Jeep, Ram owner calls on former GM exec to spearhead EV offensive in the US

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Jeep, Ram owner calls on former GM exec to spearhead EV offensive in the US


Stellantis, the owner of Jeep, Ram, Dodge, Chrysler, and others, appointed Carlos Zarlenga to lead North American operations. Zarlenga, a former GM executive, is tasked with launching eight EVs as the brand begins its electric offensive in the US.

Zarlenga was hired as Chief Operating Officer for Stellantis North America earlier this month. Previously serving as President of Stellantis Mexico, Zarlenga played a key role in the brand’s turnaround in the region.

There, he led the company to record profits, with YOY sales, market share, and adjusted operating income improvements.

Before that, Zarlenga was with General Motors for over ten years in multiple leadership roles. Zarlenga was CFO for GM Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He was also President and CEO of GM South America.

Now, the leader is taking on an even bigger task, leading Jeep, Ram, Chrysler, Dodge, and Fiat’s EV offensive in North America.

Stellantis is launching its first EVs in the US as Zarlega prepares to turn the brand around as it works toward 50% electric sales share by 2030.

Jeep-Ram-EV-offensive
The electric Ram 1500 REV pickup (Source: Stellantis

Zarlenga to lead Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and Fiat EV offensive

“Our turnaround in South America was fairly boring because we just did it the hard way,” Zarlenga said, according to the Detroit Free Press.

However, it didn’t come easy. Stellantis’ new North American leader said the turnaround wasn’t magic.

“What it was was hard work, listing the problems and not letting go until you fix them,” Zarlenga explained. The newly appointed leader looks to do the same after sales slipped in the US last year.

Jeep's-first-EV
Jeep Wagoneer S electric SUV (Source: Jeep)

Jeep slashed prices last week, including up to $4,000 off its best-selling Grand Cherokee. Jeep’s CEO, Antonio Filosa, admitted more needed to be done to fend off incoming competition from new models like Rivian’s R1S, which was the seventh best-selling EV in the US last year.

Jeep is expected to begin building its first all-electric vehicle in the US, the Wagoneer S SUV, in the second quarter. Deliveries could start as soon as Q3, according to Filosa.

The brand is teasing the luxury electric SUV as it gets closer to its official launch revealing a new illuminated seven-slot grille and premium interior.

Filosa also confirmed Jeep’s electric Wrangler-inspired Recon could launch by the end of the year. The rugged electric off-road SUV will feature removable windows and doors.

Jeep's-electric-Wrangler-like-Recon
2024 electric Jeep Recon (Source: Stellantis)

Both will ride on the STLA Large EV platform, which Stellantis claims will “outperform any of the existing Hellcat V-8s.”

Meanwhile, Stellantis’ first passenger EV for the US, the Fiat 500e, rolled off the assembly line last week. The brand says its first EV in the US sold out of its first dealer allocation in less than a week.

Stellantis-first-EV-US
2024 Fiat 500e (Source: Stellantis)

Dodge and Ram will are launching their first EVs in the US. Dodge will unveil its electric Charger on March 5 while Ram’s 1500 REV electric pickup is expected to be available in Q4.

Zarlenga says dealer relations will be a priority as the automaker rolls out eight new EVs in the US this year. “It’s important to keep your partners fully engaged with your transformation,” he explained.

Dodge-Charger-EV
(Source: Dodge)

The brand’s new leader reiterated Stellantis EV sales plan, saying “We’ve said that we’re going to be 50% EV by 2030, and we’re not pulling back from that commitment. So we’re invested, and we’re committed to moving forward.”

Zarlenga admitted the new EVs will be a test to the market, but says he feels good about the future.

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