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Old 04-14-2010, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
13,389 posts, read 42,724,996 times
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Let me ask a slightly off-topic question - something seemed to happen to build quality right around 2006 - before then, seemed like Chrysler build quality was at least good. After about 2006, something seemed to go wrong. Whether this has been since turned around is another question.

The "2006" question comes mostly from a couple of work colleagues, who bought 2000-2005 Chryslers, then "upgraded" in 06 or 07, to their considerable grief - the newer cars had a lot of small problems, trim falling off, that kind of crap - while the older cars seemed to be more solid.

Realizing, of course, 2 cars are not a statistically significant sample of 2007 to present output...
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
10,715 posts, read 22,330,588 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
Let me ask a slightly off-topic question - something seemed to happen to build quality right around 2006 - before then, seemed like Chrysler build quality was at least good. After about 2006, something seemed to go wrong. Whether this has been since turned around is another question.

The "2006" question comes mostly from a couple of work colleagues, who bought 2000-2005 Chryslers, then "upgraded" in 06 or 07, to their considerable grief - the newer cars had a lot of small problems, trim falling off, that kind of crap - while the older cars seemed to be more solid.

Realizing, of course, 2 cars are not a statistically significant sample of 2007 to present output...
I think at that point Daimler AG had already gave up on chrysler and knew it was heading into hard times so they just gave up on quality control and just slapped together cars because they knew they were going to ditch the company anyways
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:08 PM
 
Location: The canyon (with my pistols and knife)
12,994 posts, read 17,122,083 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
Let me ask a slightly off-topic question - something seemed to happen to build quality right around 2006 - before then, seemed like Chrysler build quality was at least good. After about 2006, something seemed to go wrong. Whether this has been since turned around is another question.

The "2006" question comes mostly from a couple of work colleagues, who bought 2000-2005 Chryslers, then "upgraded" in 06 or 07, to their considerable grief - the newer cars had a lot of small problems, trim falling off, that kind of crap - while the older cars seemed to be more solid.

Realizing, of course, 2 cars are not a statistically significant sample of 2007 to present output...
One reason why is, in 2005, Daimler ordered Chrysler to cut interior development costs by 40%, unconditionally. This is the main reason why. The only way you can reduce costs that much is either by decontenting the vehicles, or finding the cheapest materials possible to build with.

Quote:
For more than a year, it has been clear that Chrysler lost the plot on interior design, opting for cheap looking materials on all of its new vehicles. Memo to Mr. Nardelli. The designers didn’t procure interior materials that look like they were from a 1994 Hyundai parts bin because they thought it looked hip. They did it because former COO Wolfgang Bernhard and CEO Dieter Zetsche told executives they had to take 40% of the cost out of the interiors regardless of the outcome. The result is a flock of products that have been panned by consumers in J.D. Power APEAL ratings, which judge such aspects of the vehicles.”
Another reason why is because Daimler ordered Chrysler to change its CATIA from V4 to V5 right in the middle of the design process for Chrysler's compact and mid-size vehicles. CATIA V5 is incompatible with CATIA V4, so Chrysler designers and engineers had to rebuild their vehicles from scratch on V5 without enough time extension. This is yet another reason why Chrysler's compact and mid-size cars all seem half-baked. Here's a passage from Bob Sheaves, a former Chrysler engineer:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Sheaves
...Daimler was forcing a change to CATIA v5 onto Chrysler. Moving to v5 of CATIA may sound like a small change; in simple terms, v5 went back to v3 methods of generating data to design the vehicle, under Mercedes-developed operational rules—the manner of data organization, the manner of using the functions, etc. This is one of the problems the late Freightliner would painfully face later.

There was one catch—v3 had been out of the picture since 1990/1991 at Chrysler, and the people that knew how to use v3 did not exist any more—v3 was obsolete. There were not enough trained engineers within Chrysler, not within the Metro area, not within the US, not within the world, in the quantity needed. On top of this, the software was notoriously unstable and did not "co-operate" with version 4 data (Daimler was to soon find this out in a public blowup on the Airbus super airliner, the A380, through EADS, from which the Airbus program has still not recovered).

To use v5, you had to train all the people involved how to use the tools, including the people that trained others, all over again, including the inherent mistakes (not intentional ones, but I am sure that was also an issue, due to the overbearing attitude in mandating this software) that come from the learning curve of the tools you were expected to use. A group of people were brought in from the aerospace industry (Boeing, primarily) and dumped into the needed design positions, but these poor guys had no idea what they were getting into.

The net result was the programs (both C and D cars) failed miserably, due to the combination of CATIA v5, program management’s lack of direction, irreversable points and decisions, incompatible and incomplete understanding of requirements of the tools and program, and incompatible manufacturing parameters (Mitsu vs. Chrysler methods), and had to be completely restarted (for the design process—the development mule data was still valid, up to a point).

To be usable most 3D data had to be totally rebuilt —none of which helped the image of the Americans to the Germans. Fingers were pointed and as usual, the German fingers were longer, causing those that raised the most ruckus, the people in TCC that knew and told everyone in management it would not work, to be "absorbed" into the main IT group of DCX...a group of PC weenies that had no idea how to build a car. TCC (Technical Computing Center) was made of guys like me (design engineers) that had been later trained in the computer stuff — a support group that understood not only how to design a vehicle, but also how to explain the tools to the end user, provide training, and help out in small projects. TCC was, at best, a group of maybe 150 people, versus all of Vehicle Engineering of over 6,000 people. TCC simply did not have the staff to perform as a complete design group.

The redesign of the Stratus and Sebring (as well as the "new" Caliber, Compass, Patriot, etc.) was done on the fly and in a much shorter time than Daimler had allowed, but still, it was not enough time to redo everything that needed to be "fixed" on the cars. Chrysler guys knew it (the few that remained and stuck it out), Deiter knew it, and the DCX board was made aware of it. They would never gain the level of control that they wanted, so they gave what was left of Chrysler away—so they could say it was all someone else's problem.

The terms rape, pillage, and plunder really do describe the mess that caused probably the most noted destruction of a carline ever.
The sentences highlighted in RED are also a rebuttal for the quote below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTOlover View Post
I think at that point Daimler AG had already gave up on chrysler and knew it was heading into hard times so they just gave up on quality control and just slapped together cars because they knew they were going to ditch the company anyways
Entirely false. Daimler was going to ditch the company because they couldn't admit that they didn't know how the hell to run a volume automaker properly. Daimler caused Chrysler to fall into hard times by flagrantly interfering with product development.
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Old 04-15-2010, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,720 posts, read 24,618,407 times
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Gnutella - you make a lot of excuses for Chrysler. The Daimler impact surely wasn't good.

But profitable or not - The mid-90s Chysler vehicles were not as good you think they were. The competition was advancing faster than Chrylser. The Caravan's industry leading category broke down every time a transmission failed. And the first Honda as really an Isuzu, replaced with the real Odyssey. The Sienna+Odyssey sealed the fate of the Caravan as no longer innovative or reliable.

The NEON was successful because it was cheap. What genius thought it was smart to sell a Dodge NEON and a Plymouth NEON?

The Durango was even thirstier and rougher than other mid-size - especially the Explorer. Then Toyota produced the 4Runner, and others came along. The Durango stayed crude.

The Dakota's V8 was a bandaid for an otherwise underpowered truck. It straddled the mid-vs-full size truck market.

Before the Ram - how long had the Dodge truck remained unchanged? 10-15 years?

Grand Cherokee buyers, like Wrangler buyers, for a while didn't seem to car about reliability for many years. But that only works when there aren't good alternatives. GCs have long lost their specialness when moms started buying them to carry kids instead of going camping. Then reliability is much more important.
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Old 04-15-2010, 09:33 AM
 
Location: NYC & NJ
747 posts, read 2,210,147 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnutella View Post
Chrysler didn't get complacent in the early 1990's. They bought AMC in 1987, and were adjusting, figuring out which assets of AMC were worth using and which ones were not. This reevaluation process tends to cost extra money, and also delay product development by a couple of years. This is why Chrysler's product lineup became stale by 1991, but then had a string of successes beginning with the Dodge Viper in 1992.
Please. You make some good points, but the revisionist history is getting a bit stale. Chrysler's financial position was extremely precarious in the early 1990s, through no one's fault but its own. Yes, there was a recession in 1991 but all other carmakers fared much better - and one would expect a well-managed company to survive one of the shortest recessions in modern history.

For all your deification of Iacocca, he might have saved the company once, but he retired leaving the company almost on the verge of bankruptcy. For all your vilification of Eaton, he took this almost bankrupt company and made it one of the most profitable.

Let's not smooth over the cracks in Chrysler's history just to make a point. The LH platform wasn't unofficially labelled "Last Hope" for no reason.
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Old 04-15-2010, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh N. Hills / Houston-Clear Lake
8,156 posts, read 26,425,344 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chadro77 View Post
They only real problamatic Chrysler product I can think of would be the 1998 - 2002 Intrepids with the 2.7 V6. Anybody that thinks they were good engines is plain crazy.
If you pull specs / tolerances year by year, it is obvious the engine was tweaked continuously behind the scenes. In hindsight it looks pretty shady considering its reputation. From what I gather, the internal problems were mostly solved by late 2001, and at that point they also installed an updated PCV system and Mopar-specific coolant. I also believe that basic synthetic oil should've been mandatory, considering the owners manual gives a 7500 mile OCI. However synthetic will be a hard sell for those who are looking for a $20k full size (economy) car.

I have an '03 2.7 with 175k original miles and wouldn't hesitate to buy another one of they still made them. All it takes is maintenance by the book w/ synthetic oil, Mopar-only fluids for everything else + a 100k mile front-end inspection (replacement) of rubber chassis parts. If it makes it to 200k it'll probably need it again.
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Old 04-15-2010, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Metro Washington DC
12,555 posts, read 18,931,506 times
Reputation: 7195
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffdano View Post
But profitable or not - The mid-90s Chysler vehicles were not as good you think they were. The competition was advancing faster than Chrylser. The Caravan's industry leading category broke down every time a transmission failed. And the first Honda as really an Isuzu, replaced with the real Odyssey. The Sienna+Odyssey sealed the fate of the Caravan as no longer innovative or reliable.
Seals whose fate? Last I hear Chrysler / Dodge minivans combined were still outselling the others. Chrysler vans were still more innovative than the others in 2005. That was the model that first had Stow-and-Go seats. The 5th generation redesign in 2008 was when they stopped being innovative, IMO. I'd say, after driving our 4th one, that they are as reliable as anybody elses van.
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Old 04-15-2010, 07:34 PM
 
Location: The canyon (with my pistols and knife)
12,994 posts, read 17,122,083 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffdano View Post
But profitable or not - The mid-90s Chysler vehicles were not as good you think they were. The competition was advancing faster than Chrylser. The Caravan's industry leading category broke down every time a transmission failed. And the first Honda as really an Isuzu, replaced with the real Odyssey. The Sienna+Odyssey sealed the fate of the Caravan as no longer innovative or reliable.
And yet, it wasn't until 2009 that the Caravan was outsold by anybody. And even that appears to be a fluke so far in 2010.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffdano View Post
The NEON was successful because it was cheap. What genius thought it was smart to sell a Dodge NEON and a Plymouth NEON?
I have no idea, but they both sold a good 200,000 units per year and had class-leading horsepower, acceleration and passenger room. You wanted superlatives? There are a few.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffdano View Post
The Dakota's V8 was a bandaid for an otherwise underpowered truck. It straddled the mid-vs-full size truck market.
I drive a 2000 Dodge Dakota with a V-6. Even after 212,069 miles, it still accelerates smartly. "Underpowered" my ass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffdano View Post
Before the Ram - how long had the Dodge truck remained unchanged? 10-15 years?
Thirteen years, to be exact (1981-1993). Comparatively speaking, the Ford F-series used the same basic platform architecture from 1980 through 1996, until the Ram's 1994 redesign prompted a 1997 redesign for the F150. Even GM, having redesigned their C-/K-Series trucks in 1988, lasted 11 years before they were redesigned in 1999. Pickup trucks don't get redesigned as often as cars do, but the Dodge Ram sped the process up from about a 12-year process on average to an eight-year process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffdano View Post
Grand Cherokee buyers, like Wrangler buyers, for a while didn't seem to car about reliability for many years. But that only works when there aren't good alternatives. GCs have long lost their specialness when moms started buying them to carry kids instead of going camping. Then reliability is much more important.
The fact that you admit there weren't any "good alternatives" to the Grand Cherokee either shows that a) the product was indeed cutting-edge after all, or b) for as "mediocre" as you claim the Grand Cherokee to be, the alternatives by other automakers were even worse. (And what does that say about those other automakers?)

By the way, there's still no good alternative for the Wrangler.
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Old 04-15-2010, 07:42 PM
 
1,634 posts, read 3,332,050 times
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blah, blah, blah...

The bottom line is that not very many people are opting for Chrysler products...

the market has spoken.

I have an affinity for Light Line International Harvester's, i.e. Scouts.

They failed.

Why? Bad business model, rust problems, whatever.

Not enough people bought them, they failed. Case closed.
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Old 04-15-2010, 07:58 PM
 
Location: Floribama
13,498 posts, read 29,444,231 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnutella View Post
The engine is NOT the problem. It was co-developed by Mitsubishi and Hyundai in a joint venture after Daimler used Chrysler's $12B in cash reserves to purchase shares in those two automakers, and nobody complains about the engines in either Mitsubishi or Hyundai vehicles. The problem is the continuously-variable transmission, sourced by independent parts supplier Jatco, that the Caliber uses as an automatic. The Mitsubishi and Hyundai cars with this engine use conventional automatics, as do the Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring, yet the engine gets 30+ highway miles per gallon in all of them -- Avenger and Sebring included -- but not the Caliber.


Um, yes they do. Mitsu and Hyundai have a long history of building unrefined and unreliable engines.
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