Nissan Poaches Ram Boss, Sparks Chrysler Hiring Shuffle

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

News of former Ram divsion head Fred Diaz defecting to Nissan has sparked a hiring shuffle over at Chrysler. Reuters is reporting that former Dodge chief Reid Bigland will be moving over to head up Ram, while Tim Kuniskis will move from Fiat to replace Bigland at Dodge. Jason Stoicevich takes over from Kuniskis at Fiat.

Diaz’s departure from Ram as well as his post of Chrysler’s Mexican operations was a shock to many, but it also indicates how serious Nissan is at making a run at full-size truck supremacy, something that Toyota has failed to do with the Tundra. Under Diaz, the Ram 1500 went from an also-ran to a seriously competitive, if not class leading truck. A few years go, Nissan and Chrysler were in the midst of trying to jointly develop a full-size truck, but the bailout and Chrysler’s eventual takeover by Fiat ended up scuttling those plans. Now it seems that Nissan has decided to just poach the brains behind Ram, rather than the technology itself.

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • OldandSlow OldandSlow on Apr 16, 2013

    Isn't Reid Bigland a Canadian? Both the Nissan Titan and Frontier are nearing a remake. Rumor is that Nissan will begin offering a 4 cylinder Cummins. Whether Nissan trucks will ever be dominate or even surpass Toyota remains to be seen. Compared to car buyers, truck buyers are a loyal group.

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    • Mike978 Mike978 on Apr 16, 2013

      Bigland is Canadian. Seeing him present, he seems a typical over rated MBA type.

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Apr 16, 2013

    The article is correct in pointing out that Ram and Nissan were considering platorm sharing for the Ram - Titan pickups. A legacy of that is Nissans co-development work to improve the ISF 2.8 diesel, which from what I can gather will be sourced from the Cummin's new Beijing plant. This US diesel has an ingenious induction and recirculation system to cool combustion gasses so urea (Add Blue) isn't required as it is effective in reducing NOx levels. The little 4 cyl diesel is supposed to develop over 220hp and over 400ftlb of torque. Good figures and a good US engine to take on the European intermediate light diesels. Fred Diaz has worked with Cummins and Nissan can benefit from both his pickup truck and Cummins experience. But why did he leave Fiat/Ram? Does he not fit into Fiats future, ie, a cultural change occuring at Chrysler. Or did the recent Ram screwups 'encourage' this change? Whatever the reason he would have learnt something at Fiat/Ram and can transfer it to Nissan and hopefully the Titan will be the better for it.

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Apr 17, 2013

      The recent Ram screwups were minor compared to how far Dodge trucks had fallen, and how fast they were resurrected. I suspect the people orchestrating the musical chairs at Fiat/Chrysler had something more to do with the screwups than Fred Diaz, and maybe encouraged Diaz to as they say, "explore other opportunities" rather than admit mistakes. Eventually someone is going to write a book about the clash of Chrysler faithful with their Italian overlords, and I think it will be a best seller.