When people usually talk about the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) design team, a handful of names usually rush to mind. Ralph Gilles, Mark Allen, Mark Trostle, Ryan Nagode, and Joe Dehner are the names that people relate to the most in the automotive world from the FCA U.S. team. One of those designers is set to retire at the end of this month, leaving behind an amazing portfolio that will go down in the history of the core Mopar brand vehicles.
After 31 years of being with the company, Joe Dehner has announced his retirement. Dehner has had an amazing career at Chrysler. Although he currently holds the title as Head of Ram and Mopar Design, FCA – North America, he has worked with all of the current four Mopar core brands, as well some of the company’s past brands helping to create some of the company’s legendary concept vehicles like the original 1991 Chrysler Neon Concept, 1993 Plymouth Prowler Concept, 1999 Dodge Charger R/T Concept, the 2000 Chrysler 300 HEMI C Concept, as well as some production vehicles like the 2001 Dodge Stratus and Chrysler Sebring Coupes, the 2007 Chrysler Sebring, 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible, as well as the Eagle Talon.
Joe has also led the group at Mopar, creating some of the most amazing concept vehicles of recent history for events like the annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show.
Dehner also led the Ram design studio in creating the all-new 2019 Ram 1500, as well as giving the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty a heavy refresh that led to the second time the brand has been named Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year honors in the past decade.
Dehner has also served on the board of directors of his alma mater, the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA), for 11 years and visits regularly to meet with and encourage students, according to a recent press release from FCA.
“For decades, Joe has contributed his time as a CIA instructor and board member,” says Daniel Cuffaro, Department Chair, Industrial Design at the school. “Additionally, he has made generous financial contributions and has been a steadfast advocate within FCA. Finally, he has been a trusted advisor to me and a cheerleader and constructive critic to our students.”
As a young kid growing up and dream about being a car design, I wrote to the then Chrysler Corporation asking how I could obtain my goals. To my surprise, I received a letter from Joe outlaying a path for me on how to achieve those goals, which I still have tucked away for safekeeping. While my career goals didn’t follow that path, it was such an amazing feeling to get that letter from him. I was lucky enough to meet him in my adult life and Joe is one of those passionate car people behind the scenes at FCA that we read a lot about.
We at MoparInsiders would wish Joe a happy retirement. We hope to see him out enjoying some of the many car events we will be attending this next summer.