We're excited and you should be too.
Outgoing Dodge chief Tim Kuniskis is a true car guy and longtime Dodge fanatic. He owns a restored 1971 Dodge Challenger and was the force behind the entire Dodge Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcat program as well as the 840 hp street-legal drag racer Demon. But now he has a new job within FCA as the global head of Alfa Romeo and Maserati. The announcement was made late last week as Kuniskis will replace Reid Bigland in the role, but Bigland will retain his job of US sales and CEO of FCA Canada.
The reason for bringing in Kuniskis makes total sense. Alfa Romeo and especially Maserati are struggling to gain traction, both in the US and overseas. While Alfa Romeo has excellent new models in the Giulia and Stelvio, the marketing message needs refinement and, perhaps, a fresh perspective. Maserati in particular needs help, especially in light of the also just announced Levante SUV production stoppage due to low demand. Kuniskis sounds like he's ideally suited for the new gig. He managed in a relatively short period of time to inject the Dodge brand with much needed adrenaline and popularity at a time when new product was relatively scarce.
Think about it: Kuniskis took two existing and aging models, the Charger and Challenger, and gave them new life. Sales increased and Dodge is cool again. Models like the Avenger and Grand Caravan are now things of the past. The Journey is the brand's sole week offering. Now he's tasked with getting Alfa Romeo and Maserati back on track. Kuniskis, who's highly looked upon by FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, has a challenging new role. "With the launch of the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio and the Maserati Levante complete, we must now intensify our focus on the commercial elements that will drive global growth for these brands," Marchionne said last week.
"As Reid has established the commercial foundation for Alfa and Maserati, (the new assignment) allows Tim to dedicate his efforts solely on the next chapter of these storied brands." Alfa Romeo is just coming off a solid 2017 sales wise, with 118,000 vehicles sold, up from 71,700 the year prior. However, Marchionne was hoping to see Alfa Romeo sales reach 170,000 for 2017. Maserati also had a decent 2017 thanks to the Levante, but there's still lots of work to be done.