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FOX news online just released this list. I think it's in bad faith to list Fiat as the first brand and include a picture of the new 500 since Fiat has yet to prove itself in N. America after nearly three decades. Some of the other brands listed are Dodge, Chrysler, and Jeep.

7 Car Brands With Bad Reputations for Quality - FoxNews.com
I don't think it's in bad faith, Fiat bailed out of the US because of poor sales and quality woes. Being silent for 30 years doesn't fix a bad reputation - they're going to have to repair their reputation by selling good products and backing them up with good service.

bs
 

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Service is the key issue. Flogging cars through multi make dealers with a service department that could not care less has plagued most of the import makes in various periods; just think of Alfa's Chrysler days. German and Japanese carmakers managed to straighten things out, Italian and French makers did not and left the market.

A survey in the SAE magazine showed that most readers considered Italy and France as the least likely countries to make a significant contribution to automobile engineering - but SAE readers are engineers from the automobile industry! This deeply misinformed, distorted image is an inheritance from the past. It will take Fiat time and incentives to straighten it out.

Not quite ten years ago, Mitsubishi tried to enter the Canadian market under its own name. We were familiar with 30 years of Dodge Colts, and Mitsubishi engines in various Chryslers (the 2.6!) and Hyundais. And they all puffed along leaving big blue clouds behind them. I remember saying "they will need to be priced a thousand bucks below the competition and offer a ten years warranty". And they did! Wasn't enough. I think they were the first maker to abandon leasing - no resale value. To this day, Mitsubishi is a marginal brand on the Canadian market.

And I think they quit smoking.
 

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In defense of Fiat (!), my first car was a 76 131. Great fun and completely reliable for over 100k miles. The only time it left me stranded was when it was parked outside during a ND blizzard. I started it without checking to see if snow had packed under the hood and slipped the timing belt. Not enough to cause any damage; it would run but generated no power so I chose to have it towed to the shop to reset the belt.

I still have fond memories of that car...
 

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I'm sorry, but the referenced survey is just a bit questionable to me. Most drivers today wouldn't know a Fiat if they saw one. Precious few have owned them, let alone know anything about them, good or bad. I have a couple of old friends who owned Fiats back in the day, both Spiders, only one is a knowledgable car person, and both loved their respective cars. I wonder how the questions were asked so that all the Chrysler brands made the list, including the new parent company with cars that haven't even penetrated the market yet.

The people I work all drive a lot of miles in company cars, and Chevy (especially the Uplander) has the unfortunate distinction of being the most cheaply made and least reliable, along with the deceased Pontiac. Consumer Reports confirmed the Uplander was as bad as it got . The Dodges and Chryslers we have had have done very well. Just strikes me as negative P.R. put out as a news story once again.

Heard from a semi-retired Chrysler exec that "they" have already gotten a bigger infusion of technology from Fiat than Daimler-Benz would ever even hint at offering them.
 

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remember this is FOX news,, the same people that gave us Glen Beck, S.palin 'family values, daughter gets pregnant, out of wedlock, and makes a sh** load of money talking about abstinence.. and how she is sooo very proud of her son joining the army( god help us, i was in the army.my father Sgt Mgr, U.S Marines. not the kind of people i wanted in, a judge gave him a choice,, army or jail.. all those draft dodgers, or people that never served in the armed services, that beat the drum of war, and they want to get rid of npr/pbs?? i like nova, mr. burnes documentrys (sp?) globe trecker, and npr come on click & clack,, and my fav. show after that.. what do you know.. to funny.. yes there is a librel slant to a very few shows, but not all of them.most of them are just imformation , but we do need a balance.. i remember someone say at fox news..i do watch the shows.. tell the people the same thing enough.. they will belive you at some point... i've heard that before..1930-1940's germany..
 

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,,one more thing.. i saw a fiat 500 yesterday, on marconi ave, talked to the driver,he got the first on... driving my spider next to it..i had to look up to the driver,,eather the car is kind of tall, or my spider is really LOW:).. but it was a cool car too see.
 

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That's funny.

I had a 78 Fiat 131 Brava that I drove for 130k miles and finally drove to the junkyard because I got assigned overseas and nobody wanted to buy it. Still ran great.

I still have a 89 Dodge Caravan that still runs great with 120k miles. The only component that's given me any real problem is the Japanese Nissan Denso Alternator, which I've replaced twice.

I also have 3 mid-90s Jeep Grand Cherokees that are still running great with nothing more than replacing a few normal wear parts. They range from 150k-200k miles and none burn any oil. All run and look great.

On the other hand, I used to have an 84 BMW 318i that I bought NEW and shortly thereafter had a cracked cylinder head and a leaking gas tank, both defects from the factory. Absolutely horrid car on snow and ice. I mean really dangerous. Got rid of it a couple years later.
 

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Fiat Quality?

I worked at an Alfa/Fiat Dealer in the '70's so let me give you my prospective:

Fiat 131's came with different vinyl material on the door panels & seats. There was a stretch of time where Fiat put seat vinyl on the doors and door vinyl on the seats; the seats lasted about 5,000 miles (the door panels lasted forever!)

Fiat catalytic converters: New cars would overheat in the dealer service bays because the converters would plug up; eventually white pellets from the converter would shoot out of the exhaust like a shotgun blast; it was great fun to have "rookie" mechanics stand behind the cars while this happened. I remember where four (4) cars did this at the same time!

Fiat timing belts: There was a stretch where defective timing belts came on the cars. As the Fiat twin cam had an "interference" valve train many-many-many cars came back to the dealership on the hook with completely shot motors.

Fiat 128: It seemed that a number of motors in these cars would fail just out of warranty. It was not uncommon for the repair bill to exceed $1k (1970's remember) on a car that was relatively new and cost about $2,700.

I could go on and on about past Fiat quality but thats enough for now.

-John
 

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My Fiat Experiences

My experience with Fiats......

-First one, a 1974 128, that although was my fathers, I ended up driving cross-country several times, down to Mexico City (from Wash., D.C. area), and using at school for about a year. The car ran great, and yes, did go through timing belts, but really was a great car. It got rear ended several times at 10 mph, but survived quite finely without any bodywork. In the Mid-Eighties, after a timing belt broke, 165,000 on the odo, by father gave it to a West Virginia tree cutter. Basically it was a good car.

-Second Fiat was a 1980 Strada I bought used in 1985. Although hated by a lot, I found it to be a great car, much better assembled and driving than period Rabbits, Datsuns, and other cars. I did have initial problems with the catalytic convertor (replaced 4 times), but then the local Fiat dealer sold me a "test pipe" which did the trick. Fiat service was excellent, and the crew were enthusiasts rather than the Buick mechanics that ran the other half of the dealership. I later found Bruno, a Ferrari mechanic, who really sorted out the remaining issues, by replacing any U.S. sourced part (relays, switches. etc) with either OEM Fiat parts, or interchangeable Ferrari parts. Like the 128, I got rear ended by a drunk driver driving a Toyota 4wd pickup. Although the hatch wouldn't close, the car was still drivable, and I was able to drive away from the accident scene, where as the Toyota truck was not drivable. After it failed inspection for too loud an exhaust, due to the aftermarket SuperSprint system I had on it, and a failing gearbox (popping out of 5th), I sold it, running strong at 165,000 where as my father's '79 Chevrolet lasting only 125,000.

-Third Fiat experience was my younger brother's '74 124 Sport Coupe. It was an excellent cross-country driver, solid body, and ran great. My brother later told me a driver of a late model Sirocco ran a traffic light and hit the 124. The newish Sirocco's passenger's side front fender fell off, despite most collision damage being on the driver's side! His Fiat left the scene under its own power, where as the VW had to be towed.

-Needing some more load space, I bought a brand new 1989 Taurus station wagon. What a mistake! Poor quality, lousy dealer service, not only from managers, but also mechanics, which meant usually three time dealer visits to get the issues corrected; factory A/C that never worked properly, transmission failing at 84,000, 2 bad power steering pumps, bad power steering hoses, water leakage, muffler falling off at 11,990 miles on a 12,000 mile warranty! During this time period, I bought a 1987 Alfa Romeo Milano Platinum, which like the Strada, was so much better built than the Taurus. After paying it off, I traded it with 85,000 miles on a 1994 Miata.

Photos:
-My Strada as purchased at a dealer 1985.

-My brother's 1981 Strada, purchased new; January 1984. He kept his 9 years.

-The 1974 128 somewhere deep in Mexico, February 1978. The hood up is to check the oil, and fuel filter, as we were getting a lot of bad fuel.

-Last photo, a good friend's 1971 124 Sport Coupe, circa June, 1975 Los Angeles. Lowered, stock wheels widened with then new 50 series B.F. Goodriches, Konis, bumper over riders shaved.
 

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i had a 124 coupe at one time...i wish i had one now, great car, great looks..
 

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I don't quite understand this survey. Their survey "rates auto brands on the "emotional connection" buyers have to the brands, based on a possible score of 100." However, the headline says "7 Car Brands with Bad Reputations for Quality".

Only a handfull of Fiat 500's have been sold and most of those were in late March. The chances of ALG actually reaching someone who owns a 500 appears very unlikely, unless they sought out such individuals. Even then, if they were able to interview an owner, they most likely would have had very favorable comments because these are people who signed up early on and have been anxiously waiting for their car. The odds that a new owner would say the car is crap and I am concerned about the quality is very unlikely in my mind. I thought perhaps they had interviewed Europeans about their experience with Fiat, but their list has too many US manufactures and some of them have limited European exposure.

Overall I have come away with the impression that this survey is not based upon any factual data such as number of times the cars have to go back to the dealer to fix stuff within a year of purchase. Or what has the maintenance been like over the first two years of ownership. That would be factual. This is just a popularity contest in my mind.

Ok, rant off....

Thanks,

Jeff
Dallas, Texas
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I don't quite understand this survey. Their survey "rates auto brands on the "emotional connection" buyers have to the brands, based on a possible score of 100." However, the headline says "7 Car Brands with Bad Reputations for Quality".

Only a handfull of Fiat 500's have been sold and most of those were in late March. The chances of ALG actually reaching someone who owns a 500 appears very unlikely, unless they sought out such individuals. Even then, if they were able to interview an owner, they most likely would have had very favorable comments because these are people who signed up early on and have been anxiously waiting for their car. The odds that a new owner would say the car is crap and I am concerned about the quality is very unlikely in my mind. I thought perhaps they had interviewed Europeans about their experience with Fiat, but their list has too many US manufactures and some of them have limited European exposure.

Overall I have come away with the impression that this survey is not based upon any factual data such as number of times the cars have to go back to the dealer to fix stuff within a year of purchase. Or what has the maintenance been like over the first two years of ownership. That would be factual. This is just a popularity contest in my mind.
That is exactly why I stated that the article was written in "bad faith."
 

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Personally, I can do w/o the rants against Fox, or any other new outlet for that matter. I'm here for the enjoyment of all things Alfa. Loved the thoughts on Taurus ownership. I had an 87 with the 3l v6. I drove mine nearly till the wheels went square with no problems save the inertia switch and the loose nut behind the wheel backing into things thus activating it. Mine had the AXOD which was roundly criticised as being the biggest POS Ford coulda come up with. Fluid and filter every 30K, 200K when I sold it and no failures. Fiat, ah, my 128. I used to carry a spare transaxle in the trunk - no kidding.
 

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in praise of FIAT

Hey Guys, I own Alfas because of the great performance and, yes, reliability of FIATs.
My first new car purchase was a '79 Strada. I needed a family car and the FIAT blew away the VW Rabbit for standard equipment and quality of parts. Michelin or Pirelli tires, weber carburetor, Bosch ingintion, REALLY comfortable seats and better fuel mileage - and it cost 20% less then the VW! I drove it for 243k miles and made a few performance mods along the way. When I took it off the road at 243k (clutch started slipping) and bought a new VW GTI - FIAT was gone by '85 - I turned the Strada into an SCCA IT Racecar. Running against Ford Fiestas, Datsun 510's and VW Rabbit 1500's the Strada more than held its own with many podium finishes and several wins in its 58 race career. I also owned a '69 124 Spyder (rust free but mechanically worn out) and a '79 X/19. The X/19 was supremely communicative and balaced yet still practical as a daily driver.
I just bought a Cinquecento Prima Edizione (2012 FIAT) and so far have been pleasantly impressed. This is a car with personality, and it is a fun loving Italian personality. This is unique in this affordable market segment. It loves to be flogged and is very comunicative and nicely balanced - sounds Italian too! Very comfortable seats and compliant ride, good NVH compared to similar vehicles.
This was an emotional purchase, but it is the first affordable new car I have become emotional about since Alfa left in '95. My first Alfa was a '91 164L which I retired at 268k miles when I bought my '94 164Q. I also have a 'real' Alfa, a '74 GTV 2000. In my opinion the 164Q remains as one of the most rewarding sports sedans ever produced. Critics have obviously never lived with this beautifully balanced and wickedly fast car.
 

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I don't quite understand this survey. Their survey "rates auto brands on the "emotional connection" buyers have to the brands, based on a possible score of 100." However, the headline says "7 Car Brands with Bad Reputations for Quality".

Ok, rant off....

Thanks,

Jeff
Dallas, Texas
I thought the independent author explained the article content fairly well, but perhaps he would provide bigger typeface and more diagrams if we ask him how he reported another companies conclusions. There is even a link in the article to the source: ALG and another link there to a 4 page PDF file with additional details.

For any gearheads who cant stand reading things in the only really independent news source in the US, here are some places to find more info on the subject.

Marty Padgett - Editorial Director at High Gear Media

https://www.alg.com/Spring+2011+ALG...+Continued+Rebound+of+Toyota+and+Lexus+Brands
 

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I actually sent an email to the company that produced the survey complaining that it was misleading to include a car company in the survey that had not sold a car in the US since the early 1980s. Most people who see the headline will probably conclude that the modern Fiats coming to us must be very poor quality. However, when the full article is read, it becomes clear that this is based upon perceived quality of the person interviewed. The people surveyed have to be thinking back to the Fiats of the 1970s and 1980s, not the modern stuff.

Maybe they should have included some type of footnote stating that Fiat had not sold a car in the US since the early 1980s and this is not based upon the current models. Or better yet, how about keeping Fiat off the list until the new cars have been in the market for at least a year. Then when they interview someone about how they felt about the quality of the Fiat, they may actually run into someone who owns a modern one.

Thanks,

Jeff

PS: following their logic, how about asking how people in the US feel about the quality of Peugeot or Renault as well?
 
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