Top FCA designer to lead Alfa Romeo, Maserati design – Detroit Free Press
Klaus Busse, a top designer for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said Tuesday he is leaving Auburn Hills to lead design for Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Maserati in Europe as the automaker continued to shake up its executive ranks.
Busse, who joined the Auburn Hills automaker after it was acquired by Daimler, is widely viewed as a talented car designer who stuck with Chrysler during its dark days after the German automaker sold the company. Busse played key roles in recent years on the Ram 1500, Dodge Dart, Chrysler 200 and Jeep Cherokee as head of interior design.
Officially, his new title is head of design for Fiat Chrysler’s Europe, Middle East and Africa. The company did not say who, if anybody, Busse replaced. His new role puts him in the middle of designing cars for Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Maserati and Abarth — a performance sub-brand of Fiat. Some of those cars will go head-to-head with his old employer in his hometown country in Germany.
“A lot of people thought I was flat-out stupid, including my wife’s parents,” Busse told the Free Press in 2013. “Throwing away a career at Mercedes for what seemed to be a sinking ship here at Chrysler.”
Fiat Chrysler is planning to launch eight new Alfa Romeo models by 2018 as it invests 5 billion euros in a plan aimed at reviving the sporty Italian brand into a global luxury brand.
CEO Sergio Marchionne also has set equally ambitious targets for Maserati. He is is hoping to boost sales from 36,500 in 2014 to 75,000 by 2018.
Meanwhile, Jason Stoicevich, previously head of the Fiat brand, has resigned. Stoicevich resigned just days after he was appointed head of fleet operations and small business sales. Before that, he was head of Fiat in North America. A company spokeswoman confirmed his resignation.
Last week, the automaker named Tim Kuniskis to lead the Fiat brand. Kuniskis also was placed in charge of the Chrysler brand and remains CEO of the Dodge brand.
Kuniskis was one of three executives who were promoted last week and given additional responsibilities as part of their roles on the Group Executive Council.
Reid Bigland, who was CEO of the Ram brand, gained responsibility for fleet operations in North America, and Mike Manley was put in charge of the automaker’s Ram brand and will continue to oversee Jeep in the Asia Pacific region.
Meanwhile, Saad Chehab, who was chief marketing officer for Maserati, also has left the company according to various media reports.
Chehab is was instrumental in Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” Super Bowl ad and marketing campaign. E-mails and phone calls to several Maserati spokesmen were not returned.
Contact Brent Snavely: 313-222-6512 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BrentSnavely.