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FCA tops annual Total Quality Index study

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles tops the U.S. auto industry in overall quality, according to an annual study from San Diego-based research consultancy firm Strategic Vision.

It is the first time FCA US LLC, formerly Chrysler, has topped the annual “Total Quality Index” since the company started the study in 1995. The results were based on data from more than 46,000 buyers who purchased 2015 models from October-December.

“FCA has incrementally risen from one segment leader in 2010 to six segment leaders in 2015,” said Strategic Vision Senior Vice President Christopher Chaney in a release. “Though at Strategic Vision we often preach about looking forward, it’s hard to not be in admiration of the turn-around achieved by FCA (Chrysler) company employees.”

Segment leaders included the Fiat 500, Fiat 500e, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and Dodge Durango. The Ram Truck brand also topped best non-luxury brand.

FCA scored 859, followed by Volkswagen Group of America and General Motors Co. tying at 858 to round out the top three.

“Our unwavering commitment to the highest level of quality as a company is being recognized on a national level while our world-class vehicle lineup continues to attract new customers as well as those who have been purchasing our products for years,” said Matt Liddane, FCA North America vice president of quality, in a statement.

At the model level, the highest 2015 Total Quality score was achieved by the MINI Cooper Roadster, with another significant winner being the Chevrolet Colorado leading the standard pickup segment as the first domestic leader in over a decade.

The study, according to Strategic Vision President Alexander Edwards, differs from others because it not only measures problems, but also includes over 155 specific aspects of the customer’s experience.

“When defining quality, we listen and measure everything the customer communicates and capture it in a calculation that is converted to a 1,000-point scale called the Total Quality Index score,” he said in a statement. “It represents the future in understanding what motivates the customer.”

Strategic Vision’s study comes less than a week before J.D. Power releases its 19th annual Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, which last year ranked all of Fiat Chrysler’s brands besides Ram below industry average.

APEAL has owners evaluate their vehicle across 77 attributes, which also combine into an overall score that is measured on a 1,000-point scale. Last year, more than 86,000 buyers participated in the study.

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