Mark Champine, FCA's head of quality for North America, said the company needed to make sure it had proper spacing and barriers between equipment operators without compromising their ability to do their jobs.
"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," said Champine, who visited several facilities before U.S. production resumed in May. "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, to make sure to notify the right people and that we would pay additional attention to that."
The quality race is of utmost importance for all brands, but falling behind in the relentlessly competitive pickup segment, in particular, can wreck a truck's prospects. Ram has managed to stay in the game even as it rolls out fresh products with new technologies for driver assistance and infotainment, factors that have been known to ding automakers in the quality study.
FCA, for instance, introduced a 12-inch touch screen to its 2019 pickup line to improve an infotainment system that already was highly rated. This layout carried into the 2020 pickups, which were tested for the latest J.D. Power study, and helped the brand make an unusually big jump — it ranked 21st last year — considering how early it was in the trucks' life cycle.