Dodge is Here to Stay, Says Chrysler

Some are wondering if the executive shakeup a few days ago means that the Dodge brand may soon be abandoned. Earlier this week, the announcement was made that two senior executives would be leaving Chrysler and that Dodge would be split into car and truck branches.

However, Shawn Morgan of Chryslers says that there are no plans to move away from the Dodge name, even though it is the Ram brand that has been emphasized through during company’s recent reorganization.

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says, “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.”

As a part of the plan for the two parts of the Dodge brand, Fred Diaz Jr. has been appointed president and CEO. In addition to his responsibilities with sales organization and dealer relations, he will have profit and loss responsibility for the Dodge Ram truck portfolio.

Speculation is that, considering the troubles Nissan and Toyota have both had and the economic pick up that is expected, Dodge will be able to capitalize on an increased demand for pickup trucks in the near future, hopefully increasing sales and gaining market share.

In charge of profit and loss for the Dodge Car portfolio is newly appointed Dodge Car Brand president and chief executive Ralph Gilles.

Gilles is also in charge of product design organization for Chrysler group. He joined Chrysler in 1992, and observers feel that his appointment to Dodge Car signifies how serious Marchionne is about revitalizing the passenger car line. Gilles has withstood the recent upheaval in Chrysler and remains one of the auto industry’s top designers.

Among the changes following Chrysler’s recent drop in sales was the naming of Olivier François as president and chief executive of Chrysler. He is also, and will remain, head of the Fiat Lancia brand. Francois will be in charge of Chrysler’s worldwide marketing strategies, advertising and brand development for the Chrysler, Dodge Car, Dodge Ram (truck) and Jeep brands.

François also has similar responsibilities within Fiat Group Automobiles, which he joined in 2005. He is expected to continue with those duties.

Jeep Brand president and chief officer Michael Manley is expected to stay on in his current position handling profit/loss for the Jeep portfolio as well as Chrysler Group’s international activities beyond NAFTA. He will also continue distribution of Chrysler products through Fiat’s international network.

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