I agree there are definitely some really crappy dealers and FCA enable them. FCA-Stallantis needs to realize dealers are their ambassadors and what they do or don't do reflect on their brand. They need to hold bad dealer accountable.This is a long, convoluted story.
Chrysler, like most automakers, used to survey customers’ satisfaction with their dealer experience. But then Chrysler went bankrupt and Fiat took it over.
Sergio Marchionne did not believe in tracking customer satisfaction; in his mind “good dealers will raise to the top and poor dealers will flounder,” as if by magic. So one of the first things he did was cancel Chrysler’s long-standing dealer satisfaction tracking program.
Unfortunately, things didn’t work as Marchionne envisioned: poor dealers stay in operation for a variety of reasons. For instance, some customers, like myself, have only one local dealer so we have no alternative; also, state laws are heavily biased towards protecting dealers from the automakers.
The end result of Marchionne’s experiment was that customers’ experience with CDJR dealers deteriorated dramatically over the next several years. By 2014-2015, CDJR dealers were firmly at the bottom of the JD Power Customer Satisfaction rankings —see below.
By this juncture FCA finally realized that letting dealers do as they pleased wasn’t working. So it introduced a new dealer satisfaction tracking program that tied dealer bonuses down to individual survey responses. Worse, anything below an 8 on a 10-point scale was considered a “fail.” So now dealer staff was more focused on managing survey responses than on doing a good job. It was a big mess.
Just like FCA loves to tinker nonstop with vehicle options and colors, with the pricing and ordering system, FCA also loves to tinker with every else, including making warranty claims more difficult, and making endless changes to the customer satisfaction program. FCA has continued to screw around with the program hoping to get better results, but things haven’t improved.
It’s gotten to the point that some dealers have given up trying to please FCA, let alone please the customer. Many have taken the stance that they will refuse every warranty claim that comes through the door, using whatever excuse, to avoid getting screwed by FCA. The whole thing is one big mess.
Unsurprisingly, CDJR dealers continue to suck. 2021 results show no improvement —see below.
FCA has proved brilliant at developing and building the vehicles people want. Unfortunately, it has also proved terrible at the soft side of business: it totally sucks at marketing, at managing dealers and suppliers, and at honoring the commitments it makes to customers.
The latest issue with my dealer is that after it sold me and installed the Mopar lift, now refuses to do the steering box TSB under the pretext that it “has 35-inch tires and an aftermarket track bar...”.
I’ve been arguing with this dealer, for one reason or another, since I moved here four-and-a-half years ago, and I’m exhausted. After 30+ years owning Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles, I may have to cut my losses and buy something else next time.
Is the steering box acting wonky now and in need of replacement? Maybe try locating a dealer that might be more mod friendly. Is traveling to another dealer a option?
The window might still be open. See if used values are still high. Back in May I was able to sell my 2.5 year old JLR for a little more than what I actually paid for it brand new. Maybe sell if values are still inflated and order a 2022 JL with the XR package from one of the dealers who are selling for 6%-7% under invoice? That way the dealer will not have any excuses for warranty.
Or dare I say it... Bronco?