Explains a spokesperson at the Auburn Hills, Mich.-based company, which last year split from Daimler, "it has been until now platform-based, so there were teams for body-on-frame vehicles [e.g., trucks] like Jeep Wrangler and Dodge Durango, Ram and Dakota. And there were teams aligned with front-wheel-drive vehicles."
He says the change allows for "a combination of brand focus and customer focus, while at the same time focusing on commonality and timing."
The new organization creates a Jeep Product Team, whose vehicle-development efforts will be focused on evincing the Jeep brand, including parameters usually reserved for marketing communications: strong, iconic, heritage and loyal customers.
There will be a Truck Product Team devoted to Dodge trucks, and a Car and Minivan Product Team aimed at developing Chrysler's full-size cars, the current mid-size lineup and minivan products.
A Future Midsize Product Team will be focused on global products, and a Street and Racing Technology (SRT) Product Team will remain in place to develop vehicles for Chrysler LLC's performance sub-brand.
As part of the change, Daniel C. Knott has been appointed vice president/Jeep Product Team. He was recently president/Product Development Core Components, Processes and International Engineering.
Scott G. Kunselman, who most recently headed the body-on-frame product team, will become vice president/Truck Product Team, overseeing development of all Dodge trucks. The new head of the Car and Minivan Product Team will be Larry D. Lyons, who will lead the development of all current mid-size segment vehicles, minivans and future full-size vehicles. Lyons had been vice president of the front-wheel-drive team.
Overseeing development of vehicles in the mid-sized category for markets around the world is Michael F. Donoughe. Kipp D. Owen will continue to lead SRT programs as director.