Ram Names Tim Kuniskis as Its CEO

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

ram names tim kuniskis as its ceo

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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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?

  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )
  • Thehyundaigarage Yes, Canadian market vehicles have had immobilizers mandated by transport Canada since around 2001.In the US market, some key start Toyotas and Nissans still don’t have immobilizers. The US doesn’t mandate immobilizers or daytime running lights, but they mandate TPMS, yet canada mandates both, but couldn’t care less about TPMS. You’d think we’d have universal standards in North America.
  • Alan I think this vehicle is aimed more at the dedicated offroad traveller. It costs around the same a 300 Series, so its quite an investment. It would be a waste to own as a daily driver, unless you want to be seen in a 'wank' vehicle like many Wrangler and Can Hardly Davidson types.The diesel would be the choice for off roading as its quite torquey down low and would return far superior mileage than a petrol vehicle.I would think this is more reliable than the Land Rovers, BMW make good engines. https://www.drive.com.au/reviews/2023-ineos-grenadier-review/
  • Lorenzo I'll go with Stellantis. Last into the folly, first to bail out. Their European business won't fly with the German market being squeezed on electricity. Anybody can see the loss of Russian natural gas and closing their nuclear plants means high cost electricity. They're now buying electrons from French nuclear plants, as are the British after shutting down their coal industry. As for the American market, the American grid isn't in great shape either, but the US has shale oil and natural gas. Stellantis has profits from ICE Ram trucks and Jeeps, and they won't give that up.