Jesus Fucking Christ. How many times do we have to go through this? They don't make crummy cars! For 2008, JD Power ranked Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge 2 out of 5 stars for OVERALL INITIAL QUALITY (that's quality off of the line, not durability or resale value). You know who else ranked the same? Saab (GM), Mini (BMW), and Scion (Toyota). Hardly "crummy" brands. You know who ranked higher by one? BMW, Mercury (dead), Hummer (dead), Jaguar (dead), and Volkswagon, the marque that every "kill Detroit!" mofo likes to cite as the type of cars we should build in the US. The only brand to get 5/5 was Porsche. The next closest were all luxury brands like MB, Lexus, and even Acura didn't make 4/5.
I hate to break it to you, but JD Power means absolutely jack. Getting paid by the companies you review is bullshit, and even Consumer Reports won't allow reference to them. Which means Detroit couldn't even buy their way into JD Power they're so bad. So, let's veer around bogus rating standards and get some objective information.
Speaking of CR, they do a lovely review of the ACTUAL quality of American cars.
"a quarter of GM models are still well below average in reliability"
"Chrysler trails the pack. Almost two-thirds of its products rate below average for reliability. The redesigned 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans earned low scores, as did the Chrysler Sebring V6 and Dodge Avenger sedans and the Jeep Liberty SUV. The Sebring Convertible has the worst score: 283 percent worse than average. The only above-average models are the Dodge Caliber hatchback and Jeep Patriot SUV.
But, suppose you said to hell with getting your money's worth, and saunter over to The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety to check out the safest cars. You'd find that your Sebring from just last year is a veritable death trap.
One thing those unreliable, unsafe American cars have going for them is their mileage. Almost all of their tiny cars get decent ratings, which is too bad since long before the wheels fall off at 50,000 miles you've probably died in a fiery wreck.
Finally, brand loyalty is strong with American cars, but instead of capitalizing on that to innovate and be market leaders, they resist any improvements in fuel economy for large cars and safety and emissions standards for all cars. Despite evidence to the contrary in Japan, Europe, and even the cars they themselves sell in Europe, they fear-monger an impossible downfall of the industry for seatbelts and catalytic converters. For a sampling of these instances, check here, here, and here. I could go on, but you get the point.
So, I guess in the end, you're right...Detroit is faltering not because they make crummy cars and rely entirely on customer loyalty, they're faltering because they oppose every safety, fuel economy, emissions and innovative design aspect forged over the last 30 years. I suppose "abysmal" or "inexcusable" would be other adjectives I should have used.
RE: Chrysler shuts down all production - Dec. 17, 2008