Tim Kuniskis, CEO of Dodge and Ram, Retiring after 32 Years

Joe Wilssens

On June 1,  Tim Kuniskis will step down from his position as CEO of Dodge and Ram, ending a 32-year career with Chrysler/FCA/Stellantis. His time with Stellantis began in sales and distribution in 1992. He worked up the ranks until he became the head of Fiat in North America in 2011. In 2013, he took up the reins at Dodge.

During his tenure at Dodge, Kuniskis greenlit some of the brand’s most famous muscle cars. He’s best known for putting the supercharged Hellcat V-8 into just about every platform it would fit: The Challenger, Charger, Grand Cherokee, Durango, and Ram 1500 each received versions of the Hellcat, and they were all better for it. As if 707 horsepower wasn’t enough, Kuniskis also pushed for two iterations of the Demon. The performance car world was abuzz for weeks when the Demon launched, as its outrageous drag race performance punched way above its price range. Not every auto exec would have the guts to suggest a drag-ready car with more than 1000 hp and a trans brake, let alone build one.

The many Hellcat variants democratized high-power performance, but it wasn’t just massive powerplants that came to define Kuniskis’ tenure. The constant changes to trim and powertrain kept the rest of the Challenger and Charger fresh over a long lifespan, and Kuniskis deserves a lot of the credit.

2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 front three quarter drag strip action

The departure of such a respected figurehead means there are some well-worn race shoes to fill at both Ram and Dodge. Christine Feuell, the current head of Chrysler, will be adding the role of Ram CEO. Matt McAlear, the current senior vice president of Dodge and SRT global marketing, will be the new CEO of Dodge.

“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,” said Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares. “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.” 

Timothy Kuniskis, Dodge
Timothy Kuniskis with his personal 1971 Dodge Challenger, left, and a recent production version.Joe Wilssens

Stellantis is turning a corner and leaving the Hellcat era behind. We wish Feuell and McAlear well as they carry the torch for the Mopar faithful during the transition. The future looks promising, and we’re fans of the Hurricane engines replacing the Hemi V-8. Still, Kuniskis and the V-8s he championed will be a hard act to follow. He’s the kind of enthusiast you’d want in charge of your favorite brand. We wish him the best in retirement.


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