You will note that FIAT is 1: 77k A large source of FIAT problems is the 500L, which is built in zastava by the folks who brought us the Yugo.
RAM is 1:856k
chrysler is 1:596k
Jeep is 1:131k
I'll note subaru is 1:260k and is regarded as a reliable brand. I'll also note that Jeep's rate for warranty incidents with new cars is 1.81 per vehicle compared to subaru's 1.66 (toyota is 1.13 by the way). Toyota is only a bit better than all the rest but it's rate of lemons is almost 1/5th the next best brand which is honda at 1.26 per vehicle. The message there is not that that lemnon rate tells you anything about vehicle reliability. What it tells you about is how long it takes a given brand to get fixed.
If you look at the pattern even the happy people have on this board, you will note that getting stuff fixed is seldom done in one visit, even for a known problem.
I will also point out as I have in the past that the FCA dealer network is kind of crap. There is no way I would buy any of them if I didn't have the ability to shop around for service from multiple dealers. Remember, lemons are by definition not about a large number of problems, but about a vehicle being laid up for a significant number of hours and/or a failure to fix a single problem. FCA is also more willing than other makes to ship a vehicle with beta quality firmware on it. When you combine that with a sketchy dealer network, you have a situation that may require some significant effort to get what you want out of it. I think a number of unhappy buyers have considered the vehicle and the overall engineering in it vs. the gripes, but have not necessarily considered the context in which they are buying the vehicle. That includes their own temperament.
As I mentioned above, subaru is regarded as reliable. However, it is #1
1 in reliability and has more lemons than chrysler vehicles or even dodge. It also has a defect rate higher than chrysler. So why aren't they regarded as total POSs? Why isn't their reputation crumbling? Why is their lemon rate so high?
1) They are EXTREMELY conservative about their electronics. Extremely. That means that regardless of the quality of their service center staff at any given dealership, there is not a lot of complex system debugging involving software interactions with other software. FCA's software pipeline would give subaru engineers an aneurysm.
2) They allow a pretty significant range of leeway on warranty claims. A dealer can give pretty good service without contacting the mother ship and rely on getting compensated for it.
3) When you hit the edge of that leeway, their answer is largely GTFO. You can try to reason with them, you can bring a whole forum with you, you can have multiple dealers advocate on your behalf. It's a hard line and the dealer won't get paid if they do the work. You WILL have to bring the lawyers into it.
4) Subaru has a LOT more places selling them than when I bought mine. Most of those places it's an add on brand for sales, and they have little to no subaru trained service personnel. #1
helps that be something other than a total nightmare, but it's a big chunk of why you wee their reputation declining and more lemons. When I bought mine, there were 4 delaers within an hour drive, and only 2 competent service centers. Now there are seven... and only two competent service centers.
5) On the up side, due to their engineering practices, they have a pretty functional parts supply network. Combine this with #1
and it goes a long way to enabling a R&R mentality on warranty claims that actually works at fixing a problem.
Why do FCA brands suffer?
1) Ship it in BETA baby! Look at how their brands break down on the various lists. High margin, vicious competition, and electronics that are somewhat behind the curve = RAM, and RAM does well. Less defects, and less repeat offenders with impossible diagnostics. Jeep on the other hand is composed primarily of complex designs both mechanically and electronically, and has thinner margins. Buying into the beta culture means that you are going to see more dealer visits in general, and even MORE if your vehicle is towards the complex end of their offerings. And god forbid you buy FIAT where they are low margin, low price, more complex, AND almost 100% add on brands without trained staff.
2) Get bad dealers and then fight with them. From the days of the FCA network being the Mopar network, it's been less than good. It has in fact been the worst at several points. FCA occupies a fairly adversarial role in that relationship. The upside is that you have access to customer advocacy you don't with other brands. The downside is even good dealers are reluctant to try and fix stuff without approval form the mother ship. Regardless of this fact helping or hurting you at any given moment, it slows down the process meaning it takes longer to fix it.
3) FCA compensates for warranty work a bit worse than most dealers.
4) Add up 1-3 and you get an inescapable pattern of behavior, and that is to make the first pass at any given problem to patch the firmware and try it now(tm). This allows the dealership to push more customers through, it requires zero arguing over compensation and time spent, it cna be done by a semi-trained monkey, so it's not am oney pit, and by making you do this first and come back later, it reduces the chances they will burn uncompensated hours diagnosing a problem while maximizing their income off of a warranty claim. Additionally, for the customer centric dealers, it makes it look like they are doing something for you.
5) aggravating all of this is a fairly starved parts supply network.
When you look at an FCA product, you have to ask yourself if what it is is something they can actually engineer to completion. Then you have to ask yourself if you are able and willing to navigate the stormy waters of FCA dealerships to that completion.
In my case, I have 11 dealers in an hour drive at least one of which has pleasant competent staff (because they also service subarus there too and I had used them before). The closest one also turned out to be pretty competent, but they are also aware of FCA's weaknesses. They really didn't order most of the fancy bells and whistles on their initial renegade inventory. Thanks to that, I haven't had to deal with a lot of the problems others have had, and they have had less hassles getting to know the vehicle from a service perspective.