2021 ALL STAR | PRODUCT QUALITY
Head of North America customer experience,
Stellantis brands are getting comfortable at the top of the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study.
FCA had a stellar showing in 2020’s study when Dodge became the first domestic brand to lead the rankings and Ram jumped to third place from below average previously.
The 2021 study was more of the same. Ram claimed the No. 1 spot for the first time, followed by Dodge in second place. Jeep joined its stablemates in the upper tier by moving up three spots to a tie for eighth.
Mark Champine, head of North America customer experience at Stellantis, understands that the automaker hasn’t always been associated with being among the industry leaders. But he believes the brand’s success in recent years is the beginning of a trend.
Identifying potential quality issues quickly and eliminating them is critical, he said.
“There’s two ways of being newsworthy: newsworthy at the top and newsworthy at the bottom,” Champine, 54, told Automotive News in August shortly after the J.D. Power results were revealed. “We intend to stay newsworthy by staying at the top, and repeating this consistently year after year.”
The scope of Champine’s role changed this year after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group merged in January to create Stellantis. He went from being the quality lead to overseeing customer experience for the brand’s North American operations, which includes the sales process in dealerships.
Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Jeep and Ram all showed considerable improvement in J.D. Power’s 2021 Sales Satisfaction Index Study.
“In some of his opening remarks, our CEO, Carlos Tavares, made it clear that our goal is to have outstanding experiences with the customer at every touch point in the process, whether that be buying the vehicle, servicing the vehicle and delivering them a quality product,” Champine said. “So customer experience has various elements within it.”