Dodge just made history as the first American automaker to rank first in the annual J.D. Power Initial Quality Study.
The company is tied with Korean automaker Kia in the IQS, each tallying an average of 136 problems in the first 90 days of ownership per 100 units of its models.
Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles showed great overall performance as it jumped seven places from last year. It is also the first time FCA scored better than the industry average. Ram also showed a huge improvement in third place after ranking 21st in the previous year.
The IQS is one of J.D. Power’s annual surveys. It aims to measure the quality of new vehicles by calculating the number of problems reported per 100 units in the first 90 days of ownership. J.D. Power refers to this as PP100. A low PP100 number means higher quality for the brand or model.
Other wins for the 2020 IQS include the Chevrolet Sonic’s Highest Initial Quality Model recognition with a PP100 score of 103, the lowest for this year. The Kia Sedona, on the other hand, was listed as the highest-ranked minivan while the Ford Ranger was the highest-ranked midsize pickup. Among the light-duty trucks, the Toyota Tundra ranked the highest.
Some of the problems included in the measurement of quality are the poorly assembled parts, faulty electric connection, or some quirk of the HMI. The wide scope of what J.D. Power considers as problems affect a brand’s IQS score and could also be a reason why rankings change drastically for some automakers.
In 2019, Dodge also ranked first among American brands in the Consumer Reports reliability study due to the improvements in the Challenger and Grand Caravan.
FCA spokesperson Eric Mayne told the online magazine Car and Driver that it could be attributed to the company’s “component-level approach to quality.”
“These outcomes are the result of an intense, ongoing, company-wide effort to prevent issues from getting to the customer and responding with the right urgency and resolution when they do,” Mark Champine, head of quality at FCA North America, said.
Tesla, however, did not allow J.D. Power to conduct surveys on its products, so the startup wasn’t officially ranked. But per 100 cars from Tesla, about 250 problems were recorded in the first three months of ownership. This number is significantly higher than the industry average for 2020 which was 166.