Harald J. Wester replaces Roberto Ronchi as the new Maserati boss
4 August 2008

Maserati has announced that Harald J. Wester will be taking over as its new CEO, the third change in the luxury marque’s leadership in as many years. He replaces Roberto Ronchi, who has reportedly left the group by his own request.

Wester is a German with extensive experience as a senior engineer within VW, Audi and Ferrari. He is currently Chief Technical officer for Fiat, a post he will continue to hold alongside his new role at Maserati.

Maserati’s fortunes are currently on an upward trajectory, with the company having returned to profitablity, making Ronchi’s departure surprising. Since Fiat took over control of Maserati, many senior executives have struggled with the larger company’s expectations as to how far the luxury brand can expand.

Fiat Chief Exec Sergio Marchionne said that Wester “will bring strong leadership abilities together with immense technical experience and knowledge to Maserati.”

His first task will be delivering the next generation of Maseratis, including smaller and more affordable models that will share Alfa Romeo underpinnings.

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4 August 2008

Maserati(and Alfa Romeo) is going through CEO's like they're seasonal items.

The problem is that they were all good car-guys. I suspect they were driven out because they had to beg for technical assistance from Ferrari on top of having to get by with limited amounts of financial resources. Playing second fiddle to Ferrari is never easy.

Just have a look at the current Maseratis. While they have beautiful exterior styling, you can see money has been pinched from the flaws in the interior of the cars in terms of aesthetics, packaging, materials used, and the quality of the electronic items (eg the audio-satnav system in the new facelifted Quattroporte looked like a fish John West rejected). The centre console of the Quattroporte and the GT would look out of place in a Hyundai. And don't get started on the steering wheel and the seats..........................

Fiat and Ferrari should take a look at the interaction between Audi, Lamborghini, and Porsche. Sure Porsche does not like the Audi R8 and the Lamborghini Gallardo being so close to the 911 in terms of performance. But these three cars are the very best in their class. The R8 and the Gallardo share many components underneath their skin and we all saw how Audi has helped make Lamborghini's interior design and quality improved by leaps and bounds.

Fiat and Ferrari should be confident enough to provide Maserati with all the resources it needs to succeed and truly compete against Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes, and Aston Martin. Ferrari should not treat Maserati with contempt. Ferrari should nurture Maserati to become its "feeder-line" to conquer sales that would have gone to Mercedes-AMG SL's, the Aston Martins, the BMW M6, or the Jaguar XJ's. Only then can Maserati prosper and become financially viable on it's own.

4 August 2008

That is a brilliant point, well made. I hope Maserati read this!

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