days to fix a problem. Now cross-departmental teams are organized by 14 vehicle groups, like brakes or transmissions instead of by model alone. Many of the quality fixes will occur as Chrysler unveils new or heavily updated products between now and 2013. The Detroit News reports that 75 percent of all models will receive heavy duty attention within the next 14 months, and all vehicles will be updated by 2013.

[Source: Detroit News | Image Source: Bill Pugliano/Getty]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Peter u think like a calculator. But u must use your brain.You must consider the situation to understand a mere piece of paper. Fiat had a bad reputation in England because before Marchionne the assistence was terrible, possibly the worst fiat's assistence network. Now he changed the network. For that reason fiat in england in 2008 sold just 3000 cars a mont (not a good number for statistic Peter right?) Now fiat in England is selling 50% more (compared with 2008) and with the crisis going on. So before reading a piece of paper like a robot,Peter, try to understand the data with the brain and the multiple situations
        • 5 Years Ago
        Why Guneeya... have you any knowledge of a foreing language yourself?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Let me guess.... before posting your comment here you first entered it in Babelfish, translated it to Korean, then translated back to English again.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have owned a lot of Chryslers. A mixed bag of reliability. That is, some were average. One however was perfect through the 113,000 miles I drove it...hard, too.
      • 5 Years Ago
      ...to be quality leader by 2012, building flying fuel cell cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I also pledged to actually get some work done today instead of reading Autoblog. But you know...
      • 5 Years Ago
      You guys, the media and overall perception of chrysler is way off base.

      Same goes for Toyota 180 degrees opposite of Chrysler.

      Chrysler not as bad as people make them out to be, Toyota not as good.

      My Chrysler products I`ve owned have been on par if not better than other makes I`ve owned.

      Sure Chrysler designs have faltered as of late with a few exceptions.
      Thank you Diamler, the maker of Mercedes Benz.

      I wish the best for Chrysler and if shopping right now would give consideration on their products.

      Their Sebring just beat Toyota out on saftey, go figure!

      In the mid 90s no one had a nicer lot than the Chrysler dealer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      REPORT: Chrysler pledges to be quality leader by 2012


      *Ahem*.... On a more serious note, that's hilarious. Oh Autoblog, how do you come up with these delightful titles?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I believe most of the people here don't have a clue what they are talking about, with all due respect.

      Forget about Chrysler, the old Chrysler is gone, it doesn't exist anymore.
      This is a new company with the Chrysler badge on it.

      The idea that Chrysler and quality don't go together is just something very naive to say, since you are talking about a company that doesn't exist anymore (although technically is the same).

      When Marchionne took over FIAT few years ago, FIAT was in a worse condition than Chrysler.
      FIAT was the least reliable car maker in Europe and its market share was shrinking every year.
      Marchionne changed FIAT philosophy and focused on quality, a concept totally unknown to FIAT management until then.

      In few years not only FIAT dropped the label of least reliable car maker, but now their cars are steady in the middle of the table, and let's not forget that FIAT still makes cheap cars, and for a car maker which builds Pandas, to challenge BMW in terms of reliability is a big achievement, don't you agree?
      The last 5 years, FIAT is the car maker who won most European Car of the Year awards.
      Also this year FIAT is the European car maker which had the biggest market share increase of them all (in Europe), and that's because now, unlikely few years ago, FIAT makes beatiful cars, solidly built and most importantly cheap.

      You guys are understimating Marchionne, which is more of a visionary than your average CEO.
      HE made a miracle with FIAT, expect him to resuscitate Chrysler too.
      FIAT-Chrysler will be one of the top 5 car manufacturers in the world in the next 5 years.
      Watch this space.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Typical corporate spin but they might as well have named this "Don't buy a Chrysler/Dodge product until at least 2013."
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sounds as good as a political promise
        • 5 Years Ago
        Can't. Stop. Laughing!

        Clearly, Fiat has no sense of reality.

        You can't become a quality leader with obsolete designs. Quality needs to be designed into the car from the beginning, and you just can't turn things around in 3 years.

        Try 5.

        And Ford's been playing at the quality game for longer than that.

        Can't see it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Dakotart: "they CAN'T build quality vehicles.... they might as well just stop working now."

        • 5 Years Ago
        These guys at Chrysler are f*cking delirious.

        It's good to ambitious goals. But to THE QUALITY LEADER is ludicrous. Especially since most of the new new Chrysler vehicles in 2012 are still going to be from the old crappy Chrysler.

        Maybe a good interim goal would be to be at industry average by 2012, then maybe the domestic leader by 2016 and then (maybe) industry leader by 2020.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Before anyone laughs this off, remember that Hyundai said the same thing in 2001 (thats when the famous 10 year/100,000 miles warranty started), and 5 years past they became the quality leader by topping J.D initial quality of all non-luxury automakers in 2006, beating out Toyota at that time. I'm not saying Chrysler is likely to achieve this goal, but it is possible.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I pledge to become a billionaire and bed at least 80 supermodels by 2012
        • 5 Years Ago
        guys......they are trying to set a benchmark......a goal to work towards. It doesn't mean they will for certain be on top of quality in 2012, its a goal for their employees and the company as a whole to envision themselves achieving.

        If they went by your negative comments, and said they CAN'T build quality vehicles....then they might as well just stop working now.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Honest, I swear!
      • 5 Years Ago
      lol... Wishful thinking anyone?...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah...the day Chrysler is a leader in quality will be the end of the world...
      • 5 Years Ago
      How many pessimistic people here. I can understand ur point of view,but you still don't know Sergio Marchionne; every thing he say will happen. Is Marchionne a magician? Absolutely not, simply he doesn't promise what he can't promise. You all will learn to know him, that's sure
        • 5 Years Ago
        1) We may not know Marchionne, but we do know Chrysler.
        2) All companies want to design and build the highest quality vehicles, but few do, because it is hard.
        3) Chrysler's engineering staff has been decimated and quality starts with design.
        4) Chrysler's quality is very poor now. To go from very poor to top quality in three years is a very hard thing for any company to do. It is even harder when you are starting with a company that has been so thoroughly gutted and demoralized as Chrysler.
        5) FIAT itself is not at the top of the quality charts to being with.

        I do want Chrysler to succeed. I really do. But I don't think they have any chance of matching the highest quality standards in three years. Chrysler has been saying for decades about how they were designing better cars -- "just wait three years." They haven't delivered.
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