J.D. Power has released its 2018 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) brands Fiat and Chrysler took two of the bottom three spots, joined by niche SUV brand Range Rover. The Jeep brand ranked fourth worst in the study of 31 brands.
The study is based on problems per 100 vehicles during the past 12 months for original owners of 2015 vehicles. The problems fall into eight categories. J.D. Power added that the research was “based on responses from 36,896 original owners of 2015 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The study was fielded in October-December 2017.” The industry average in the study was 142.
Chrysler’s score was 211, the poorest among all brands. Range Rover finished second from the bottom with a score of 204. Fiat, which often finishes at the bottom of J.D. Power and other car buyers surveys, was third from the bottom with a score of 192. Jeep was fourth from the bottom at 188.
For 2017, Chrysler brand sales fell 19% to 188,545. Fiat brand sales were down 19% to 26,492. Jeep sales were off 11% to 828,522 for the same period. Total Fiat Chrysler sales were down 8% for 2017 to 2,059,376. The Fiat brand was the most improved in the survey, compared to the 2017 results.
Toyota Motor Corp.’s (NYSE: TM) Lexus brand ranked first, with problems per 100 vehicles at 99. Porsche ranked next with 100. No other brand broke the 100 barrier.
Commenting on the study, Jonathan Banks, vice president of Vehicle Analysis and Analytics at J.D. Power, said:
Strong dependability scores not only improve demand for used vehicles, but also are a contributor to higher residual values. Improving dependability ultimately supports new vehicle sales and provides a better perception of the brand.
In terms of brand perception and new vehicle sales, Fiat and Chrysler have a long way to go to close the gap with most other brands.