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DUBBED the father of Dodge’s high-performance Hellcat muscle cars and who guided the Dodge and Ram brands over the past decade, Tim Kuniskis is to retire after a 32-year career with the car-maker.

Mr Kuniskis, the CEO of Stellantis’ Dodge and Ram brands, is credited with re-establishing Dodge as a quintessential American muscle car brand when he introduced vehicles such as the 520kW+ Challenger and Charger Hellcat models and Challenger Demon drag race cars.

Tim Kuniskis

He will be replaced by Chrysler brand CEO Christine Feuell, who will lead Ram in addition to Chrysler, and Matt McAlear, who will be promoted from Dodge’s sales lead to brand CEO and a member of Stellantis’ top executive team. The appointments are effective June 1.

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said: “I want to take the opportunity to warmly thank Tim for his passion, commitment and contributions to Stellantis and in defining the vision of the future electrified Ram and Dodge brands. I wish him well in his retirement.”

“I am confident that Chris will continue the work of Tim in leading the iconic Ram brand. Matt will bring a fresh perspective, while continuing to draw on the heritage of our iconic Dodge brand and leading the transition of the brand toward a sustainable future.”

Mr Kuniskis has been a member of Stellantis’ top executive team since the company was established through a merger of Fiat Chrysler and French auto-maker PSA Groupe in January 2021. He also served on the top board for Fiat Chrysler under late CEO Sergio Marchionne.

His departure is the latest in a string of changes to the company. Recent changes have included a shuffle of Jeep’s top executives with North America head Mark Stewart leaving to become CEO of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co; and a shake-up late last year of the company’s international operations like the South America and Asia-Pacific regions, including China.

The changes come as Stellantis carries out a restructuring, including layoffs and cost cutting. It has struggled with US sales, which declined 1.2 per cent last year in a market that grew 12.3 per cent.

Automotive News reported that Stellantis was the only major car-maker to report a yearly decline.

By Neil Dowling

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