Special Report

This Is America's Worst Car Brand

The car industry has been transformed over the past three years. First, the COVID-19 pandemic robbed manufacturers and dealers of their potential customers, sometimes for months. Then, parts shortages began to undermine inventory levels. Lower inventory meant higher prices. Regardless of the problems car manufacturers faced, some continued to produce better cars than others, and America’s worst car brand is Chrysler.

One major problem the industry continues to face is part shortages. At the core of this problem is a low supply of the chips used in car electronics and infotainment systems. Car industry executives do not expect this problem to lessen until next year. Ironically, one of the primary complaints about modern cars is their complex driving and navigation systems. (These are the most popular cars in the world.)

The new J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study for 2022 was just released. This is the 36th year it has been completed. Quality rankings dropped for most brands, and complex car technology was among the reasons. David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power, commented: “Automakers continue to launch vehicles that are more and more technologically complex in an era in which there have been many shortages of critical components to support them.”

The new study is based on responses from 84,165 84,165 purchasers and lessees from February through May of this year of people who were driving 2022 model-year vehicles. 

The survey has 223 questions, which are organized into nine categories: 1. infotainment, 2. features, controls and displays, 3. exterior, 4. driving assistance, 5. interior, 6. powertrain, 7. seats, 8. driving experience, and 9. climate.

Car brands were ranked on problems per 100 vehicles over the early period of ownership. Mass market cars averaged 175 problems. Premium cars averaged 196 problems. The reason for the higher number of problems is that premium cars have more complex technology, which has a tendency to have problems. The overall industry average was 180 problems per 100 vehicles. 

The brand with the worst rating was Chrysler with 265 problems per 100 vehicles. The brand is owned by European auto giant Stellantis, which also owns Fiat, Jeep, Opel, Maserati, RAM, and Peugeot. Chrysler was once one of America’s largest independent car companies, founded by Walter Chrysler in 1925. (Also, see this is the longest lasting car on the road.)

Click here to see America’s worst car brand

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