Nissan Raids Chrysler, Grabs Ram Truck Boss
- Nissan has lured auto executive Fred Diaz away from Chrysler, where he made a name burnishing the reputation of the Ram truck brand.
- Diaz is expected to play a major role in the upcoming launch of the redesigned Nissan Titan.
- Under Diaz's watch at Chrysler, the 2013 Ram 1500 won the coveted 2013 North American Truck of the Year prize at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.
NASHVILLE, Tennessee — In one of the more dramatic automotive executive defections of late, Nissan America has managed to lure Fred Diaz away from Chrysler, where he made a name burnishing the reputation of the Ram truck brand.
Diaz is expected to play a major role in the upcoming launch of the redesigned Nissan Titan. Diaz had been president and CEO of the Ram truck brand since October 2009 and also president and CEO of Chrysler de Mexico, where he was responsible for the company's Mexican operations. On Friday he was named to the newly formed position of divisional vice president, Nissan sales and marketing.
"The Nissan Titan has been an also-ran in the full-size truck market," said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst at Edmunds. "In a year where trucks are looking to take off due to a stronger housing and construction market, Nissan poaching Fred Diaz from Chrysler suggests that Nissan is more serious about getting into the truck game."
Krebs notes that Diaz has deep Texas roots as well, and "that's where the strength of the truck market comes from." He earned a bachelor's degree in management from Texas Lutheran University.
"Fred Diaz is one of the most experienced, results-driven sales and marketing executives in our industry and we are privileged to welcome him to Nissan," said José Munoz, senior vice president of Nissan Americas sales and marketing, customer quality and dealer network development. "As Nissan Division continues to grow in the United States, we expect Fred to convey a fresh perspective to our dealers and the entire divisional operations team that he will now lead."
When asked by Edmunds if a replacement is in the works for Diaz, Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson responded: "We do not have any comment on this news."
Edmunds says: A major coup for Nissan and something that should bode well for the future Nissan Titan pickup.