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    William Maley

    FCA CEO lays the blame on the brand being treated "almost as if it were a mass market brand."

    There are a number of issues that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' CEO Mike Manley has to solve. One of those is trying to improve the fortunes of Maserati. Former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne had set an ambitious goal of selling 75,000 vehicles in 2018. But the brand has only sold just 26,400 models through the first nine months of the year, The brand reduced their target to 50,000 models in June, but trying to reach that seems quite difficult.
    Max Warburton, an analyst with Bernstein wrote in a note that "Maserati looks broken — a 2.4 percent margin in Q3 is better than Q2. The business — and its volume, pricing and distribution plans — surely need a rethink."
    During the third quarter's earnings call, Manley told analysts that bundling Maserati with Alfa Romeo proved to be a mistake.
    "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," he said.
    FCA has moved its chief technology officer Harald Wester back to Maserati to lead it. He led the brand from 2008 to 2016. One of the first moves by Wester was recruiting Jean-Philippe Leloup. He previously headed up Ferrari's business operations in central and eastern Europe.
    But there is still a glaring issue facing Maserati, products. The Alferi coupe and cabrio, along with a specialty model were supposed to launch by the end of the 2014-2018 plan. That did not happen. Felipe Munoz, an analyst with JATO Dynamics told Automotive News that the lack of new products and "regular cadence of launches" is hurting the brand. Not helping is the Levante which launched a couple of years ago. Munoz points out the large premium SUV segment is the only one not growing, and that Levante is being hurt by updated versions of the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, and Porsche Cayenne being launched.
    Under FCA's latest four-year plan, Maserati is expected to launch the Alferi, a midsize SUV, and electrified models by 2022. Whether or not Maserati can pull it off remains to be seen.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    Sales in China being a key reason

    Maserati has made the decision to extend plant shutdowns over the holiday season in an effort to cut down on inventory. Sources at the FIOM and FIM unions tell Automotive News Europe the plants affected include,
    Grugliasco - home to the Ghibli and Quattroporte. The plant was shut down on December 15th and will not reopen until January 15th. Modena - home to Granturismo and Grancabrio. Plant was shut down on the 15th of December and will not restart production until January 15th Production of the Levante at Mirafiori will stop from today to January 15th A key reason for the production stoppage comes down to due to declining sales in China. Recently, the country introduced new rules on the relationship between dealers and automakers. One of those rules is automakers cannot impose stock on dealers. In October, Maserati moved 750 Levantes in China, down 67 percent from the same time last year.
    Maserati isn't doing so well in other markets. Despite sales being up 40 percent in the first nine months, mostly due to the Levante, sales in the EU dropped 4 percent in October and November. The U.S. was worse with a 15 percent drop.
    Maserati and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles declined to comment when asked about the production shutdowns.
    Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    One isn't enough, need another one

    Maserati has only launched their first SUV, the Levante, last year. But plans are already being drawn up for a second model.
    During a call with analysts, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne announced Maserati would be launching a smaller SUV in 2020. The model would use Alfa Romeo's Giorgio platform that underpins the Alfa Stelvio. It is expected that it would get a unique powertrain.
    With two SUVs, Marchionne believes this will raise sales to 70,000-80,000 vehicles per year. Through the first three quarters of this year, Maserati sales rose from 23,900 to 36,000 thanks in part to the Levante. It isn't all good news, however as Maserati has cut production of the Levante due to changes in rules on the relationship between automakers and dealers in China.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    This is not a joke

    Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' CEO Sergio Marchionne made a surprise announcement during the company's second-quarter earnings calls last week. The company is planning to have more than half of its lineup to have electrified powertrains by 2022. Leading the charge will be Maserati which will offer some sort of electrified powertrain (hybrid and electric-only).
    What caused Marchionne, a person who hasn't been a fan of electric vehicles for quite a while, to change his tune? A lot of it has to do the various emission scandals on diesel vehicles.
    "What has really made the issue absolutely mandatory now is the fate of diesel … especially in Europe. Some type of electrification on gas engines is inevitable," said Marchionne.
    Also, the announcement of some European countries announcing bans of gas and diesel vehicles in the coming years caused a change of heart for FCA.
    “We [FCA] have been reluctant to embrace that avenue until we saw clearer the path forward," said Marchionne.
    There are issues for FCA's electrified future as the variable production costs for various components (batteries, electric motors, etc) will not come down quickly. To shoulder these costs, Maserati will take the lead on this initiative.
    "When it completes the development of its next two models, it will effectively switch all of its portfolio to electrification," said Marchionne.
    "It's an integral part of the development of all of the group." 
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Autocar

    William Maley

    Marchionne changes his tune somewhat on electric vehicles. No one is quite sure if hell has frozen over or not.

    Sergio Marchionne is the biggest critic of electric vehicles in the automotive industry. But he seems to be changing his tune (to a point).
     
    "I’m not as convinced as some others are about the fact that electrification is the solution for all of man’s ills. We need to experiment as we are doing now with connected cars and mobility as electrification is one of the potential answers," said Marchionne to Bloomberg.
     
    Marchionne said the company is contemplating adding full electric vehicles to their lineup including a small city car for Europe and a version of the upcoming Maserati Alfieri coupe. The latter model could be positioned as a rival to Tesla.
     
    "I’ve always thought the economic model that supports Tesla is something that Fiat Chrysler could replicate as we have the brand and the vehicles to do it. I think that to use one of our potential cars as an experiment in this area is interesting," said Marchionne.
     
    Marchionne also said the company would launch more hybrid vehicles down the road.
     
    Source: Bloomberg

    William Maley

    We Get Our First Idea Of What's In Store For The Maserati Levante

    Whenever spy photos of the upcoming Maserati Levante are shown, they tend to be of a high-riding Ghibli mule. This week, a new set of spy shots of the Levante has been released and gives a glimpse of what's in store.
     
    Now we can't tell much in terms of design since Maserati has put about seven layers of camouflage on this mule. But the overall profile seems somewhat familiar to the Kubang concept from a few years back.
     
    Powertrains are expected to the twin-turbocharged V6 and V8 engines from the Ghibli and Quattroporte.
     
    The Levante is expected to debut next year at the Geneva Motor Show.
     
    Source: Autoblog, Motor Authority

    William Maley

    With Ferrari heading out the door soon, Maserati is Fiat's Hope for Making Money

    With Ferrari being spun off from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles later this year, the company will lose its biggest profit maker that helps bankroll a number of vehicles in FCA's lineup. So what is the company to do? FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne is hoping Maserati can fill that void.
     
    “Maserati is very important,” Marchionne said Bloomberg in an interview. After the Ferrari spinoff, “Maserati becomes the most coveted, exclusive brand that we have.”
     
    Maserati is a known quantity in terms of performance, and the luxury market is booming in the U.S. But trying to convince buyers that they want a Maserati instead of the usual suspects in the luxury class is a difficult task. Despite selling 36,448 vehicles last year, - more than double the shipments the company has done before - worldwide sales have declined 9 percent to 7,306 through the month of April. Not helping matters is dealers putting a large amount of incentives on the new Ghibli sedan, which has caused a fair amount of the profits made on every sale to go downward.
     
    Marchionne has set a goal of selling 75,000 Maserati vehicles worldwide by 2018. A very lofty goal as IHS Automotive forecasts only 54,000 registrations of Maserati vehicles by that time. But the Ghibli is bringing in younger buyers and the upcoming Levante crossover will hopefully add to it.
     
    “They’ve got a hell of a lot to build on. But it’s incredibly expensive to play the game. Marchionne can’t afford to stumble. With the volume numbers he’s trying to generate, he’d better not miss.” said Joe Phillippi, president of consulting firm AutoTrends Inc.
     
    Source: Bloomberg

    William Maley

    New Updates on Maserati's Upcoming Crossover

    Dutch Publication Autovise reports Maserati's entant in the luxury crossover class, the Levante, will make its official debut at the Detroit Auto Show next year. A few months after its debut, production of this new crossover will begin.
    As we have reported before, the production Levante will feature a range of V6 and V8 gas and diesel engines built by Ferrari. Power will range from 350 to 580 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive will come standard for each powertrain. Autovise goes on to report that the Levante will only be a five-seater.
    Pricing in Europe for the Levante will range from €90,000 (about $99,800) to €200,000 ($222,000).
    Source: Autovise

    William Maley

    Maserati's New Crossover Passes On Using The Grand Cherokee As A Base

    Previously we've heard Maserati's upcoming crossover, the Levante, would be using the Jeep Grand Cherokee as base. But now, that appears not to be the case. Speaking with CNNMoney, Maserati CEO Harald Wester said the Levante would not use the Grand Cherokee's platform. Motor Trend adds that a engineer recently hinted that Maserati is opting for the Quattroporte/Ghilbi's platform to underpin the Levante.
    Now this isn't the first time Maserati has changed their mind with the Levante. When the model was first announced, it was planned to be built at Chrysler's Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit. Then last year, Maserati announced that production would take place at Fiat's Mirafiori factory in Turin, Italy.
    Source: CNNMoney, Motor Trend
    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
    December 17, 2012
    We know Maserati has some new vehicles coming in the pipeline. There's the new Quattroporte which will be shown at Detroit Auto Show next month, a smaller sedan named the Ghibli, and a new SUV wearing the Levante nameplate.
    Car and Driver has caught wind of some other Maserati products coming soon. First up is the next-generation GranTurismo due out in 2014. Maserati chief designer Lorenzo Ramaciotti has said that it would be a more sports-car-like vehicle unlike the current model which is heavy and large. The GranTrurismo will use the underpinnings of the new Quattroporte. That will be followed by the GranTurismo cabriolet in 2015.
    Also in 2015 will be a new small SUV or crossover to challenge the Audi Q5 and Porsche Macan. The interesting bit of news with this is the SUV/Crossover will use Fiat's CUSW (Compact US Wide platform), built for front-wheel and all-wheel-drive vehicles and seen on such vehicles as the Dodge Dart.
    Source: Car and Driver
    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
    December 11, 2012
    Maserati is making some ambitious sales predictions for the brand and the new Quattroporte that will be shown next month at Detroit.
    At the press introduction of the new Quattroporte in Nice, France, Maserati brand CEO Harald Wester said their parent company Fiat would be investing close to $1.6 billion into the brand to help revitalize and make it more competitive. Maserati will be launching three new vehicles in coming months; the Quattroporte being the first.
    With those new models, Maserati has set a target of 50,000 vehicles by 2015, a large increase from the 6,159 units sold last year. For the new Quattroporte, Maserati is hoping to sell 13,000 models in 2013.
    Maserati is hoping to leverage some of Chrysler's dealer network to help pull these ambitious sales goals.
    Some industry analysts are skeptical of Maserati's lofty sales goals though.
    "Maserati has the right reputation and consumers are out there for more premium cars, especially in the U.S. and China. On the other hand, their target is incredibly ambitious," said Neil King, an analyst at Euromonitor International in London to Automotive News Europe.
    Source: Automotive News Europe
    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
    November 6, 2012
    Maserati has gone ahead and revealed the new Quattroporte sedan, before its official debut at the Detroit Auto Show next year.
    The overall design of the new Quattroporte hasn't evolved too far away from the current car. Both vehicles share a sloping hood, vented fenders, and sexy lines. The new model differs with different belt line, a more raked windshield, and a revised rear end.
    Inside, Maserati is going with the "less is more" design philosophy. This is very evident with uncluttered surfaces and only a few physical controls throughout.
    Power will come from a "all-new next generation powertrain," which in this case will be a V8. Maserati is keeping quiet on horsepower and torque for this engine.
    Source: Maserati
    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
    Press Release is on Page 2
    New Maserati Quattroporte set to debut at 2013 NAIAS in Detroit
    06/11/2012 - Detroit
    The New Maserati
    "Maserati stands today at the edge of an unparalleled strategic and industrial growth that will see our presence in the world rise to 50,000 units a year by 2015. This growth is a challenge for which Maserati has carefully prepared itself and that we all welcome with anticipation.
    It is a growth based on those values of style, elegance, quality, performance for which Maserati has been always recognized and praised in almost 100 years of history. This exciting progression will make the new Maserati a true global player with two new production sites in two different continents and a heart solidly planted in Modena, Italy, where our roots are.
    It is a growth that will be based on three new models entering two new segments of the automobile market – and it starts with the all-new 2013 Maserati Quattroporte."
    Harald Wester, Maserati CEO
    Maserati Quattroporte: Italian Design at its Best
    "The new Maserati Quattroporte is a high-performance sports luxury sedan that reinterprets the design features of classic Maseratis in a contemporary design language. Its style was born out of the guiding design principles of Maserati: harmony of shapes, dynamism of lines, Italian elegance. More generous in size when compared to the previous model, the new Quattroporte has a design that is at once graceful and sinuous, fashioned to bring out the sporty nature of the car.
    Some of the elements characterizing the previous model have been purposely maintained: the front grill, the three side vents, the triangular C pillar. At the same time new style and functional features were introduced: the strong belt line that runs through the entire side of the car giving the new Quattroporte a look and feel that is at once muscular and elegant with frameless doors and three side windows..
    Inside, the design of the Quattroporte aims at essentiality, stressing the simplicity of lines and the full functionality of the in-board instrumentation. Functional elements are blended with soft quality surfaces made of prestigious woods and refined leathers."
    Lorenzo Ramaciotti, Head of Maserati Design Center
    Maserati Quattroporte: All-New Next Generation Powertrain
    "The innovative Maserati proprietary engines of the all-new Maserati Quattroporte have all been designed and developed by Maserati and Ferrari engineers in the heart of Italy's motor valley. As a matter of fact, they are going to be produced in the Ferrari plant in Maranello that has been synonymous with cutting-edge technology and passion for well over 60 years.
    Passion is indeed the middle name of a whole new generation of Maserati engines that will equip the all-new Maserati Quattroporte and the models that will soon follow her on the market. The passion and state-of-the-art technology that is at the heart of all the new Maserati engines that will be mounted on the next generation of Maserati products have produced engines that are not only more powerful than ever, or more exciting to drive than ever – bust also more eco-friendly than ever before."
    Paolo Martinelli, Maserati Powertrain Director
    Maserati Quattroporte: Key Technical Features
    "Refined technical solutions, an explicit attention to the most challenging targets in terms of performance, comfort, efficiency and safety – these are the key elements of the all-new Maserati Quattroporte.
    Maserati engineers have worked - with a competence matched only by their passion – in chassis designing and engineering, weight reduction, ergonomic enhancement to develop a car capable of fitting different powertrain architectures and transmission configurations for the most diverse driving conditions but always maintaining Maserati's trademark best-in-class driving comfort.
    The results is the all-new Maserati Quattroporte, a luxury sports sedan that reaches new heights in terms of performance and handling, driving enjoyment as well as respect of the world we live in: the best performance ever in the long history of Maserati's four-door flagship sedan are matched by the unprecedented success in the quest for an eco-friendly automobile. All this done, of course, as you may expect from Maserati, in the spirit of the most severe active and passive safety conditions."
    Roberto Corradi, Maserati Vehicle Development Director

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
    June 22, 2012
    Maserati is the odd one out in the Fiat hierarchy. Not able to compete with its sister brand, Ferrari, the brand once known for grand prix cars and mid-engined exotics, now builds soft, grand tourers. However, Maserati’s chief executive wants to change that.
    In a interview with Evo magazine, chief executive Harold Wester wants Maserati to go back to the olden days and is pushing for a new mid-engine sports cars. Wester said he would like the car to be “the most pure expression of Maserati sportiness possible.”
    His inspiration for this? The Alfa Romeo 4C. Wester, who is also the chief executive of Alfa Romeo was impressed with the reception of the 4C that he would like to bring some of the magic to Maserati.
    “Imagine having something like the Alfa Romeo 4C but for Maserati. It would have a carbonfibre monocoque and a mid-engined layout, just like the Alfa 4C, as this gives the stylists the most freedom to design something really stunning.”
    The new Maserati, to be called the GranSport, would utilize the 4C’s carbon monocoque construction. Power would come from a 4.7L V8 producing 454 HP. Weight for this new Maserati is targeted at 1200 kg or about 2645 lbs, which would undercut the Ferrari 458 Italia.
    The GranSport would be priced at the same level as the higher end Porsche 911s.
    “I want this car to be better to drive than a 911 Turbo, but I also want it to cost less. We won’t limit the production of this car, but I’d like to think that we will sell, let’s say, between 1500 and 2000 units a year,” Wester said.
    For now, this is just a proposal.
    Source: Evo
    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    April 25, 2012
    This years Beijing Auto Show marks the end of the road for the Maserati Kubang concept.
    "After Beijing, we will retire the Kubang concept. Our SUV will reappear in its production form and with its final name in due time," said Maserati CEO Harald Wester.
    Beijing marks the forth showing of the Kubang SUV. First unveiled at last year's Frankfurt auto show, the Kubang also has been shown at Dubai and Detroit.
    Sources inside Maserati say the production version will arrive in 2014.
    Source: Autoweek

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    March 12, 2012
    We’ve been hearing for the past couple of months of a new Maserati Quattroporte coming sometime next year and now we got our hands on the first spy shots.
    You have to give Maserati’s engineers credit for plastering all of the camouflage on this mule. The only way you could tell it was a Maserati was an opening in the front for cooling; this is where the trident grill would be placed.
    So what do we know about the new Quattroporte? Well, we know that it will grow in size to make space for a new smaller sedan. We also know that the new Quattroporte could be using some bits from the Chrysler 300 in its new platform. And we’re expecting the current V8 to have some changes before it arrives sometime in 2013.
    Source: Autoblog

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    March 7, 2012
    We’re going long with this rumor, so bear that in mind. MotoriOnline, a Italian automotive site reports that Maserati has trademarked two names; Cinqueporte and Levante. MotoriOnline speculates the Cinqueporte will be the name for the new SUV due to the name translating to “five doors”.
    So what about Levante? Well, MotoriOnline says the name will most likely appear on the new small sedan that will sit under the Quattroporte. The new small sedan is due out in 2014.
    Source: MotoriOnline

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