AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Chrysler Group today announced a new Vehicle Brand Team organization as the latest evolution in a series of moves that over the last year has sought to strengthen and grow the Chrysler, Jeep(R) and Dodge brands.
"In July 2001, we established Product Teams to develop uniquely aspirational vehicles," said Dieter Zetsche, Chrysler Group President and Chief Executive Officer. "We also set up Component Teams to deliver high- quality, low-cost components that are shared across the Product Teams, where possible, while protecting the uniqueness of the brands."
According to Zetsche, the newest organizational initiative gets to the heart of the brands by consolidating the marketing and product planning structures into Vehicle Brand Teams. "These teams have one goal -- to strengthen our brands. Therefore, we're organizing Marketing into three teams, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge with executives in charge of each who will be held accountable for the overall success of all vehicles, marketing programs and the dealer experience for their respective brands."
New Vehicle Brand Marketing Teams
"We aim to make Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge as desirable and strong in the marketplace as Mercedes-Benz is in the high-end luxury segments," added Jim Schroer, Chrysler Group Executive Vice President-Global Sales and Marketing.
According to Schroer, newly-appointed marketing vice presidents will have direct control over the budgets for their brands. Their success will be measured by brand strength, the growth of their respective brands, and ultimately, by profit contribution. Each marketing vice president will have a marketing communication and advertising/marketing agency team assigned to the Brand, a dealer marketing programs department, and a newly-assigned marketing and product planning director.
"This gives everyone in our organization -- as well as our dealers -- one place to go on all decisions regarding each brand," added Schroer.
The following executives will lead brand marketing teams at Chrysler Group and report to George Murphy, Senior Vice President - Global Marketing:
Jim Julow, 49, formerly head of Dodge Global Brand Center, will head up the marketing organization devoted to Chrysler Group's growing motorsports and performance vehicle activities, as Vice President - Motorsports and SRT Marketing.
New Marketing and Product Planning Directors
"To administer Product Development properly, you set up the organization by vehicle architecture," said Rich Schaum, Executive Vice President - Product Development and Quality. "To run Marketing right, you organize by vehicle brand. This might be easy if you are a one-vehicle brand company, but becomes more challenging at Chrysler Group, because our brands -- Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge -- can and do utilize multiple vehicle architectures."
Schaum said that a task force of marketers and product planners within Chrysler Group recommended a unique approach: directors to supervise both the marketing brand managers and the product planners.
"These people will report to the Marketing Vice Presidents on brand issues and to the Product Team Vice Presidents on product planning issues," said Schaum. "Given the nature of the positions, it was crucial to find people with expertise in both engineering and marketing. We are fortunate to already have this talent within our company."
The new Marketing and Product Planning Directors are:
New Product Strategy Responsibilities
Additionally, Mike Evans, 55, is appointed Vice President - Product Strategy. Evans takes on a new role as Chairman of the Corporate Product Planning Committee, which is made up primarily of the product planning directors. In this role, he will ensure that all Product Teams use common processes to migrate new technology into vehicles, oversee safety and fuel economy objectives, and drive efficiencies in development.
Evans has played a key role in the Product Strategy Team, the top-level committee charged with setting the direction for all new Chrysler Group vehicles. Evans will continue in that role.
"We are focused on the product goal of designing and developing the most aspirational, innovative and highest-quality new vehicles we possibly can," concluded Zetsche. "These evolutionary changes are designed to do just that."