JD Power is a consumer site that does its yearly Initial Quality Study ratings for cars and trucks. Last year, Ram topped that list. For 2022, it dropped farther down the list for quality than any brand ever in JD Power’s history. Ram tanked from number one to 18th in the rankings. What is so different about the 2022 Ram that would drop its quality this far? Or is it something else?
What caused the Ram brand JD Power quality rating to tank?
For the 2022 model year, many automakers have updated their infotainment systems. Ram did as well. But buyers haven’t found the new infotainment systems to be satisfactory. In fact, according to Automotive News, six of the top 10 problems owner’s encountered have something to do with infotainment systems.
The problems range from Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, voice recognition, wonky touchscreens, and Bluetooth systems integration. JD Power says Ram is sorting through these and other problems with its 2022 infotainment upgrades.
“We traditionally think of newly launched vehicles as being something that was a complete redesign,” JD Power director of global automotive told Automotive News. “But in today’s day and age, just a software redesign can have as big of an impact as redesigning the entire vehicle. Ram introduced some new software and is working through the bugs. If history is any guide, they’ll shoot back up to a much higher spot next year.”
Ram isn’t the only Stellantis brand to show bad JD Power quality numbers
As of late, Stellantis has seen its quality numbers suffer. That is, except for the Dodge brand. Dodge is in a unique position as it has essentially built the same models for decades. It should have all of the snags taken care of after this long. But siblings Chrysler and Jeep don’t have that luxury.
Jeep saw a similar dive in JD Power Initial Quality. Last year it ranked eighth overall. By 2022, it dropped to 23rd. The culprit could be that Jeep has introduced a wide range of new and refreshed models recently, says JD Power.
And unfortunate Chrysler saw its ranking remain in the basement, being the lowest-ranking brand for initial quality again in 2022. Rounding out the Stellantis rankings, Maserati was ranked third from the bottom. A few notches above is Alfa Romeo.
Infotainment systems have been a perennial problem
For whatever reason, infotainment systems have caused headaches for both buyers, but also manufacturers. And it has been this way for years. Stellantis debuted its Uconnect 5 into a few premium brands in 2021. This year saw the transition happen in more models and it integrates the new system into all of its vehicle lines.
Whether it is the proliferation of virtual controls integrated into the screens, a lack of intuitive functions, or connectivity issues, it is a part of auto development that is fraught with potential problems. Some attribute the ganging of essential controls with nonessential information and entertainment controls to be causing problems.
Some industry observers recommend not skipping over owner’s manuals. Customizing features you’ll use makes these systems far more user-friendly. Especially when systems like the Ram Uconnect 5 are five times faster at processing commands than previous units. The systems’ functionality needs to be mastered before owners become completely satisfied with these new tools.