JD Power 2014 Initial Quality Survey ResultsBack in the '60s and '70s, Fiat didn't exactly have an enviable reputation for quality. Of course, lack of quality and a tarnished brand reputation eventually saw the Italian automaker flee the market, only to return with the 500 and the larger 500L in the last few years. However, if J.D. Power's Initial Quality Survey for 2014 is to be believed, modern Fiat products haven't improved quite as much as we might have hoped. Fiat thinks that there is a very simple explanation for its poor performance on the annual list, though.

J.D. Power's IQS looks at flaws among autos in the first 90 days that customers own their new vehicles. In 2014, Fiat wasn't only dead last, it was at the back of the pack by a significant margin. The company's cars tallied 206 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) compared to a national average of 116 PP100. Even Jeep, the survey's second-to-last finisher, had 146 PP100. Fiat's performance was pitiful.

However, it can all be explained, at least according to US Fiat boss, Jason Stoicevich, who spoke with Ward's Auto. He qualifies the results by stating that the survey came at a particularly bad time for the brand. It produced very few 2014 500 models to allow extra time to introduce the updated 2015 version. That meant that about 91 percent of its vehicles surveyed were examples of the 500L, "which is a new car where there are always quirks to work through," said Stoicevich to Ward's. With only one model providing data, it skewed the results. Of course, that's all well and good, but it suggests that the larger 500L is even more problematic than the overall brand's 206 problems per 100 vehicles.

Of course, we must again note that the "Q" in "IQS" is something of a misnomer. The J.D. Power survey in question doesn't actually only limit its scope to actual defects in product, it also takes into account aspects of a vehicle that may work as designed, but just not in a way that is to its owners satisfaction. Said another way, a cupholder that doesn't hold a Venti from Starbucks is a debatable "quality issue," at least compared to something like a navigation system that regularly freezes, let alone an actual mechanical malady like a stalling issue.

For his part, Stoicevich is promising a major improvement in next year's scores. His employer has to be careful, though. If it keeps having bottom-of-the-barrel initial quality scores, the old joking acronym about Fiat might haunt the brand in the US again.


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  • 151 Comments
      mykull.see
      • 5 Months Ago
      My wife has a 2014 Fiat 500L Lounge with just over 18500 km (just under 12k miles). It went through an extremely harsh Montreal winter flawlessly. This has to be one of the most fun cars I've driven in a while. Other than a recall to reflash the DDCT transmission software, we have had 0 issues. The quirkiness is why we picked this over a Kia Soul (another great little car). We expect a lot out of this car since it is priced higher than a "similar" Korean/Japanese/NA and it has delivered in comfort (easily fits a toddler seat and all other bags/toys we lug around), fuel economy and always puts a smile on anyone who rides with us. I would give this a perfect score for initial Quality. I truly recommend anyone interested in this type of vehicle to drive it for a few days (to get used to some of the non-standard way Fiat this things). I truly believe you will not regret the test drive.
        Jesus!
        • 5 Months Ago
        @mykull.see
        Go watch the offset crash test of the Soul. You wont find it so great then.
        r_dezi
        • 5 Months Ago
        @mykull.see
        The thing is this Fiat 500 is even quirky for Fiat standards and they sell the 2 most quirky Fiats for North America as the rest of the 'normal' Fiats Punto, Panda, Bravo, Qubo etc. are sold else where around world.
      Kenya
      • 5 Months Ago
      I have a 2012 fiat abarth purchased new , with 24000 miles on it , and the car has been flawless . I would not change one thing about it. why are people talking about fiat of 40 years ago ? 40 years ago there was a lot of **** out there ! you think maybe the technology of today has made things better. you remember Found On Road Dead or Fix Or Repair Daily ? todays fords are good cars . I had a 2001 audi TT Quattro coupe purchased new and during the 3 1/2 years I had the car , it had 20 unscheduled service stops ! I took a beating on the resale also . the nature of this survey is ridiculous . if a car makes fart noises from its exaust and someone doesn't like it is that a reliability problem ? some people might like fart noises. I think the fix it again tony people need to get current and get familiar with the fiat of today .
      Geneo56
      • 5 Months Ago
      You all need to consider the source of money that puts out this data. JD Power is a for profit company..... as division of McGraw Hill Financial . They get their income from the auto companies. They ask a series of questions of car owners and then throw out the ones that make an auto company that pays them look bad. That is how their money is made and that is why their surveys mean nothing. i am a stock holder in McGraw Hill that owns JD Power and that is how it is done. I have a 2012 FIAT 500. Has it been perfect? NO. One of the remote keys needed to be replaced because you had to be right up to the car for it to unlock the door. Lets see..the FIAT badge on the rear of car fades a bit and they replaced the front and the back one. A small piece of rubberized material on the drivers window switch flaked off. That is it. I bet I could find a problem with any car out there that is 2 years old. I am very picky and the FIAT is at least the same quality as any Toyota which always scores high and pays for it to JD Power. Toyota builds great cars..... I have owned 4 of them and still have one now.
      dacelbot
      • 5 Months Ago
      There is something very wrong with a reliability survey that puts BMW ahead of Honda and Chrysler/Dodge ahead of... Well, anyone.
        Jay
        • 5 Months Ago
        @dacelbot
        This isn't a reliability study. It's initial quality which also includes customer complaints about usage of things like NAV and other electronics in the car. It's not surprising BMW is ahead of Honda in this area if you look at the details. BMW drivers are probably more technical than Honda drivers and more of a car people in general. Plus the electronics in the newer BMW's are very intuitive and don't require going through menus to do things like turn on seat heaters or adjust HVAC.
      reattadudes
      • 5 Months Ago
      what I find funniest (as always) with posters here is the one question I want to ask: do YOU own a FIAT????? I didn't think so. thanks for your two cents worth, peanut gallery. I DO own a FIAT 500, and it will be three years old in just a few months. it now has 72,000 miles on the odometer. other than regular oil changes every 3,000 miles, it has not had one single problem. not one squeak or rattle, not one trim issue, not one electrical problem, not one engine problem. my weighted average fuel economy for the entire time I've owned the car is 42.6 miles per gallon. is my experience unique? no, it isn't. I travel quite a bit, and have had my car serviced at FIAT dealers in 11 states. in every case, the dealer service departments are empty, with the exception of cars in for routine maintenance. perhaps its time you move out of the 70s, and put "fix it again, Tony" to rest. I have five vehicles that are less than two years old, and get Power surveys for each one. what I find fascinating is how different each one is, depending on vehicle make. questions for domestics are many times trick questions, while questions for Power's favorite brand, Toyota, are skewed toward more positive, complimentary answers. I've never owned a Toyota or Honda (and never will), but I have several friends who did ask me to fill out the surveys for them. I laid them side by side to the ones for my FIAT, and even they were amazed at the difference in questions. another good example of skewing results can found in the "small timer's bible", Consumer Reports. they ask people who know nothing about cars very precise questions of which they have no knowledge. for example, if their kid puts a Pop Tart in the DVD player and it no longer functions, then we have an "electrical problem", right?
        Scott
        • 5 Months Ago
        @reattadudes
        I worked for FIAT and could not get past the horrible materials and build quality, (or the many service issues that many owners never knew about), so no I have not owned one, couldn't get past my initial impression, but I do have extensive knowledge and experience with them thank you. I think you are like many of the jaded die hard fans who will not admit to the true isses with their beloved brand (i know, i've been there, you will never here me say a bad thing about my beloved 83 Rx-7 or 84 GTI), but lets be honest here, they are very basic at best and DO have a fair share of issues. And this comment proves it "not one squeak or rattle", you cannot even drive a FIAT brand new from a dealer and say this, I dare anyone to try.
        Jesus!
        • 5 Months Ago
        @reattadudes
        Well a good friend of mine has owned one, piece of junk. Emblems fading needed replacing, armrest broke, had to replace the ENTIRE driver seat assembly because it is part of it. Tire pressure monitoring system never worked right. That's the issues I remember. He had so much trouble with it, Fiat PAID him for his trouble. He dumped that turd and has not looked back. I am sure some people have good experiences but these cars are mostly crap.
          reattadudes
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Jesus!
          the emblems were a recall item, only on the early cars. I'd love to know how that armrest broke; I weight almost 300 pounds, and mine is as tight as it was the day I got the car. and any dealer who replaced an entire seat just because the armrest was "bad" would have the warranty claim denied by FIAT. its a very simple car, and everything comes apart easily if you know what you're doing. the tire pressure monitoring system works perfectly, IF you understand the reason the light is on; i.e., A TIRE IS LOW. mine has come on twice, the second time just yesterday. guess what? a tire was low. I agree with aatbloke1967; total. unadulterated BS. and if these cars are "mostly crap", why is this alleged anger and disappointment not reflected in the numerous FIAT blogs all over the internet?
          aatbloke1967
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Jesus!
          BS from start to finish. Seriously, you children. Meanwhile, in the real world, everyone I've spoken with in the States has been nothing but enchanted with their cars. And two dealerships I speak with fairly regularly - one in Ohio, the other in Pennsylvania, are both about to build larger dealerships to accommodate more inventory as well as the imminent arrival of Alfa Romeo.
        Herbie
        • 5 Months Ago
        @reattadudes
        You have five vehicles and you drive your FIAT 24,000 miles a year. Okay.......
          Ron
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Herbie
          exactly, he is full of crap.
        Ron
        • 5 Months Ago
        @reattadudes
        I owned two of them, and they were complete ****. The interior quality was terrible, materials were terrible, fit and finish was terrible, They both suffered electrical issues, quality issues with switches, and for some damn reason the alternators kept dying. Save it. Fiats have been shitty for 30 years, and they are still shitty today.
          aatbloke1967
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Ron
          Interesting that in the real world, one never hears of such atrocities.
        SquareFour
        • 5 Months Ago
        @reattadudes
        In other words, you love your FIAT. Good for you. Carry on.
      Kris Kris
      • 5 Months Ago
      Not that FIAT has stellar reputation for quality, but JD Power methodology sucks.
        SquareFour
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Kris Kris
        True. Probably best not to pay much attention to anything J.D. Power.
      Mr Sled
      • 5 Months Ago
      Had one as a rental in San Francisco. Had to have the "Sport" button on the whole time as the steering was too light out on the highway. I would rent one again. It's fun to drive like riding a moped is fun. Low, but accessible limits... quirky enough to be interesting, and got very decent mileage. I had no troubles with the bluetooth. Really, didn't have any complaints either. It was a Fiat 500.
      Revis Goodworth
      • 5 Months Ago
      You can't take Dead Common out of Dead Common. You can put lipstick on a pig, but you'll find it is still a pig. And you can take Fiat from 1972 and put it into 2014 and it is still 1972.
      Worx2749
      • 5 Months Ago
      Fiats were junk in the 60's and 70's and, apparently, nothing has changed.
        x19x19
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Worx2749
        But they had personality and were fun to drive, albeit not long distances or on salted roads. The eastern European steel used would immediately disintegrate when exposed to road salt. Wish I still had mine.
      Larry Litmanen
      • 5 Months Ago
      But Jeep is also owned by Fiat and it is second to last. Dodge is also below average. Let's face it, Chrysler was a horrible company that needed to die, it was purchased by a company that is slightly more successful and this is the result. Trash married Trash and 500L is the baby. Fix it Again Tony
        ChaosphereIX
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Larry Litmanen
        wow you are talking about something other than GM! Good for you Larry! keep on trollin brother....
          ChaosphereIX
          • 5 Months Ago
          @ChaosphereIX
          ....and I see you are utilizing ALL of your accounts/associates to downvote me every time I post. I am not phased. Keep the hate rollin brother, I will troll you back every time you troll on these forums. You never, ever add constructively to any topic and just spread the hate towards everything your employer does not make. This is a crusade, and I will win. Now FEED ME THOSE NEGATIVE VOTES!!!
      Tom Kerekanich
      • 5 Months Ago
      I HATE MINE! Awful piece of crap. the transmission is the worst.. The computer system is horrible, the Ac is substandard, even the floor matts, after less than a year look like they have been around for 20 years. I am taking it in one last time then trying to use Ohio's lemon law to give it back.
      Teleny411
      • 5 Months Ago
      Sergio is a numbers man. The need a car guy/gal to ride rough shod overboard/Chrysler. Fiat also badly needs more vehicles. Modernized , spot on, 600d, 850 coupe, 124 sedan/spider. It's not rocket science. Build one good platform
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