Chrysler Splits Dodge Division, Creates New Ram Brand for Trucks
Parent company Fiat continues to work towards reinventing its American ward with another round of organizational shakeups. The most far-reaching change involves dividing the Dodge Division into two distinct components: cars and trucks. In making the announcement, Sergio Marchionne, CEO, Chrysler Group LLC, outlined the gains he anticipated this change would bring, noting, "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." An integral part of this new Ram Brand plan involves helping Chrysler bolster its commercial truck business in America. Last month, Mercedes-Benz announced that it would no longer be supplying the firm with its Dodge-badged Sprinter van, and the Fiat Group currently has several vehicles that are seen as potential candidates to replace it.
Marchionne's new marching orders were accompanied by several personnel changes within the Chrysler Group's executive hierarchy. Fred Diaz, former head of Chrysler's Denver Business Center, was named to head the new Ram Brand division and Ralph Gilles, Chrysler's vice president of design, will become president and CEO of the Dodge Car Brand while retaining his current job responsibilities. Marchionne also appointed Olivier Francois, who runs Fiat's Lancia division, to replace Peter Fong who resigned as president and CEO of the Chrysler Brand. Francois also will continue at his existing post as well as assume responsibility for worldwide coordination of marketing strategies, brand development and advertising for the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge Car and Dodge Ram Brands.