Tim Kuniskis, widely known as the current CEO of the Dodge brand, has also taken over the responsibilities of the entire Ram truck brand within the United States. He backfills Mike Koval, who has become head of Mopar North America. With Kuniskis now running both brands simultaneously, there’s a lot for him to keep track of, but surely, there are some benefits to running both Dodge and Ram, right?
“If you look at trucks, if you look at muscle cars, those are totally different segments. These are different buyers. Are they? You know what the number one garage mate of a muscle car is? It’s a pickup truck. The people that are out here that love race cars and love muscle cars, they drive pickup trucks.” said Tim Kuniskis.
“Go to a NASCAR race; what’s in the parking lot? Pickup trucks,” Kuniskis continued. “I mean, there’s a reason the F-150 is the number one selling car. People like pickup trucks; they’re very usable, they’re great vehicles, and they like other things, too, like muscle cars. There’s a natural connection there.”
Seeing that many muscle car owners also drive trucks, Tim Kuniskis can fuse some of the psychographics between these two well-adored segments by running both brands.
“The benefit to running both is, inside of our industry, we have all kinds of data, customer research, and all these things that we think we know about customers,” Kuniskis said. “When I started my career, I worked in a dealership, I sold cars, I dealt with customers face to face. They don’t have that same data. I’m not saying that they don’t have access to it; they don’t think that way. We like to think they think that ‘there’s this segment, and there’s this segment, and there’s this segment,’ but they don’t.”
“Number one, they have a price point, and then number 2, they have a certain type of vehicle need, whether that’s moving kids, moving stuff, towing, being cool, whatever. From that need, they have a price point, what can fill that void? I don’t care if it’s a C-segment, D-segment, UV, this that and the other thing. What can fill that void?” Kuniskis stated, echoing the sentiments of MC&T.
That said, Kuniskis currently has no intention of folding Ram back into Dodge at the moment. And with so much global inertia for Ram, it’s easy to understand why.
“I believe there are some synergies. That doesn’t mean that I have any intention of putting them together, running them as one. No, they’re completely stand-alone; the only person that touches both is me. There’s a completely separate team at Dodge and a completely separate team at Ram, and I just kinda split my brain down the middle and hope for the best.” said Kuniskis.
Sure, it’s been less than about a decade since the two brands split, and some people continue to say “Dodge Ram,” but it’s clear things have been going pretty well since they separated. While Dodge may only have three cars on the roster right now (the Challenger, Charger, and Hornet), they sit in a Dealer showroom alongside Ram trucks, which negates the need to have Ram build a performance car and Dodge make a truck to satisfy customer demand.