Dodge CEO and Father of the Hellcat Is Retiring

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Current Ram and Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis will step down as of June 1, Stellantis announced on Friday. Current Chrysler CEO Christine Feuell will replace him at Ram while continuing her leadership role at Chrysler. Matt McAlear will take over as the new boss of Dodge, stepping up from his previous position as the leader for Dodge sales operations.

Kuniskis’ career with Stellantis stretches over 30 years, starting in district sales for Chrysler parts and service in 1993. He ascended to senior manger for dealer operations in 2003, served as director for Chrysler marketing in 2009, and became the head of Fiat in North America in 2011.

Kuniskis rose to his first CEO position with Dodge in 2013. He went on to hold various leadership roles amid the Fiat-Chrysler evolution through the 2010s. He endured the Stellantis merger and accepted his current Dodge CEO position in 2021. He added Ram CEO to his portfolio in 2023.

In 2014 Kuniskis became the head of Dodge and SRT brands, just as the supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat V-8 engine hit the scene. Producing 707 horsepower for the Dodge Charger and Challenger, it reset the bar for performance and ushered in a new golden age of muscle cars from Detroit. Under Kuniskis’s leadership, Dodge became a pure performance brand that ultimately brought the Hellcat V-8 to every model in the lineup. He was a vocal proponent of the “Brotherhood of Muscle”—the core group of Dodge buyers who lived and breathed the Hemi V-8 engine.  

Some might say he tied the Hemi with Dodge a little too tightly. His retirement is timed with the end of the V-8 era at both Dodge and Ram. The Challenger is dead, and the new Charger will offer an electric powertrain or a twin-turbocharged inline-six engine. The same goes for Ram, which loses Hemi V-8 options in lieu of the twin-turbo six or the venerable 3.6-liter V-6.

“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,” said Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares. “I wish him well in his retirement.”

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