Jeep CEO Christian Meunier Stepping Down Nov 1 Amid Declining Sales

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Jeep CEO Christian Meunier is stepping down from his position on November 1. Stellantis has appointed Antonio Filosa, the Chief Operating Officer of Stellantis South America, to fill the role.

Meunier joined Jeep from Nissan, where he led the automaker’s Infiniti brand as chairman and global president. He became the Jeep brand’s global president in May 2019 before being appointed by Stellantis to the executive team in January 2021. The automaker said Meunier is taking “a long break to focus on personal interests.”

Filosa, appointed as the automaker’s chief operating officer for South America in 2021, will replace Meunier. Filosa joined Fiat Group in 1999, working in various positions before becoming the Head of Argentina in 2016 and the boss of Alfa Romeo and Maserati in Latin America two years later. He had also served as the COO for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Latin American Region. 

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Meunier posted a lengthy message on Linkedin about his departure, calling Jeep one of the “most beautiful and powerful brands in the world.” During his time “fiercely” protecting the brand,” he oversaw the development and launching of the company’s 4xe hybrid brand.

Jeep also sold its five-millionth Wrangler under his leadership, a 2023 Rubicon 4xe 20th Anniversary Edition, wearing the Earl paint color. Jeep gave the New Jersey buyer $5,000 in Jeep performance parts and lifetime Jeep Wave customer care benefits.

A new leader for Jeep wasn’t the company’s only staffing change. Ashwani Muppasani will replace Carl Smiley as the COO of Stellantis India and Asia Pacific. Stellantis says Smiley “has decided to prioritize his private life.” Emanuele Cappellano will fill Filosa’s position. Cappellano currently serves as the North American CEO at Marcolin Group. 

Jeep gave the Wrangler a mid-cycle refresh earlier this year, updating the exterior styling and revamping the cabin. The Gladiator pickup, which debuted in 2018, also received refreshed styling inside and out.

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However, Jeep sales have been falling since 2019, when it sold nearly 1 million vehicles. The company sold 684,614 cars in 2022, 12 percent fewer than in 2021. Through the first six months of this year, the brand is down another 12 percent. The Ford Bronco and an increase in the number of mainstream crossovers and SUVs have pressured the popular off-road brand as more automakers design and build off-road-oriented vehicles.