Fiat isn’t exactly known for stellar build quality and reliability and is the main reason why the Italian automaker disappeared from the US market a while back. Now that Fiat’s back, according to the most recent 2014 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, Fiat still hasn’t exactly improved. When the study was released, Fiat was dead last with over 206 problems per 100 vehicles, compared to the national average of 116 problems per 100 vehicles.
Though Fiat stands by the quality of their cars and points out several flaws among the J.D. Power study. After speaking with Jason Stoicevich, Fiat’s US boss, Ward’s Auto learned that the survey was a case of bad timing, saying that very few 2014 500 models were produced, allowing for extra time to introduce updated 2015 versions. Basically, 91% of the cars sampled were the new 500L, which is a new model and being a new introductory model, there will always be “quirks to work through.” This is a valid point, but this would also lead to the other deduction that the 500L is still a problematic vehicle.
There’s also another flaw with the J.D. Power study–the ambiguous meaning of “quality” in the IQS name. The survey doesn’t quite take into account actual defects, but it also considers customer complaints, which at the end of the day, could just be owners who aren’t satisfied with the function of their vehicle because they don’t understand it.
Either way, Stoicevich said that Fiat will be working towards major improvements for next year’s study.
Source: Ward’s Auto