Ram Names Tim Kuniskis as Its CEO

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Normally we don’t pay mind to a C-Suite reshuffle, because most of these executive title changes are either part of a never-ending game of musical chairs or a last-ditch effort to rearrange the Titanic’s deck chairs before the thing sinks. But this one grabs our attention for one very good reason: The guy now in charge of Ram fostered the development of a 1,000+ hp muscle car.

Tim Kuniskis was – and remains – at the helm of Dodge during testing and validation of the psychotic Challenger Demon 170, a car with four-figure power output and enough swagger to make a stop sign pregnant simply whilst driving past. Multiple engines were grenaded during the project, plus a few other parts of the 170’s drivetrain. This pushed its unveiling back by a few months, but Kuniskis apparently egged on the team until they chased away all the boogeymen. It would have been easy enough just to cancel the project and give up; after all, Dodge will sell every Challenger it can make ahead of sunsetting the model at the end of this year. They didn’t need a 1,025-horse monster as its exclamation point – but that’s exactly what the crew achieved.

This is why the news of Stellantis placing Kuniskis at the helm of Ram is notable. With the onslaught of electrification around the corner, plus the brand potentially moving into new segments (read: A Maverick-fighter called the Rampage), having someone in the driver’s seat with that level of tenacity will be entertaining and good for product. The existing big cheese, Mike Koval Jr, will be appointed as the head of Mopar North America and likely expand that catalog into new places; it should be said that Koval was also an appropriate steward of the aggro Ram brand – but he didn’t lead the charge on a Challenger with four-figure horsepower.

Anyone who’s spent time in presentations led by Kuniskis will tell you the man is outspoken and animated, often delving into useful stories about a vehicle’s development instead of dryly reading from a meticulously prepared PR script. This makes for a better – and more human – interaction with people trying to write about a new vehicle, one which lends a dose of realness to what can be a very sanitized environment. It’ll be a good fit for Ram.

The names on office doors will change in the first week of July. 

[Image: Stellantis]

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Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

More by Matthew Guy

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5 of 15 comments
  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Jun 08, 2023

    What ever happened to Reid Bigland and his law suite against Ram?

    • See 1 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Jun 08, 2023

      I thought I read that they settled which translates to Bigland's lawyers having a better understanding of contract law than FCA.

  • Frank Frank on Jun 09, 2023

    The last guy was doing fine, this is a sales emergency that they're hoping Tim can fix. They want to hang onto the crazy margins from the covid era, which now in the face of abundant inventory, insane interest rates and inflation are a long distant wet dream. Its time to start offering value again, cash on the hood and 0% financing. Move the metal!

    • Zerofoo Zerofoo on Jun 12, 2023

      Are you suggesting that $20k above MSRP with 7% interest on a 84 month note isn't a sustainable business?

  • 28-Cars-Later Seville - LS400Bhp 295 250Ft-tq 280 260Reliable No Yes
  • 28-Cars-Later No, and none of you should be either.
  • Arthur Dailey No.
  • Arthur Dailey My father had multiple Northstar equipped vehicles. He got one of the first Northstar equipped STS's in Canada and continually drove STS's on one year leases for nearly a decade. One of them did 'crap out' on him. It went into 'limp' mode and he drove it to the nearest GM dealer. The vehicle was about half way through its lease, and he was in cottage country (Muskoka). GM arranged to have it flatbedded back to Toronto. He rented a vehicle, drove it home and then took delivery of a new STS within about 4 days. There were no negotiations regarding repairs, etc. The vehicle was simply replaced. Overall he was pleased with the performance of these vehicles and their engines. We also found them a pleasant environment to be in, with more than enough power.
  • Bd2 If they let me and the boyz roll around naked in their dealership I'll buy a Chinese car.