Ram Truck CEO Moves to Nissan USA

Fred Diaz HD II

In a move that took many in the industry by surprise, Ram Truck and Chrysler of Mexico President and CEO Fred Diaz has accepted the newly created role of divisional vice president, Nissan Sales and Marketing for Nissan North America, effective immediately.

Many will remember that Diaz moved into his leadership role at Ram Truck when the brand first changed it’s name from Dodge to Ram in 2009. He was later given the title president and CEO when Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne broke the company into several brand-specific entities (Chrysler, Fiat, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Mopar), each with separate leaders responsible for product, sales and marketing.

During his 24-year career at Chrysler, Diaz had a series of sales roles, beginning as a trainee and zone manager in Texas, then later promoted to head of national sales and finally becoming head of the newly formed Ram Truck brand. During his leadership he oversaw the refresh of the current Ram heavy-duty trucks, the complete overhaul of the 2013 Ram 1500 and the development and introduction of the Ram Commercial group, which included the debuts of the Ram ProMaster and soon-to-be-released ProMaster City.

Although Diaz will be in charge of all Nissan products (cars, crossovers, SUVs and trucks), his expertise in the pickup truck market will be especially important to Nissan as it struggles with the challenges of reinventing its next-generation half-ton pickup truck that has lagged in sales behind the entire segment.

Astute truck enthusiasts will remember that Chrysler and Nissan were in the midst of a shared-platform half-ton collaboration several years ago (we reported on it as far back as 2008) just as the bottom was falling out of the U.S. economy, leaving Chrysler exposed and in need of huge financial support from the U.S. government. One of the first project cuts made during the restructuring was the Chrysler/Nissan new pickup truck alliance. Eventually, after the Italian-owned Fiat Group bought Chrysler, Diaz fought to get the new Ram 1500 program back on track.

Whether or not Diaz will be able to ignite truck engineers at Nissan to breathe new life into the next Titan and Frontier remains to be seen, but it’s worth noting he will also have the entire car lineup to keep him busy as well.

We suspect, since this announcement came down with very little warning or notice, this offer was made from the highest levels at Nissan, likely coming from Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault and Nissan, himself.  

The pairing of the two heavyweights should be interesting to watch but could have interesting long-term implications for the types of technology we’ll see in pickups in the next five to 10 years. Ghosn has never been shy about his passion and support for battery-powered eco-vehicles like the Leaf, and Diaz has never been shy about his love for high-profit high-luxury truck packages like the Long Horn and Laramie Limited. From our point of view, if he can repeat just a small part of the 2013 Ram 1500 success in the next Titan pickup that would be a huge success for Nissan truck customers.

Another area that could see great improvement is Nissan’s growing commercial truck segment, with the new full-size and compact NV work vans.

Additionally, Diaz had made some big inroads into the Spanish-speaking truck markets of the Southwest and in Mexico. Those credentials could also be a huge help to Nissan sales and marketing here in the U.S. as well as in Central and South America.

No doubt there will be more information in the coming days, weeks and months about how this kind of new leadership (and it may not end here) will affect Nissan’s morale and future products. All we know now is that a big name has made a big jump and this definitely changes the game in the full-size pickup segment.

For the full Nissan press release, click here.

Fred Diaz Chrysler II

 

Comments

@Lou
Apparently it's just been released.

That's why I want PUTC to do an article on it. I actually haven't googled it yet other than the Merc promo video.

One of the guys at work bought a new stick magazine in and there was a short article on it.

I probably could never afford one.

But I think its very neat. And from the video it seem like it has some good off road creed and highway ability.

@Lou
The 6x6 AMG G Wagen pickup was actually and Australian idea. But not from where you would expect.

The Australian Army gave Mercedes Benz specs on what it required for our Army to replace the Land Rovers currently in use. This is the outcome.

The Army version will come as a diesel and heavier suspension.

So the world can thank the Aussie tax payer.

This is a better link.

http://www.motoring.com.au/reviews/2013/large-4x4/mercedes-benz/g-63/mercedes-benz-g-63-amg-6x6-first-drive-35359

@AllAmerician Dodge sucks, more than ford,

Nick, Dodge doesn't even make trucks, Ram does so what are you talking about.

What would you do if you were in Fred Diaz’s shoes, read comments on PUTC and base your career decision on those comments? Many of you in the same situation would tell the rest of us to mind our own business. Agreed that Mr. Diaz did not engineer or design the Ram but he was instrumental in much of Ram’s recent success. As much as many of us say we dislike advertising, after reading comments on this site that quote advertising slogans means that advertising does influence consumer’s behavior and their preferences. I will give Mr. Diaz credit for doing the job he was paid to do.

Without question Nissan needs a marketing person in charge of their truck department. Nissan has dedicated few resources to get the word out about Nissan’s trucks. Many people are unaware that Nissan makes trucks. True maybe Nissan needs to make more up to date trucks but if few are aware that you make and sell trucks then it is not really going to matter how good the product is if few know about it. Nissan did make a few ads featuring the Frontier shortly after Ford stopped making the Ranger, but then they dropped the ball and Nissan did nothing more. This was an opportunity missed. Nissan not only needs to update their products, they need to go to every major new car and truck show and have a spokesperson there. They need to get the word out that Nissan makes trucks and that they have a heritage of tough, reliable, and affordably priced trucks from the very first Nissan trucks from 1959 to the legendary King Cab. Mr. Diaz has both an opportunity and a challenge to remake Nissan’s truck image.

As for Ram, any decision is made by the corporate headquarters. Either Ram has overpromised or it will deliver, time will tell. Mr. Diaz’s departure will not change anyone who is loyal to Ram.

I hear you. My thoughts however, are that they are in the middle of attaining their goals, but far from meeting them.
They are currently having issues meeting those goals, so in the tradition of Marchionne, a fall guy may have been needed.
Not saying that is what happened, just saying a precedent has already been set, with people like Debra Myers, Jim Press, Laura Sloave, Ralph Gilles, etc. When folks in charge of lofty goals set by others, cannot reach those unrealistic goals, they seem to be gone or moved aside.
Not saying a pattern has emerged here, just saying a mini trend may be...

http://www.allpar.com/forums/topic/149342-fred-m-diaz-leaves-chrysler-to-nissan/page-5

@MN--A clash between Diaz and the corporate culture could be a logical explanation. Nevertheless I cannot fault Diaz for going over to Nissan. Nissan needs a good marketing person for their trucks.

@Robert Ryan | Those tandem axle trucks are cool as heck. They can safely increase payload, towing and braking if done right. If the aux tandems are not powered, and just 'dummies', won't they allow the drive-axle to 'freewheel' or spin when going over obstacles or curbs? The same goes for braking. Do they have brakes and how would they tie into the master system? Or do they run (electric) trailer brakes?

@DenverMike
That's what happens, you can only drive them on flat surfaces.

We don't have suspensions or let alone a rocker arm tandems.

Our tandem trailers use them. This leads me to believe that our trailer manufacturers are better than Ford and GM in chassis and suspension design.

@Big Al from Oz | "[Our tandem trailers use (rocker arms)]. This leads me to believe that our trailer manufacturers are better than Ford and GM in chassis and suspension design."

Can you expand on this?

Rocker arm 'equalizers' are common on tandem axle trailers and the tandem axle GMC motorhome that was basically a trailer with Toronado FWD.

Tandems make no sense on a pickup truck when they can simply run duals. They look cool on custom vans though.


Another Hemi delay:
http://www.allpar.com/forums/topic/149372-an-supercharged-hemi-delayed/

@DenverMike
I was having a lend of you. Seriously look at the question you posed.

Think about it.

You know tongue in cheek humour.

I sorry I will not debate you anymore, particularly after what you wrote above.

You are a stupid and dangerous person.

@DeverMike/Paul etc
Quit the crap, really.

It's getting long in the tooth.

You want to debate, but it has to be on your terms.

Learn to debate with good information, then we might be able to have a decent debate.

Opinions are good, but if they are only your view to support the UAW, then how good are they. Look at what you guys have done to Detroit.

Terror tactics (union tactics) don't work on me.

Al, Calm down.

This blog post isn't about a Mercedes SUV. It is about Ram, Nissan and Fred Diaz.

Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.

@BAFO | "...they are only your view to support the UAW, then how good are they. Look at what you guys have done to Detroit. Terror tactics (union tactics) don't work on me."

Well Al, Detroit pickups are damn good actually and won a long time ago. If you're paying attention, I have nothing against mid-size pickups. They're damn good too! And beat compact & mid-size cars and SUVs by a long shot... I would definitely own one if I lived where they don't sell full-size pickups. Mid-size pickups were never really in competition with Detroit full-size pickups anyways. Pickup buyer don't really 'cross shop" Compact and mid-size trucks were mostly in competition with everything EXCEPT Detroit full-size pickups.

Compact and mid-size trucks did take over the custom van movement/fad as it died out. And now, the mid-size truck fad is fizzling out. So what, fads come and go... Get over it. If the UAW had any power to control or could instill "Terror"... OK, who would they "terrorize"? Potential mid-size pickup buyers? How?

You forget the Detroit UAW also had compact then mid-size pickups in the game.

But then, if what you said was true, we'd all still be driving Detroit custom vans. Drrrr...

@DenverMike - I do think that there is some cross competition between small and large trucks. I looked at both but ultimately the fact that full sized offered more for less money made it a no brainer to buy a full sized truck.
I do think that there were other factors that killed small trucks. I do not think that it was a fad or 1/2 tons killed them off. 1/2 tons did contribute. As you mentioned, they were in completion with other things. CAFE (indirectly) encouraged car companies to develop small SUV's. They needed to meet less stringent MPG/Emission rules and have higher profit margins than small cars. Proliferation of small to mid sized SUV's and the boom in minivans did much more damage to the small truck market than big trucks.
Ford, when citing reasons for killing the Ranger said it was too big and most buyers would cross-shop small cars, SUV's, minivans or step up to full-sized pickups. That statement got me thinking about the 80's and 80's and that is basically what I saw.

oops - meant 80's and 90's.

We are seeing the same thing with minivans. They are being run into the ground by CUV's and small SUV's.

@Lou | We've seen a shift from custom vans to mini-trucks and then mini-trucks to compact SUVs... All the while, full-size trucks have maintained or gained market share. And for the most part, independent of the rise and fall other market trends.

When CAFE made SUVs (of all sizes), vans, mini-trucks, and full-size trucks all equally exempt (in 1991), they inadvertently helped kill off mini trucks. The mini-truck fad was just about over anyways, but SUV were too attractive if not a stylish and trendy alternative to mini-trucks. Since remaining/surviving '80s mini-trucks were no longer under harsh EPA scrutiny, they grew to mid-size and by around Y2K, added the 4 door crew cabs that US consumers had been denied since the '80s and '90s. Now you can get a 6 ft beds with your crew cab mid-sizer.

Yeah, mid-size trucks are really big now and for those that do cross shop, there's really no point to spending about the same as full-size, just to get about the same MPG, but roughly half the payload and towing. Of course, if you're going to consistently load your truck to its max GVWR or GCVR, full-size trucks can take the daily punishment year after year, if not decades, where as mid-size trucks, not so much.


But then it doesn't help that mid-size trucks cost OEMs just as much to build as full-size.

@Lou
Nothing to do with pickups, like I told you a while ago it's the techniques he uses on forums. And since then the trouble has been occurring.

When he can't debate he will multipost, when a comment appears to be "anti American" multiposts and on and on.

Look at the article with the recalls of airbags.

If PUTC wants the UAW or whatever to control this site I suppose it's their decision.

It's not kids like I've been told by PUTC.

They don't seem to care. So this will go on.

why waste your time putting a cummins in a nisssan, its a pos with a weak frame.

@BAFO | If you have absolutely no "on topic" rebuttal or answer to my statements which are obviously well known historical facts, please spare us your fairy tale conspiracy theories.

@Lou: 8 speed Hemi trucks have indeed seen the light of day. I drove one 2 or 3 weeks ago. I also posted a link to the window sticker on here, when it was in trasit.

They are trying to do the 4x4s first (I drove a Big Horn 4x4) because they would rather sell the trucks that make more money. It will get down to the 4x2 soon. About the same time that 8 speed Ram showed up, so did a 5.7 8 speed Grand Cherokee.

There are some new 2013 HDs on the lots. I can't say I have seen the big payload one, but chech around and you will see both 8 speed 1500s and 2013 HDs.

Maybe they did let him go. Just 2 or 3 weeks ago he was interviewed on Allpar and he was talking how he could fit in good in the US or Mexico.

But then it could have been for money he went. I would think he was paid good at Ram, but then look at Albert Pujols, he was with the St Loius Cardinals, won a world series and left a winning team.

But I think it's more like Canadian Ram Owner said: He is one piece of the puzzle. He was more like just a frontman.

@Lou: I can't remember where I posted that window sticker, but I made the comment the new mpg ratings were out for 8 speed 4x4s, and it was 1 city mpg and 2 highway mpg better then Fords 5.0. The truck I drove was sold. But here are many 8 speed Hemi 4x4s at a place nearby:

http://www.corwindodgeramofspringfield.com/new-inventory/index.htm?SByear=2013&SBmake=Ram&SBmodel=1500&SBbodystyle=clear&SBprice=clear&start=0

As for the new 2013 HDs, wouldn't that be the one with the Aisin transmission? They have three comming in in chassis cabs, one is crew chassis I believe.

They are out there.

I guess everybody is in some tizy cause they weren't out in October, or January. But here we are mid April, barely in the 2nd quarter.

Ford took awhile to ramp up Ecoboost trucks, that they said would be out in the 1st quarter I believe. I didn't see any where I was at in Oklahoma until the end March 2011.

Since I am on the subject of the Ecoboost 3.5, many folks say they been around for 3 years or so. Really? 3 models years maybe, but they have only been out just past 2 years now. Sure, the 3.5 was out in what the Tauras, but it hasn't been out but just over 2 years in the power level it is at in the trucks. And when these people go towing 10,000 pounds without premium gas, just because it doesn't say you must rum premium 100% of the time, expect to see issues. The manual does indeed reccomend it for best performance.

@Lou: Oh, I did mean to say: they need to fix those errors on the website. They say on some the mileage, too bad the people they pay to put it on the website screw it up, so you might see one that says 16/23 mpg in reality it is 15/21 or one that says 13/19 and it's 15/21. Because it can be verified by looking at the actual numbers on the window stockers that are on there. I told them about it in the past.

@TRXTom - I was going on what others were saying and basing my comment on what was available in Canada. I have found 4x4 Pentastar trucks with the 8 speed but zero in a 5.7. The highest trim package for the Pentastar 8 speed is the Outdoorsman so it looks like it will be confined to the lower end trim packages (at least in Canada). I don't recall spotting any 2013 HD's, especially with any of the new HP specs advertised by Ram.
I do think that Ram should of waited till there was more availability before going hog wild on the advertising.

The new crop of Ford engines were out in the fall of 2010 which would be the 2011 model year. That would mean 2 1/2 years on the market. I'm not sure of the significance of that, I didn't mention or make any comparisons to Ford. I'd be inclined to go with a 5.0 if I had to replace my truck right now since there aren't any 5.7 8 speed Rams that I can find in Canada. The new Chevys are a long way off.
I'd want to wait for a year before considering a new Ram or Chevy anyway. I prefer to wait for the real world testing done by boneheads who abuse, misuse, and think maintenance is what one does for the Ex-wife.

@Lou: Well the 8 speed ones are out there. Somebody I chatted with in Edmonton said they were there (I have no idea if that's close to you?) That last link I posted had atleast 4 or 5 4x4 5.7 8 speeds. Sure, they get to some quicker then others. Just like I didn't see V-6 8 speed trucks in southwest Missouri until February, yet somebody did a review online as a buyer in December.

The same goes for the HD's. They are just now putting the 3500 HDs in chasses cab form to my area, as that last link had three of them in transit, and here is three more in transit near me.


http://www.ramseymotor.net/new/Ram/2013-Ram-3500+HD+Chassis-harrison-ar-c886a72c0a0a00640118a7e0baf3085a.htm

You can tell they are the new ones because they have the Aisin 6 speeds, 4 out of 6 do, the other two are manual trans. So if they are just getting in my area, I would bet my area is certainly not the first to get them. And yeah, that's just chasses cabs, no trucks with beds. Al would probably like one, he could put a trayback on, and not worry if his Mazda springs will support the weight, since Mazda has already replaced some under warranty.

My point with the Fords was: Everybody is bitch'en on here "launch this, launch that, blah blah blah" Ford said the Ecoboost would be out first quarter of 2011, and it was, but it was late first quarter, like March, and they had the same issue. Sure, the 5.0, the 3.7 and the 6.2 were out sooner.

What was the exact date given for hemi 8 speeds to be released on here? Was it first quarter, or 2nd? Because they were here in late first quarter. I think alot of people missed that point.

They will have alot of 6 speeds to get rid of, as they announced the 4.7 v-8 is done.

TRX-Tom - Edmonton is a long ways away from me and is a much bigger city. I'll have to do another dealer search to see if I can find 8 speeds. I'm not so curious as to get stuck talking to a salesman ;)
I may have fallen prey to listening to guys complain about availability. That probably means that there is heavy demand and people who were early at ordering 2013's are getting first dibs and it is late comers bitching and moaning.
There does seem to be a fare share of glitches surfacing with the release of the new trucks.

8 speeds are coming in, but the crewcab long beds and the 8 speeds with Auto/Start stop which was the basis of the 1 mpg increase, have not and will not start to be built until a couple more weeks. Last date to order a 3500 Cummins is one week away so not much time left for ordering. 2014's will start up in July.



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