The current iteration of Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles formed in 2014, though the two companies began their link-up after the 2009 financial crisis. Today, as the eighth-largest manufacturer in the world, FCA has to rely on an entire portfolio of brands to keep up with the massive, rising international conglomerates dominating the industry.
FCA currently owns Fiat and Chrysler, of course, but the portfolio also includes subsidiaries Dodge (and Ram Trucks), Jeep, Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, and Maserati. Yet if there's anything that truly unifies the brands under FCA's control, it's a distinct lack of build quality and reliability. Going back to the basics, Italian cars have always struggled with electronics and durability—which is all the more crucial nowadays, when cars are more like computers than they are internal combustion machines.
Anyone thinking about buying an FCA vehicle should keep scrolling for 16 models to avoid at all costs.
The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon may be making waves among gearheads, many of whom simply cannot believe that such neck-snapping acceleration is even possible from such a large car, but the model has plenty of reasons to make buyers wary.
Not only are the safety features lacking enough to make the NHRA ban the Demon from competition, but Dodge has even asked owners to take it easy on their weakly built cars.
While most Fiat-Chrysler products suffer from a lack of build quality that leads to reliability issues and, in the worst cases, tragedies, there's another reason potential buyers of these cars should hesitate: depreciation.
The Alfa Romeo 4C, for example, might seem like a great little sports car—but with the problems FCA has gone through just trying to sell new ones, imagine trying to sell a used one later down the line.
Much like the Jeep Wrangler, the Jeep Gladiator has its fair share of drawbacks. Yes, it can tow more than the Wrangler, but it still has the same potential for fire hazards—all in a package that's much larger. The Gladiator's stretched wheelbase makes it less ideal both on the trail and in the city.
The Dodge name probably makes most drivers think of big, beefy trucks with plenty of power and rugged reliability. But nowadays, a quick glance at any Dodge ad reveals that their pickups are marketed more for their sunroofs, leather trim, and Bluetooth connectivity than their powertrains. Now that Dodge is a Fiat product, electrical issues have arisen, like owners who struggle to get their trucks into four-wheel-drive mode.
Jeep may be "America's only real sports car" as Enzo Ferrari said, but the Jeep Cherokee sure isn't the off-roader that Enzo would have appreciated.
Once upon a time, the Cherokee was a legit Jeep but sadly, that time has long passed. Now, the Cherokee is little more than a crossover, and can even be had with front-wheel drive.
It may come as a surprise to many drivers to learn that Chrysler still builds the 300 sedan. In reality, it may come as a surprise that Chrysler still markets any cars under the Chrysler name. But the 300 hasn't changed much since it debuted in 2005, with only two generations covering the interim years.
The Jeep Wrangler might be a legendary American off-roader, but now that Jeep is a Fiat-Chrysler product, there's a lot to worry about for this 4x4. The most concerning aspect is definitely the well-documented spontaneous combustion that has plagued the newest JL generation, which is made even worse for owners who take their off-roaders off the road.
Alfa Romeo definitely got the exterior design of the Giulia right. It's not too swoopy, but still aggressive enough to live up to the Quadrifoglio's 505-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 engine. Flaws, however, abound—and they aren't just limited to a strictly automatic transmission option. The price tag is also huge and buyers had better be willing to shut their ears to anyone who brings up reliability.
Some people might love the concept of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, but exactly why they want a 707-horsepower Hellcat engine stuffed into an SUV remains a mystery.
This isn't a vehicle anyone wants to tow with, plus it lacks the low center of gravity for real performance driving. Throw in the parking situation and this is another FCA model to stay away from.
The Fiat 124 Spider harkens back to the 124 Sport Spider, which was a sweet little sports car built from 1966 to 1985. Of course, it suffered from Fiat's legendary reliability issues, though buyers in the market today may think the current model's relation to the Mazda MX-5 is a good thing. But the Mazda comes with a Mazda engine, while the Fiat comes with a Fiat engine—enough said.
The Fiat 500 might be the perfect little city car, except for its reliability issues. The manufacturer struggled so much with build quality that Fiat won't even lease these cars. The reason for this is they don't want to get them back three years later, which kind of defeats the point of a cheap, commuter car for many buyers, unfortunately.
As if Jeep's problems weren't enough with the Wrangler's tendency to catch fire, the notorious issues with parking selection on the shifter has struck the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Most famously, the world lost an up-and-coming star when Anton Yelchin, who’s best known for roles in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot and Terminator: Salvation, was crushed by his Jeep—only to posthumously receive a recall notice about the parking issue seven days later.
The Fiat 500e is the all-electric version of the little car, though buyers should definitely beware. Not only does the electric Fiat struggle from the same reliability issues as its gasoline counterpart, but the official range estimates are way, way different in real life.
Even Sergio Marchionne couldn't bear the thought of this pile of junk bearing a Fiat logo.
Lancia remains one of the most famous and inspirational names in all of the automotive world, even if their current lineup of cars is as depressing as it gets. Nowadays, Lancias are only sold in Italy, where the tiny Ypsilon is called a "fashion city car" on the brand's website. Much like the Fiat 500 with which it shares many parts, this is definitely a car to avoid.
Fiat introduced the 500X to the world with a great ad featuring a blue pill, and there were high hopes for the little all-wheel-drive version of the cute 500. Unfortunately, those hopes were dashed when it became clear that FCA was sticking with its low build-quality recipe. The 500X and its sibling, the 500L, simply don't provide enough compelling evidence to set them apart from the competition.
The Jeep Renegade is yet another experiment by FCA and the company just doesn't seem to learn their lesson about creating new models for the Jeep lineup. The Renegade isn't a capable off-roader, much like its siblings, the Jeep Compass, Patriot, and both the Fiat 500X and 500L. When Jeeps come with front-wheel drive standard, it's time to walk away.
Sources: Car and Driver, Wikipedia, and Jalopnik.