US car makers have long been criticised for low levels of plastics and materials quality, especially when compared with Japanese and European rivals.
Chrysler Group models such as the current-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee and new-generation Chrysler 300 have made notable strides in cabin presentation.
The company’s vehicle line executive for international products and programs, John Mrozowski, said at the local launch of the facelifted Jeep Grand Cherokee that the company is continuing to progress in this area.
“[Improved quality] is not just for Jeep but across the board with Chrysler,” said Mrozowski. “We’ve been spending a lot of time, a lot of money… The money isn’t the focal point, it’s about people getting in to your products and appreciating [the quality] and they say, ‘These guys get it, and this is as good as [a comparable vehicle].
“It’s the fit and finish, materials on the inside… It’s absolutely a focal point.”
Mrozowski admits US car manufacturers became complacent with quality and allowed Japanese and European rivals to overtook them.
“It was a little bit of complacency,” he says, “which leads to the next point I was going to make. It’s called survival. You either compete and survive or you become irrelevant.
“So for us, not only did we want to be relevant but we wanted to raise the bar and the one model you don’t have here is the Summit [a high-grade Jeep Grand Cherokee sold in the US, pictured main image].
“We’ve got suede-like A-pillars and headliner… We do get it [the importance of interior quality]. [The highest-quality materials] is not everywhere, but it’s touch points [for the driver and passengers]. We understand and we do want to spend the money where people can feel, touch and experience.
Mrozowski says the new Jeep Cherokee due here in early 2014 will show the company is continuing to step up in interior design and quality