Christine Feuell, a former global marketing strategist at Ford Motor Co., took over as CEO of Chrysler last week. Its task is to revive a brand that has been relegated to the declining segments of minivans and big cars for years as consumers shifted their focus to crossovers.

Some dealers see the move as a sign that Stellantis will give Chrysler the care – and the investment – it needs after years of uncertainty about its future.

“I think it shows that they’re focusing their attention on what’s important to them,” said Nick Grava, director of marketing and sales for Grava Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-SRT in Medford, Massachusetts. Automotive News. “It will take someone’s full attention to really give them the dedicated space to really grow and find their place in the market.”

Dave Kelleher, Chairman of the National Council of Stellantis Dealers, is impressed with the experience Feuell brings to Chrysler.

Most recently, she was Commercial Director at Honeywell Intelligrated after holding marketing leadership roles at seating supplier Adient and Johnson Controls. Feuell is the first woman to lead one of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brands since Laura Soave’s brief stint as Fiat in North America ended in 2011.

Kelleher said the hiring shows Stellantis takes the brand seriously, which was the only one of the 14 brands brought together by the January merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the PSA Group that did not have a permanent CEO. Chrysler interim chief Tim Kuniskis remains CEO of the Dodge brand.

Kelleher is eager to hear from Feuell’s vision for the legendary brand, which saw sales in the United States drop 83% from 2005 to last year. In the first half of this year, Stellantis sold around seven Jeeps and six Rams for each Chrysler.

“I hope they’ve been given the charge and the resources to move forward and find out what could be done, because one thing they inherit is a brand with positive name recognition,” Kelleher said. “Chrysler has DNA in American culture, so people will respond well if we give them good products.”


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