The rumor Chrysler would spin off the Ram from the rest of their Dodge-y offerings as a new brand is now official. Also, star car designer Ralph Gilles, the pen-man behind the 300C, will run the ram-headed brand's car side.
Considering the design of the platform prostituted cars — the Caliber and Avenger — the brand's currently got, this news is nothing but good. We've already seen what Gilles was able to do with the Chrysler 300C (now long in the tooth, but we can't blame Gilles for the inability to provide cash and a platform for a redesign), the interior of the Dodge Ram and then finally, with one hand tied behind his back with the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, so we've got to believe this is great news for Dodge's non-hauling offerings.
As far as the creation of a new "Ram" brand? That seems rather silly to us, but what do we know, we're not Italian. Full press release below.
Chrysler Group LLC Announces New Appointments
Auburn Hills, Mich. , Oct 5, 2009 - Chrysler Group LLC today announces brand and commercial organization changes.
"The brand-focused strategy has been refined further with the unbundling of the Dodge Brand which now consists of the Dodge RAM Brand and the Dodge Car Brand organizations. This reorganization will allow us to protect and develop the unique nature of the product offerings within the Dodge Brand," Mr. Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer, Chrysler Group LLC said.
Fred Diaz Jr. is appointed President and CEO, Dodge RAM Brand with profit and loss responsibility for the Dodge RAM product portfolio. Mr. Diaz will also be the lead executive for the Sales organization in the United States. He was previously the Director of the Denver Business Center. Mr. Diaz has been with the Company since 1989 in positions of increasing responsibility. The Company will announce Mr. Diaz's replacement with a separate announcement.
Ralph Gilles is appointed President and CEO, Dodge Car Brand with profit and loss responsibility for the Dodge Car product portfolio. Mr. Gilles will continue to lead the Product Design organization of Chrysler Group which he joined in 1992.
Olivier Francois is appointed President and CEO, Chrysler Brand, with profit and loss responsibility for the Chrysler product portfolio. Mr. Francois joins the Company from Fiat Group Automobiles where he serves as head of the Lancia Brand, a position he retains. Mr. Francois will also be the lead executive for the Marketing organization with responsibility to coordinate worldwide marketing strategies, brand development and advertising for the Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge Car and Dodge RAM brands. He will continue to lead these functions within Fiat Group Automobiles. Mr. Francois joined Fiat in 2005.
Michael Manley will continue as the President and CEO, Jeep Brand with profit and loss responsibility for the Jeep Brand product portfolio. Mr. Manley will also be the lead executive for the international activities of the Company outside of NAFTA and will be responsible for implementing the co-operation agreements for distribution of Chrysler Group products through Fiat's international distribution network. Mr. Manley has been with Chrysler since 1998.
Joseph Veltri joins the Management Team as Head of Product Planning. Mr. Veltri started with the Company in 1988. His career has included positions in product planning, marketing, business strategy, and finance. He served most recently as Product Planning Lead and Head of Truck/SUV Planning.
Peter Fong, head of the Chrysler Brand has resigned for personal reasons. Michael Accavitti, head of the Dodge Brand has resigned to pursue other interests.
About Chrysler Group LLC
Chrysler Group LLC, formed in 2009 from a global strategic alliance with Fiat Group, produces Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Mopar® and Global Electric Motors (GEM) brand vehicles and products. With the resources, technology and worldwide distribution network required to compete on a global scale, the alliance builds on Chrysler's culture of innovation – first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925 – and Fiat's complementary technology – from a company whose heritage dates back to 1899.
Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., Chrysler Group LLC's product lineup features some of the world's most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300, Jeep Wrangler and Dodge Ram. Fiat will contribute world-class technology, platforms and powertrains for small- and medium-sized cars, allowing Chrysler Group to offer an expanded product line including environmentally friendly vehicles.