Currently reading: Exclusive: Morgan bosses detail ambitious growth plans
New CEO says maintaining firm’s values and courting younger buyers will fuel growth

Morgan’s new CEO, Massimo Fumarola, has told Autocar about the priorities for his “exciting” new job, in an exclusive interview at the firm’s flagship UK dealership in Kensington, London, just weeks after moving over from his role as Lamborghini’s special projects boss.

Number one will be to “steadfastly” maintain Morgan’s authenticity and amplify the marque’s unique values and attributes. This, he said, is the essence, but the Morgan ethos also needs wider circulation. Number two will be to take all opportunities for the company to grow, and create more of them, without harming its natural assets. “Heritage isn’t insurance,” he said. “You must have good plans for your future.”

Morgan currently makes around 800 cars per year, and it sold a stellar 680 last year even with the 3 Wheeler out of production. The 70% of Morgans that go for export are distributed in 70 markets, the biggest of which are France, Germany and the US.

The firm has already hinted that it would like to be making 1500 cars a year in five years’ time and sees the emergence of the new Ford-engined Morgan Super 3 as providing its earliest opportunity to expand.

Success in the US, where the Super 3 complies with design regulations more easily than the company’s four-wheeled models, is a key opportunity. It’s likely the model will soon become Morgan’s best-seller.

This potential near doubling of output will require a considerable scaling up of plant and people (a new paint facility is about to open) and most of all lays bare the reasoning behind Morgan’s modest top management overhaul.

The company’s owner, Italian private equity firm Investindustrial, last month announced that the role of chairman and CEO, previously held by company ‘lifer’ Steve Morris, would henceforth be split into two. Morris would be elevated to the role of executive chairman, while Milan-born Fumarola would become CEO with responsibility for day-to-day running.

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Until now, Morris, who started on the Malvern Link shop floor as a metalworking apprentice, has been closely involved at every level of company management. With more cars, more investment, more facilities, more people and electrification to contend with, Morris acknowledges that he will need to concentrate more on strategic thinking.

Both Morris and Fumarola were visiting the South Kensington dealership, officially dubbed Morgan Works London, to mark London Craft Week, for which Morgan put on special displays to show off the hand-finished, bespoke nature of its construction methods.

Three of the company’s best artisans – Steph on upholstery, Marcin on metal forming and Will on woodwork – were on site, working on part-finished cars lifted temporarily out of the normal build process.

Fumarola, an engineer by training, with a 30-year career working both for large OEMs and low-volume luxury manufacturers, promises a comfortable partnership with Morris as chairman and seems an entirely different character than you might expect of an Italian car executive running what is now an Italian-controlled company in Britain. He lists his strengths as “international exposure” and “an understanding of global market dynamics”.

Fumarola, whose past jobs at Fiat, FCA, Audi, Ferrari and Lamborghini have usually had a prominent marketing element, said: “We believe we have the products to attract a younger generation of owners. Tradition is fine, but we also have an opportunity to make Morgan a more adventurous lifestyle brand. Our owners tell us this themselves.”

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Neither Fumarola nor Morris puts it like this, but it’s apparent that the new CEO’s arrival will spark a fresh examination of Morgan’s plans. No conclusions have yet been drawn, but they agree that at least four burning questions will soon come into focus.

One will be to decide whether – or perhaps how soon – Morgan will need a third model. It currently classes the Morgan Plus Four and Mogran Plus Six variants as one model, given their similarities. Another will be to form new partnerships for the EV era and to revisit existing deals, such as the engine supply agreement Morgan has with BMW.

A third will be deciding how and when Morgan will move to electrification, and for how long it will build ICE models for slow-to-change markets such as the US and some Far Eastern locations. Morgan has already said the Plus models and the Super 3 are “protected” for electrification but has not clarified whether it is considering hybrids or full EVs. Tellingly, Morgan recently announced the hiring of a new chief technical officer, Matthew Hole, whose key role is as head of electrification.

Despite his varied affiliations, Fumarola is a lifelong Morgan lover, citing early contact with a neighbourhood Mog owner in his home country. “What I have always liked best about Morgan is the way the car can add so much to an owner’s quality of life,” he said.

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“With some big brands, there is always a certain aloofness. You have a great car but not everybody feels able to talk to you about it. When you’re in a Morgan, nobody needs to keep their distance. Driving one of our cars is about joy, freedom and friendship, as well as fun.”

Morgan’s big decision

The Morgan future that Steve Morris and Massimo Fumarola are busy designing seems likely to include the rule-changing ‘new era’ model whose sketchy details were revealed four years ago.

Conceived by a design team led by Jon Wells, the car aims to move Morgan’s design influence forward about 20 years to the 1960s Jaguar E-Type era. When details first emerged, the car was set to use the aluminium CX platform and independent suspension under today’s Plus Four and Plus Six. It was to appear around 2025, priced close to an Aston Martin Vantage.

Times have changed, however. A more likely scenario would be for the car to appear as an EV, allowing a new pricing structure to cater for the probable high cost of its battery. For now, Morgan is mute on the project, making clear that its priority is a successful production entry for the Super 3.

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Torque Stear 25 May 2022

I'm not sure where the point of the battery being expensive is coming from. A 75KWh battery pack comes in at between $8-12,000 which as a proportion of a £150,000+ car is pretty cheap.

They will probably pay for the battery from optional equipment fees alone.

Morgan is probably an example of a small volume manufacturer that may get throuh the EV and Automous vehicle changeover. For people who make mid engined supercars the issue that plenty of relatively normal looking EVs already have screaming performance, are mid engined and there is relatively little gain from a performance standpoint by going to a 2 seat configuration.

The Morgan 3 wheeler on the otherhand is a toy which people who own several 1000bhp EV would still enjoy as the experiance is radically different.

Gulliver 25 May 2022
The new CEO needs to
1. Look at their dealers everywhere, not just europe
2. Engage frank stephenson for some new design ideas because he understands design language of brands e.g., mini, fiat
3. Get the handling fixed. There are numerous youtube videos showing exceptionally poor handling even of aluminium chassis mogs
streaky 25 May 2022
Gulliver wrote:

The new CEO needs to...... Engage frank stephenson for some new design ideas because he understands design language of brands e.g., mini, fiat

I can't agree with that entirely;  the Fiat 500 is great but the Mini missed the mark by quite a bit IMO.  I really like Jon Well's sketch of the "new era" model and can't wait to see it progress into the metal.

I'm rather concerned that Morgan is being a bit lemming-like in being obsessed with growth.  I just hope it doesn't end in tears....

ianp55 25 May 2022

I wonder what's going to happen to Morgan as well since it left the ownership of the Morgan family to the Italian private equity group. The reason that the marque has survived for over a century is that it produces cars that are largely hand built to order using propriety mechanical components,all cars are sold before they leave the factory. If production is to be increased to the level proposed by the new owners less fabrication is likely to be done in house but outsourced thus reducing the Malvern plant to an assembly operation. I have an uneasy feeling that if these changes occur the company will be saddled with debt  then sold on to another owner which is the modus operandi of most of the private equity companies who only have their eye on the bottom line rather than the long term future of Morgan 

jagdavey 25 May 2022

Before Morgan starts it's expansion programme it should first sort out it's Customer Service & After Sales department. Morgan After Sales is totally useless and doesn't respond to customers needs what so ever, I know because I bought a new Morgan in 2019 & the car has a number of serious safety issues that the dealer or Morgan can't fix. If Snr. Massimo would like help sorting his after sales network I would gladly give him a run down on UK & German dealers & service agents that are totally useless. I've bought two new Morgans in the last 5 years, if he wants advice on how to make Morgan great again all he has to do is contact me personally. (I'm waiting for your e-mail)