FCA brand faces pressure to revamp model line-up under new management
Richard Bremner Autocar
31 January 2019

Faltering sales and profits at Maserati are prompting a change of strategy for the luxury sports car marque. 

New Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Michael Manley has admitted that the organisational pairing of Maserati with Alfa Romeo was a mistake, and resulted in the former being treated “almost like a mass-market brand”. 

Manley has returned Harald Wester to the position of head of Maserati, which the German held previously between 2008 and 2016, and given him the task of installing a new management team and developing a revised plan. 

Wester has already recruited Jean-Philippe Leloup from Ferrari to lead a new department called Maserati Commercial. A new boss has been appointed to Maserati North America too. There’s no word yet on whether additional investment will be directed to the brand. 

Speaking at an investor conference last year, Manley said: “With hindsight, when we put Maserati and Alfa together, it did two things. Firstly, it reduced the focus on Maserati the brand. Secondly, Maserati was treated for a period of time almost as if it were a mass-market brand, which it isn’t and shouldn’t be treated that way.” 

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Manley added that the new plan “will be followed by some further action we will take in the fourth quarter. 

“It will take at least two quarters to sort through some of the channel issues, but I’m expecting Harald and his team to make some significant progress beginning in the second half of 2019.” 

Maserati has been hit by a substantial drop in sales to China and some headwinds created by the new WLTP emissions regulations. But the root of its problems is the lack of new models. The GranTurismo and GranCabrio range is 11 years old, making them among the oldest cars on sale today; the Ghibli and Quattroporte saloons are five years old; and the two-year-old Levante is already experiencing dwindling sales in the face of competition from the new Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE

Sales of Maseratis were down 26% year on year by the third quarter of last year. Despite setting a target of 50,000 worldwide sales in 2018 – itself downgraded from 75,000 units – only 26,400 cars were shipped by the end of September. 

Maserati’s plans for the next five years were initially laid out during the last investor conference chaired by former CEO Sergio Marchionne in June 2018. They included finally launching the Alfieri coupé in both fully electric and plug-in hybrid form; a new SUV to sit beneath the Levante; and all-new replacements for the Ghibli, Quattroporte and Levante as both EVs and plug-in hybrids.

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Comments
14

31 January 2019

The Ghibli should have been an Alfa, the Alfieri should have been on the market years ago, and there is no need for an SUV smaller than the Levante. If they feel they really need another SUV, make it bigger, give it 7 seats and make it at least a PHEV, with maybe a full EV option.

 

Hopefully this new team will erase all the Marchionne out of FCA, and we will finally start to see some new and exciting Italian metal coming on sale once again.

 

 

31 January 2019

If you have a strong brand (Mercedes, BMW) you can sell your cars in every price range.

FCA is not in a position do that. It has to improve brand identity and quality on three brands: Maserati (exclusive), Alfa (sporty but not too expensive) and Fiat (cheap). I doubt whether FCA can do that.

 

31 January 2019

Not using Chrysler parts on the interior and improving the quality of the materials would be a good start for Maserati. It just looks and feels cheap — there are many cars half the price that has nicer looking and feeling interiors. 

31 January 2019

Despite being at last debt free, I do get the impression that things are going badly wrong at FCA. All of the brands seem to be badly managed, and all of them are way behind the competition on product renewals. Even Jeep, which you would think would be riding high on the SUV boom, has a largely unappealing range which hasn't made too much impact in the UK. FIAT only seems to be hanging on whilst the 500 remains in fashion. Maserati have a dated and flawed range. Even Alfa, with their excellent Giulia, and "on trend" Stelvio SUV, can't seem to make any headway. It's not much better in the US either; RAM holds a steady third place in the truck market, Jeep has a bit more traction (ho-ho) in the market, the car brands are stagnant.

What happens next? Just like with Brexit, I don't know, but I'm not confident.

31 January 2019
SUVs are not the answer - that horse has bolted more than is generally appreciated.

I love the idea of Maserati, and nearly bought a QP a decade ago. But the current crop, and QP in particular, really don't look good at all. Top heavy is the phrase I would use.

31 January 2019

Within Europe the only cars they sell to the masses seem to have 500 in the title which just don't generate big profits. Then they've half arsed attempts like the Tipo which again sell for peanuts compared to a Focus.

Their SUV's look poorly designed/built with a limited engine range but have a price equal to/more than Audi, Honda and Toyota.

And Maserati may have a dated range but Alfa with it's MiTO and Guiliette aren't far behind

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

FMS

1 February 2019
xxxx wrote:

Within Europe the only cars they sell to the masses seem to have 500 in the title which just don't generate big profits. Then they've half arsed attempts like the Tipo which again sell for peanuts compared to a Focus.

Their SUV's look poorly designed/built with a limited engine range but have a price equal to/more than Audi, Honda and Toyota.

And Maserati may have a dated range but Alfa with it's MiTO and Guiliette aren't far behind

 

Rehash, regurgitate, reiterate, repeat, re-ally boring, predictable and wearisome. If you have nothing (and you NEVER do) original to post, then cease and desist...or keep doing what only you do best...and be continually rebuked for your lamebrained stupidity. TwIT, the w is silent, as you should be. Do tell us all...what is a Guiliette?...a razor?...do you ACTUALLY mean Giulietta?...unable even to retype a simple word...unable even to copy and paste a simple word. Your family must be so proud of you, after all you now have the spelling prowess of a kept behind six year old...for you, an improvement in leaps and bounds. TwIT many times over.

1 February 2019

... the Mito even went out of production in 2018, without a successor.

31 January 2019

Land Rover and Volvo are just about big enough to make a go of it. Alfa and Maserati might not be. Jaguar is hanging on by its fingernails. Maybe they should all merge?

31 January 2019

There's too much cross-over in the general public's mind between Ferrari-Maserati-Alfa-Lancia, though admittedly they've canned the Lancia brand. Which is a shame.

FCA should have left Maserati with Ferrari and let the former take the strain when it comes to saloons, SUVs and 'grand tourers'. 

Then, they could pump out a lot more Maserati-esque Portofinos without damaging the Ferrari brand but still create 'volume' to reduce the cost-base.

Alfa & Lancia should really be competing where BMW is now....and the gap above them is filled by Maserati until you reach the 'stratosphere' - ie. Ferrari.

Could it more simple ? :-)

BertoniBertone

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