Mopar: more power, less service?

J.D. Power has released their 2021 review of customer service at car dealerships throughout the United States. Unlike the quality surveys, where Land Rover and Tesla anchor the bottom to make the Mopars look good, the customer service index is anchored by Mopar brands —with all but Dodge taking the bottom slots. (Maserati, along with Tesla and Fiat, were left out due to low sample sizes.)

As you can see, the top brand for customer service was Mini, which is made by and usually paired with BMW. Second best went to General Motors’ highest-reliability brand, Buick, while third, oddly, went to a brand barely alive in the United States, Mitsubishi. Overall, GM did very well, with all its brands above average (and above Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and Ford); even its premium brand, Cadillac, came within shouting distance of Lexus and beat Lincoln, sitting solidly above average.

Chrysler Corporation, Daimler-Benz, and FCA/Fiat’s Chrysler Group all pursued an active policy of merging every brand into the same dealerships; the downside of this shows up on the chart, where all the brands end up with the same poor ratings. If not for Volkswagen, Stellantis would have had an unparalleled sweep of the bottom ranks (Alfa Romeo came in under Land Rover as the worst premium brand; Hyundai’s Genesis, incidentally, did not hit the average.)

The good news is that, without standard deviations being published, it is hard to tell if the Mopar dealers are really that bad, or if it’s just the luck of the survey. Was there a statistical dead heat between Dodge, Ford, Hyundai, and Mazda?

Regardless, these results should be another wake-up call to Stellantis’ leadership. Dealership issues need to be addressed. Not all of the problems are at the dealership; Ma Mopar has been cheap with diagnostic time and tight with book times on warranty work, even if Mopar’s traditionally been generous with giving customers out-of-warranty satisfaction. Prettier dealerships with ever-larger arches won’t help fix this; working with dealerships and loosening the purse strings on warranty repairs might.

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