Autos

Jeep, Dodge Quality Rank Near Bottom of Customer Satisfaction Study

Chrysler and its brands often rank at the bottom of car quality surveys, which include, among others, industry research leader J.D. Power. This has not affected sales. Chrysler continues to grow a rate that is the envy of the industry. Once again, it lost out. This time it was beaten up in the new American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), as two of Chrysler’s brands, Jeep and Dodge, were near the bottom

The industry did poorly in general in the new study. Among approximately 70,000 people surveyed, it had a grade of only 82 out of a possible 100. Honda Motor Co. Ltd.’s (NYSE: HMC) Acura luxury brand turned in a score of 77. Dodge was at 78 and Jeep at 79. Mercedes was at the top of the list with a grade of 86, followed by Subaru at 85.

July was the 52nd consecutive month in which Chrysler had year-over-year sales gains. Sales for the month rose 20% and were the best July numbers since 2005, reaching 167,667. Ironically, Jeep’s rating in the ACSI has not been reflected at all in sales:

Jeep brand sales were up 41 percent, the brand’s best ever sales in the month of July. The brand’s 41 percent increase was the largest percentage sales gain of any Chrysler Group brand for the month. The Jeep brand has set a sales record in each month this year, including the all-time sales record in May. The Jeep Wrangler, with its 14 percent year-over-year increase, had its best ever sales in the month of July. Sales of the all-new Jeep Cherokee were up 11 percent compared with sales in the previous month of June.

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Dodge did not do as well, but sales of several of its vehicles advanced nicely:

Dodge brand sales were up 3 percent in July, the brand’s best July sales since 2005. Sales of the Dodge Dart increased 23 percent, the compact car’s best ever sales in the month of July. The Dart’s increase was the largest percentage sales gain of any Dodge brand model in the month. The Dart has set a sales record in each of the past three months, including its best sales month ever in May. Sales of the Dodge Journey were up 10 percent, the mid-size crossover’s best sales in the month of July. The Journey has set a sales record in each of the past six months, including an all-time monthly sales record in March. Sales of the Dodge Challenger muscle car were up 1 percent, its best sales ever in the month of July. The Dodge Grand Caravan minivan and Dodge Charger each logged year-over-year sales increases in the month of July.

The Dodge Ram pickup ranked fourth among all U.S. vehicles in total sales through seven months, and those sales have risen 18.8%. Rival Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE: F) F-150 sales have risen 0.3% over the same period. And sales of the Ram’s other primary rival, General Motors Co.’s (NYSE: GM) Chevy Silverado, have fallen 0.7% for the seven months.

Chrysler has also caught Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) in terms of total U.S. sales through the first seven months, a position that was unimaginable a few years ago.

The ACSI study and Jeep and Dodge sales show that many consumers ignore car research altogether.

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