DETROIT - Joseph Cappy, the champion of the Jeep brand and its dealers after Renault sold American Motors Co. to Chrysler, has retired. Cappy, 63, will become chairman of Dollar Thirfty Automotive Group.
When Chrysler bought American Motors in 1987, Cappy was named vice president of the new Jeep-Eagle Division. His job was to integrate the Jeep-Eagle dealers into Chrysler. It was an emotional time for Cappy and the dealers.
'It was a labor of love,' he said. 'I wanted to make sure that went well. It was such a loyal dealer body.'
Cappy described himself as 'a mother hen watching over her baby chicks' when Jeeps or Jeep-derived products were sold by other Chrysler divisions.
Dodge dealers wanted a sport-utility of their own. One way to get it was by sharing the Jeep platform. But that never happened, in part because of Cappy's efforts.
As vice president of international operations, Cappy helped Chrysler re-establish an international presence. He helped open a minivan plant in Graz, Austria.
After 1993, Cappy was busy divesting Chrysler's non-core businesses. These included the Tulsa-based Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group car-rental chain.
In his most recent post, Cappy was Chrysler's vice president of rental-car operations. He said it was a natural move for him to retire and become Dollar Thrifty chairman.