Bigland Gets a Break as Fiat Chrysler Shuffles the Executive Deck

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
bigland gets a break as fiat chrysler shuffles the executive deck

There’s going to be a lot less Italian in Reid Bigland’s diet going forward, after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles removed the Alfa Romeo and Maserati portfolios from the high-ranking executive’s oversight. It’s all part of a broader raft of management changes announced today.

Bigland, quite a star in FCA’s upper echelon, will continue in his existing role as head of U.S. sales and president and CEO of FCA Canada. The executive had the two Italian luxury brands dropped in his lap back in May 2016. Earlier in his career, he headed up the Dodge and Ram brands.

Other changes are afoot as FCA attempts to give Alfa and Maserati the full-time guardian the two brands need in order to thrive.

Tim Kuniskis, former head of FCA’s North American passenger car brands and a 26-year company veteran, will now take on the task of managing both premium divisions on a global scale. It’s Kuniskis’ job to oversee the brands’ foray into utility vehicles and electrification, growing sales along the way — and hopefully, profits.

Last year’s speculation of FCA spinning off Alfa and Maserati quickly died down, as neither brand is healthy enough to stand on its own. Plus, CEO Sergio Marchionne wasn’t having it. However, it could become a consideration in the future.

“With the launch of the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio and the Maserati Levante complete, we must now intensify our focus on the commercial elements that will drive global growth for these brands,” said Marchionne in a statement. “As Reid has established the commercial foundation for Alfa and Maserati, today’s announcement allows Tim to dedicate his efforts solely on the next chapter of these storied brands.”

Not long ago, Marchionne expressed his desire for another Maserati SUV. Liftgates and lofty ride height equal profits in today’s market, and the higher the margins, the better.

As for Bigland, Marchionne said his job, naturally, is to get vehicles flying out the door at a faster clip. On a year-over-year basis, FCA’s U.S. sales have dropped for 17 consecutive months. In Canada, also Bigland’s territory, the downward trajectory has held firm for seven.

Hopping into Kuniskis’ newly vacated post is Steve Beahm, formerly head of Maserati North America. Before his last gig, Beahm headed up FCA’s North American supply chain management group.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Comments
Join the conversation
3 of 9 comments
  • Bo darville Bo darville on Feb 05, 2018

    having seen reid bigland interviewed either on tv or YouTube a year ago or so, it was immediately evident that this gentleman thinks very highly of himself. i don't know how to quantify his self-assessment, but he also predicted the giulia would outsell the 3 series almost right out of the gate, so there you go

    • Brettc Brettc on Feb 06, 2018

      Haha! Reid's apparently a funny/delusional fellow.

  • Morea Morea on May 23, 2018

    Ran Dodge and Ram, the placed in charge of Alfa Romeo and Maserati. Orthogonality much?

  • MaintenanceCosts We hear endlessly from the usual suspects about the scenarios where EVs don't work as well as gas cars. We never hear the opposite side of the coin. From an EV owner (since 2019) who has a second EV reserved, here are a few points the "I road trip 1000 miles every day" crowd won't tell you about:[list][*]When you have a convenient charging situation, EV fueling is more convenient than a gas car. There is no stopping at gas stations and you start every day with a full tank.[/*][*]Where there are no-idling rules (school pickup/dropoff, lines for ferries or services, city loading, whatever else) you can keep warm or cool to your heart's content in your EV.[/*][*]In the cold, EVs will give you heat from the second you turn them on.[/*][*]EVs don't care one bit if you use them for tons of very short trips. Their mechanicals don't need to boil off condensation. (Just tonight, I used my EV to drive six blocks, because it was 31 degrees and raining, and walking would have been unpleasant.)[/*][*]EVs don't stink and don't make you breathe carcinogens on cold start.[/*][*]EV maintenance is much less frequent and much cheaper, eliminating almost all items having to do with engine, transmission, or brakes in a gas car. In most EVs the maintenance schedule consists of battery coolant changes and tire maintenance.[/*][*]You can accelerate fast in EVs without noisily attracting the attention of the cops and every passerby on the street.[/*][/list]
  • MaintenanceCosts Still can't get a RAV4 Prime for love or money. Availability of normal hybrid RAV4s and Highlanders is only slightly better. At least around here I think Toyota could sell twice the number of vehicles that they are actually bringing in at the moment.
  • Tree Trunk Been in the market for a new Highlander Hybrid, it is sold out with order time of 6 months plus. Probably would have bit the bullet if it was not for the dealers the refuse to take an order but instead want to sell from allotment whether it fits or not and at thousands over MRSP.
  • AKHusky The expense argument is nonsense. My mach e was $42k after tax credit. Basically the same as similarly equipped edge. And it completely ignores that the best selling vehicles are Rams, F150s, and Silverados, all more expensive that a bolt, MAch e or ID4. As an owner, I'd say they are still in second car territory for most places in the country.
  • Johnster I live in a red state and I see quite a few EVs being purchased by conservative, upper-class Republicans (many of them Trump-supporters). I suspect that it is a way for them to flaunt their wealth and that, over time, the preference for EVs will trickle down to less well-off Republicans.
Next