Ram Is Highest In Initial Quality, Dodge Is Lowest: JD Power

Photo: Stellantis
Photo: Stellantis

Happy Friday! It’s June 28, 2024, and this is The Morning Shift, your daily roundup of the top automotive headlines from around the world, in one place. Here are the important stories you need to know.

1st Gear: Ram Good, Dodge Bad: JD Power

JD Power’s latest Initial Quality Study is out, and this year’s results are... odd. Ram takes the top spot, but Dodge is the absolute worst of the bunch — besides Polestar, which the study claims isn’t eligible anyway. From Automotive News:

Ram grabbed the top spot in the J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study for the second time in four years, while Stellantis stablemate Dodge dropped to last place after leading the industry in 2023.

Porsche ascended to the No. 1 ranking among premium brands after being the runner-up last year to Stellantis-owned Alfa Romeo, which fell to the bottom tier in 2024. Porsche was seventh overall.

Chevrolet ranked second, moving up three spots from last year. Hyundai jumped to third place, up from No. 17 in 2023. Kia was fourth, and Buick rounded out the top five.

GMC and Cadillac fell out of the top 10. Ford moved up from below average in 2023 to ninth place this year.


It’s not immediately clear why the gap between two sibling automakers would be so massive, though Automotive News says Alfa Romeo was hurt by the Tonale. Perhaps the Hornet is seeing some issues.

2nd Gear: Elon Musk’s $56 Billion Payday Goes To Court

Remember when shareholders voted on giving Elon Musk $56B? Well, as you may recall, that vote wasn’t binding — it was just evidence to send to the Delaware court that had blocked Musk’s pay. Now, that’s exactly where it’s gone. From Reuters:

Tesla is claiming Elon Musk won his legal battle over his $56 billion pay package because shareholders voted for the compensation, despite a judge rescinding it earlier this year, according to a court filing made public on Thursday.

The company’s filing comes two weeks after Tesla shareholders voted to ratify the 2018 package of stock options. Tesla held the vote following a January ruling by a Delaware judge to void the compensation because Musk improperly controlled the negotiation process and the company misled shareholders about key details.

The uncertainty in the case hangs over Musk’s relationship with Tesla, which is struggling with slower sales and stiffer competition. He has said he might develop some products outside the company if he does not obtain a larger ownership stake.

Given that the current state of Tesla and Musk are far different than they were when the pay package was initially approved — Tesla is a robotics company now, if you hadn’t heard, not a carmaker — it’s unclear how much this new evidence will sway the judge.

3rd Gear: Toyota Wants To Catch Up On Driver Assists

Buyers in China want EVs with advanced driver-assist tech. Toyota, notably, lags on these two points — and lags accordingly in Chinese sales. Now, through a joint venture, the company is looking to change that. From Reuters:

Toyota is planning to launch the first electric car model equipped with an advanced autonomous driving system similar to Tesla’s Full Self-Driving for the Chinese market next year, one of its Chinese joint ventures said.

The JV with state-owned Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) aims to restore the Japanese automaker’s market share in China by catching up with Chinese rivals on technologies in hybrids, batteries and intelligent vehicles.


Toyota ranked fifth among all brands by car sales in China in the first four months of this year, when the Japanese brand saw a 22% drop from the same period in 2023, according to data from China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Toyota is also working on developing new battery tech to cut the cost of the bZ4X, which — if successful — could give buyers a single reason to purchase it over literally any other option.

4th Gear: Electrify America Is Racing To Fix Chargers

The greatest barrier to EV adoption in the United States is our patchwork of unreliable chargers, and the approximately 35 apps needed to run them all. Electrify America is aiming to change that, with a radical new approach: What if EV chargers worked? From Automotive News:

Electrify America, one of the largest electric vehicle charging networks in the U.S., is pulling multiple levers to improve an EV industry black eye: poor charger performance.

Just 9 percent of EV charging attempts failed on the Electrify America network in the first quarter of this year, compared with 11 percent in the first quarter of 2022 and 2023, according to a J.D. Power analysis.


EV charging companies have focused on improving charger performance over the past year. Charging setbacks have hurt EV sales. A fifth of charging attempts failed at non-Tesla chargers in the first quarter of this year, according to J.D. Power. Tesla Superchargers, known as the most reliable, had a fail rate of 5 percent, J.D. Power said.


Electrify America has replaced legacy charging equipment, some of which it installed in 2018, with more sophisticated chargers that can quickly power EVs that have the most advanced systems.


Electrify America also brought software in-house to gain control over the charging experience.

With any luck, this will help change the face of charging in the States. There are so many great EVs out there, and driving them can be such a hassle due to our garbage infrastructure. Let’s fix that.

Reverse: Remember Where Pride Month Comes From

As a reminder, kids: These rights didn’t come from asking politely. Queer people who came before us fought, bled, and died for them.

On The Radio: SOPHIE - Reason Why

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