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FCA Lawsuit and Rams in Australia

by Bill Cawthon on

Clyde Campbell, the former head of Fiat Chrysler in Australia, is being sued by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for misuse of more than AUD$30 million (about US$23.5 million), according to the Sydney Morning Herald. FCA has filed a lawsuit alleging that Campbell used company assets for personal reasons and to benefit his associates.

Ram-2015-LaramieLonghorn-Web

FCA charged that Campbell spent millions on questionable expenses, including services and contracts from firms owned by or benefitting Campbell, his wife, and his friends and associates. These  include a long-term lease on a property that FCA can’t use due to zoning rules, and payments that the company says were used to fund  a 40-foot boat.

The automaker says Campbell also played fast and loose with company vehicles, giving three vehicles meant for prizes to associates, and giving away vehicles to celebrities for being brand ambassadors in the United Kingdom — though FCA had no such program in the UK. Fiat Chrysler is seeking restitution, and according to the newspaper, is now trying to freeze Campbell’s assets — including a house valued at nearly $1 million and two vacation homes.

Campbell’s attorney, Sam Bond, said the accusations are unfounded and motivated by internal politics at FCA.

Campbell was a partner with Neville Crichton in ownership of Fiat Chrysler New Zealand, which imports a variety of cars into New Zealand and had arranged to import and convert Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 pickups to meet all local rules, allowing unlimited imports (see the Allpar article “Dodge Rams going to Australia via Holden?“).

After hearing of FCA’s suit, Mr. Crichton bought Campbell’s stake. Today, an Ateco spokesman wrote to Allpar and added that this will not affect the Ram launch in Australia and New Zealand. In addition, he wrote:

Fiat Chrysler New Zealand is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ateco Group. Mr Clyde Campbell no longer has any association with the company or any involvement in it. As soon as the company became aware of the accusations against Mr Campbell the relationship was terminated in a mutually agreed settlement. Following the changes in ownership it is entirely business as normal at Fiat Chrysler New Zealand and the Ram project, a part of the Fiat Chrysler New Zealand business, continuing as planned.

The spokesman also said that they were starting with the Ram 2500 and 3500, but hope to add the 1500 if the business grows and there is demand.

A big “Thanks” to David Kilderry, Noel Keenan, and “Hemi 265” for the tips.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.


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