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.