Chrysler quality czar Doug Betts got to bask in some glory last week after the company's dramatic rise in Consumer Reports' annual reliability survey. And former CEO Bob Nardelli -- rarely commended for his Chrysler stewardship -- got some credit, too.
It was Nardelli who lured Betts away from Nissan in 2007 and gave him free rein to improve quality. Betts, who had gained fame for fixing a quality snarl at Nissan's Canton, Miss., plant, initially rebuffed the Chrysler boss. Nardelli persisted and finally lured Betts to Chrysler. After Fiat assumed control of Chrysler, CEO Sergio Marchionne put Betts on his core management team.
David Champion, head of Consumer Reports' Automotive Test Center, praised Betts last week: "Doug Betts has a single focus on bringing Chrysler back into the field" on quality and reliability.
In the 2011 survey, Jeep jumped seven places to become the top-rated domestic brand. The Chrysler brand moved up 12 places, and Dodge (including Ram) rose three spots.