Chrysler quality engineers will expand a parts examination program to involve all 4,500 dealers in the U.S. They'll do autopsies on defective parts from Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Mercedes-Benz vehicles as well.
Hands-on examination of parts to improve quality will expand significantly over the next two years, says J. Michael Burke, a senior manager at Chrysler's Quality Engineering Center in Auburn Hills.
Currently, select dealers, at corporate expense, return every part they replace under warranty. Those parts go to the center's problem-solving team, which calls in the supplier to help crack the case.
The part is also the hard evidence to augment the data mining that goes on. The database grows every time the service department at a dealership inputs a customer's warranty claim.
It is all forensic evidence in the autopsy of what went wrong and the pursuit of a fix and preventative measures to ensure it doesn't happen again.
The program has resulted in a 50% reduction in warranty costs in the last six years.
The parts return program will tentatively expand to the full Chrysler Group U.S. dealer body July 1.