The CEO says Jeep-owner Stalantis is open to dropping the Cherokee name

The head of the Jeep owner said he was ready to drop Cherokee’s name from the vehicles after recent criticism of the Native American tribal leader.

Carlos Tavares, Chief Executive Officer of the recently formed Stalantis STLA -2.71%

NV, said the company is engaged in talks with the Cherokee nation about the use of its name. The Jeep has two models, the Cherokee compact sport-utility vehicle and the larger Grand Cherokee, which is a U.S. Sells in and beyond.

Asked in an interview if Jeep was willing to change Cherokee’s name if he pushed, Mr Towers said, “We are ready to go to any issue, as long as we decide with the right people and not with anyone. Intermediaries. “

“At this stage, I don’t know if there is a real problem. But, if there is one, we will definitely resolve it, Mr. Towers said, adding that he was not personally involved in the talks.

Among the issues facing Mr. Towers is the discussion of the name of Cherokee, who gained control of the Stalantis earlier this year when Fiat Chrysler om Tomobiles NV and Peugeot-maker PSA formed a merger. During the visit on Wednesday, Mr. Towers also discussed his plans to cut the company’s 14 brands, make Fiat plants more competitive and stick with China.

The Jeep has two models, the Cherokee compact SUV and the larger Grand Cherokee. Sells in and beyond.


FCA / TNS / Abeka Press / Reuters

The Cherokee Nation is the largest Native American tribe in the U.S., with approximately 370,000 members, and Jeep has sold millions of vehicles bearing its name. The Auto Toe brand expanded its use of the Cherokee name in 2013 to a smaller version of the Grand Cherokee, the compact SUV.

The Cherokee Nation leader recently said he would like to see his race name stop the jeep on the SUV. Chuck Hoskin Jr., head of the Cherokee Nation, said he believed the jeep had good intentions but did not “honor us by putting our name next to the car,” the car said in a statement first released. Driver last week.

“The Cherokee nation has an open dialogue with the Stalantis leadership, and look forward to ongoing discussions,” a tribal spokesman said Wednesday. “We appreciate Stalentis’ approach and thoughtful approach to this.”

‘He doesn’t respect us by plastering our name next to the car.’

– Chuck Hoskin Jr., head of the Cherokee Nation

Mr. Towers’ remarks came as U.S. This comes in the wake of a widespread calculation of racial and social injustice in Minneapolis over Memorial Day weekend last year, sparked by the police murder of George Floyd, a black man armed with the New York weapon. In December, the Cleveland Indians decided to rename the baseball team a longtime one after fans and Native American groups criticized it for being racist. The NFL’s The Washington Football Team has dropped a name that was seen as a racial slur.

According to the company, Jeep’s Cherokee and Grand Cherokee SUV are among the bestsellers of the US brand, accounting for 43% of Jeep’s sales. Stalantis is launching the long-awaited new creation of the Grand Cherokee later this year.

Mr. Towers said the after toe industry’s practice of naming cars after Native American tribes is a sign of respect.

“I don’t see anything that would be negative here. I think it’s about expressing our creative passions, our artistic abilities, “said Mr. Tavares.

Jeep brand U.S. And Ram sits with drivers at a profit like Peugeot in Europe. But the company’s huge portfolio of 14 brands also includes some that will need to prove their worth, Mr Towers said.

Mr Towers said he had asked the heads of each of his brands to work on a 10-year plan to develop more long-term visibility on product planning.

“I say, ‘Look, friends, I’m going to give you a chance. You need to explain to me – you, the CEO of the brand – that you have a vision, ‘said Mr. Towers.

After several transformative efforts, Fiat Chrysler’s Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands have failed to make a meaningful comeback in recent years. The Fiat brand struggles with aging models and poor sales, which has also caused an overcapacity problem in the company’s Italian factories.

The Stories Chrysler brand has also changed in recent years, now selling only three models compared to the six it did a decade ago. According to company figures, the brand’s U.S. sales in 2015 also fell by a third of the volume.

Towards PSA, the DS brand – which focuses on high-end sedans and SUVs – increased its market share last year but lags behind some of its German competitors.

“Once we give them a chance to fail, we also need to be fair,” Mr Towers said. “If the rest of the company is doing the right things and there’s a part of the company that’s pulling everyone down, we have to consider it.”

The Portuguese executive built his reputation in the automotive industry as a vehicle transaction specialist. Peugeot was bleeding from money when Mr. Towers was hired in 2013. Since then, the French carmaker has lost 5 billion euros in 2012, making it the most profitable mass-market car manufacturer in the industry. . Last year, it posted a net profit of 17 17.117 billion, or about 2. 62.262 billion, in its flagship automotive business, with a steady operating margin of .1.1%.

This time Mr. Towers has a long to-do list, including two companies to consolidate European industries and cover losses in China.

In Europe, Mr Towers is visiting Fiat Chrysler factories, including the Alfa Romeo facility, 80 miles south of Rot, and encouraging PSA to benchmark the impact against the plant. Additionally, employees of Fiat Chrysler’s Fiat factory in Mirafiori, Italy, visited PSA’s Citron plant in Madrid, and Mr Towers said he was surprised by the non-labor cost savings he had seen.

The auto executive said the new company could reach its cost-saving targets in Europe without shutting down factories.

Asked what lessons he has learned from the chip shortage that has plagued car plants around the world, Mr Towers said big suppliers are not signaling that they are getting about the looming crisis. “We weren’t safe,” he said. “He learned a clear lesson.”

Chinese regulators are keeping a close eye on the Tesla operation after a recent video on social media showed a Model 3 battery showing a fire and defective vehicles. WSJ explains how quality issues with Tesla cars could threaten the EV-manufacturer’s meteor shower. Photo Illustration: Michelle Inez Simon

Mr Towers said the broader industrial trade standards towards electrification would depend on government subsidies and other financial incentives for buyers, until automakers figure out how to reduce production costs over the next few years.

“If we propose electric vehicles that are highly efficient but no one will be able to afford them because they are expensive, what does that mean from an environmental point of view?” He said.

In China, combined sales of Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler accounted for less than 1% of the market, which sold 2 million vehicles last year, according to industry statistics. Fiat Chrysler has long struggled to make a profit in the world’s largest automotive market, while the French carmaker sold only 45,965 vehicles in China last year, continuing a rapid multi-year decline.

Mr Towers said Stalantis was not considering moving out of China, and he had removed the option sitting at the table when the company started trading in New York earlier this year.

“We can’t stay away from the world’s largest market,” he said.

Write to Nick Kostov on [email protected] and Nora.n ton ton.vws j Nora naugh ton on dot com.

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