Eberhardt Rejiggers Leadership of Marketing Department

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DETROIT ( -- Chrysler Group has handed Jeff Bell, currently vice president of marketing for Jeep, the added responsibility of leading marketing for the Chrysler unit, according to executives close to the automaker.

This is the first major reorganization

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since the June 1 arrival of Joe Eberhardt as executive vice president of sales and marketing for Chrysler Group. The future role of Tom Marinelli, currently vice president of marketing for the Chrysler brand, is unclear.

Mr. Marinelli declined comment when reached late yesterday. A call to Mr. Bell wasn't returned by press time.

Maintaining market share
Mr. Bell is credited with maintaining respectable market share for Jeep despite a dirth of new models this year. Jeep's share of total industry trucks was 4.8% through October vs. 5.2% a year ago, according to sibling Automotive News.

Julie Roehm, currently marketing communications director for Dodge, adds that role for the Chrysler and Jeep brands, a position Mr. Bell held until a reorginization in June 2002 that led to his Jeep assignment. Ms. Roehm declined comment.

A Chrysler spokesman refused to confirm the moves, saying, "We have nothing to announce at this time."

Changes expected
Auto industry experts have expected changes at Chrysler Group from Mr. Eberhard. He was asked this summer by parent DaimlerChrysler to move from his role as president of DaimlerChrysler U.K. for the No. 3 post in Auburn Hills, Mich., Chrysler's headquarters.

Chrysler is battling its way back to profitability after a $1 billion-plus operating loss in the second quarter. Chrysler Group returned to positive operating results in the third quarter, with an operating profit of $171 million.

Vowing a turnaround
Executives have vowed a turnaround in 2004, when Chrysler Group rolls out of nine new models.

In addition, Chrysler launches its redone 2004 Dodge Durango sport utility next week.

Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, Troy, Mich., handles advertising for all three Chrysler Group brands.

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