Fiat: reliability and satisfaction
This week 2 different surveys revealed 2 facts about Fiat that many wouldn’t believe. JD Power asked 83.000 American drivers to evaluate their cars during the first 90 days of ownership. 77 attributes were surveyed in an “Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout” (APEAL) study. Based on how gratifying it is to own and drive the car, the rating is in a 1000-point scale. It measures how appealing the cars are, and according to JD Power, the result has a direct relationship with the possibility of charging more money for the car, and the time the new car stays in the dealership before it is purchased. Manufacturers can charge more money for those vehicles rating more, as consumers just find them attractive. This has a direct impact on the time dealers take to sell them. In this survey the Fiat 500 ranked first in the city car category, which is very good considering that Americans normally don’t appreciate small cars. It performed better than the Chevrolet Spark, Smart, and others, as none of them didn’t even rank above segment average. But it doesn’t mean its result was good enough. In the ranking by brands, Fiat ranked 26th in a list of 33 brands. It did better than Scion and Smart, but is far behind from Mini. Certainly, the 500 has a good appeal, and its lines have captivated Americans, and this is why Fiat can ask a higher price for it, compared to its mainstream rivals. But it could rank better.
Meanwhile, in the UK, the annual ‘What Car? and Warranty Direct used car reliability’ survey showed that Fiat brand isn’t in a bad position. Even if it occupied place # 12 in a list of 38 brands, Fiat was the first European maker. This time, the study included those cars between 3 and 8 years old, and evaluated the reliability of all brands: the number of breakdowns, average repair costs and repair time. Honda ranked first for the 8th consecutive year. 8 out of the 10 first positions were occupied by Asian brands. Fiat performed better than Citroën, Skoda, Peugeot, Seat, Vauxhall, VW, Renault, and all European premiums. The Italian brand was the only European to rank above the average score. Good to know that British drivers don’t have as many problems with a Fiat as anyone could think. The negative side of the survey is that the remaining brands of the group were at the bottom of the list. Jeep, Chrysler and Alfa Romeo ranked 32, 33 and 35 in the list.