What brands make the best vehicles? Consumer Reports has released its annual list. Fiat, a perennial bottom dweller in auto quality surveys, took last place, as its sales in the United States continue to struggle.
The ratings were based on Consumer Reports testing and polling about 640,000 cars measured on “reliability and owner satisfaction.” Researchers described the methodology:
Brands are ranked based on the average Overall Score for all of their current tested models. The Overall Score is a composite of the road-test score and the predicted reliability and owner satisfaction ratings from our Annual Auto Survey.
Safety features, such as standard forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, are also factored into the score.
A brand must have at least two current models that have been tested by CR to be included in our rankings. Maserati and Smart lacked sufficient data to be included.
Along with J.D. Power, the results are among the most carefully followed by car buyers and affect many purchase decisions.
Notably, another Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) brand — Jeep — held the next to the bottom place among the 34 brands measured. Fiat Chrysler’s Alpha Romeo was fourth from the bottom, with Range Rover holding the third from the bottom position.
The top position was taken by Hyundai’s luxury Genesis brand, followed by Volkswagen’s Audi, BMW and the Toyota luxury brand Lexus.
After a sharp drop in sales during 2017, Fiat began 2018 badly. Sales of the brand dropped 43% to 1,129. Fiat barely counts as a niche brand in America. It is a wonder Fiat Chrysler spends money to support marketing and a dealer network. Fiat dealers must be worried about whether the brand has a future at all in the United States.
For Fiat, the results are another blow to a brand that cannot afford more damage.