2020 ALL STAR | PRODUCT QUALITY
Head of quality,
FCA – North America
After years of struggles in industry quality reports, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is on the rise.
The task for Mark Champine, who became head of quality for FCA North America in October 2018, is to keep these quality gains while the company’s assembly plants adjust to a pandemic that has reshaped factory life. Face masks, thermal screenings and social distancing are now the norm.
Dodge, with a lineup based on aging platforms, topped the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study in 2020 for the first time after moving into the top 10 in 2019.
Ram rose to third place in the latest study after finishing in the middle of the pack last year. The truck brand saw improvements even as it rolls out fresh products with new technologies for driver assistance and infotainment — factors known to ding automakers in the quality study.
“Every single station, every single process was reviewed to verify that they would meet the requirements from a safety perspective and we would have no negative effect on quality,” Champine told Automotive News in June, just weeks after the automaker had restarted production. Assembly lines stopped in March when the pandemic hit the U.S.
“We’d even canvass the employees if they had a concern, or they felt that they weren’t able to do their job sufficiently to ensure quality,” Champine said.
Champine, 53, previously was FCA North America’s head of electrified powertrain programs. Before that, he was head of transmission and driveline quality and quality center manager for the Kokomo Transmission Plant in Indiana. He joined the company in 1996.