In an unexpected turn, Alfa Romeo, an Italian luxury brand known for its exhilarating yet not always trouble-free cars, has secured the top spot in JD Power’s Initial Quality report. This is a surprising achievement for the luxury brand, which has historically not been renowned for its reliability. The survey revealed a significant advancement in quality for many automotive brands, reflecting a larger industry transformation.
This development is particularly significant for Stellantis, the automotive conglomerate formed from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and France’s PSA in 2021. All Stellantis brands experienced an improvement in the survey, despite the overall industry facing a downturn. This success underlines Stellantis’s determined quality enhancement initiatives, which have led to better-than-expected scores in these surveys.
The results of this report indicate that auto brands that were previously overlooked due to quality concerns may now offer substantially improved performance. Within the Stellantis group, Dodge topped the list, with Ram, its U.S. truck brand, ranking second. Alfa Romeo saw a remarkable leap of 24 places to third position overall, demonstrating a significant reduction in problems per 100 vehicles.
Although not all Stellantis brands scored highly, the trend clearly points to overall improvement. Chrysler, for instance, managed to climb from last place in 2022 to second from last in this year’s survey. However, it was the only Stellantis brand that scored below the industry average this year, a significant shift from last year when four Stellantis brands, including Ram and Alfa Romeo, were underperforming.
JD Power’s Initial Quality Study surveys owners in the first three months of ownership, evaluating not only technical malfunctions but also features that customers simply do not appreciate. This reflects the modern consumers’ high expectations from their vehicles and the sometimes blurry line between malfunction and poor design.
Alfa Romeo secured the best rank in the industry for the least number of clear malfunctions. Stellantis attributes this enhancement to the combination of best practices from both merged companies to rapidly detect and eradicate issues.
For Alfa Romeo specifically, a significant improvement came from reducing the number of variations and option combinations available for each product, which greatly streamlined the manufacturing process and improved the overall quality of each vehicle.
While the JD Power survey highlights these recent strides, other analysts with different methods might not show such stark improvements. For example, Consumer Reports, which averages results over three years, will take longer to reflect Alfa Romeo’s recent progress. However, the progress noted in the JD Power report is a promising sign for the future of the auto industry.