March 19, 2002

Chrysler improves vehicle quality, says CEO

Auburn Hills, Michigan – Speaking before the National Press Club on Saturday, Chrysler Group President and Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche said that Chrysler quality was rapidly improving. Zetsche cited the most recent J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey, which showed Chrysler Group passenger cars ahead of all domestic makes and better than many import manufacturers. In addition, Consumer Reports rated Chrysler Group vehicles best for reliability among U.S. manufacturers in its April edition, with fewer problems recorded on average than European-built vehicles. Five of the company’s models earned a Consumer Reports “Recommended” rating, up from three the year before.

Zetsche also announced that the Chrysler Group will introduce 11 new vehicles in the 2002-2004 time period, as part of a five-year, $30 billion investment plan in new products and programs.

The Chrysler Group chief executive also said he expected fuel economy standards will be increased by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) following debate in the Senate this week. But he added that initial proposals to drastically increase corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards were “neither consistent with what consumers want, nor consistent with a healthy auto industry and its effects on the economy.”

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