On top of last week's quality-focused honors, we again were recognized by a third-party group as being one of the best-performing automotive OEMs in a quality rating.

Strategic Vision, a research-based consultancy, announced its Total Quality Index™ study Monday -- and Chrysler Group finished tied for second. We also scored top category wins from the FIAT, Dodge and Jeep® brands.

In its 2012 TQI study, Strategic Vision ranked VW of America, which includes Audi, first with a score of 890/1000. Combined, VW of America had five vehicles that ranked best of the 21 categories, with VW brand scoring three firsts and Audi two.

Ford (871) and Chrysler Group (870) statistically tied for second overall. The industry average was 861. Each company had three vehicles ranked in top TQI for their categories.

Chrysler Group had a 2% improvement over last year's study -- the most of any automaker in study. Dodge brand improved its score by 3% or 26 points, which also was the best improvement of any brand in the study and "one of the most substantial increases in Total Quality since the inception of the study," according to Strategic Vision.

Chrysler's top vehicles were:
  • Small Car: Fiat 500 hatchback, with a TQI score of 869
  • Large Car: Dodge Charger (pictured above), with a TQI score of 911
  • Medium SUV: Jeep Grand Cherokee, with a TQI score of 888. The Grand Cherokee also was a 2011 TQI category winner.
In addition to the category wins, several other of our vehicles finished among the top in their respective TQI categories.

*According to Strategic Vision, TQI reflects all aspects of buying, owning and driving a vehicle as a holistic measure. TQI encompasses positive and negative experiences including reliability, driving excitement, emotional attachment and overall sales and service satisfaction.
TQI is calculated based on scores on 166 product attributes and dealership experience, with the scores converted to a 1000 point scale. The scores typically range from 750 to 900. Typically, differences of 3 points in this scoring system are significant depending on the nature of the sample, i.e., variation, differences in factor scores, etc.