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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Maserati Hopes For A Reversal of Fortune

      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)

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    Their problems are 100% product and not any pairing with Alfa Romeo.  Maserati cars have poor build quality, low rent interior plastics and their whole deal is supposed to be performance, and any of the Germans will sell a better performing car and at less money.

    Case in point, Levante Trofeo is $170,000 base and the GLE63 which is dated itself is just as fast at about $125,000.  Or get a Cayenne Turbo or the new X5 M.  The most powerful Ghibli has 424 hp, you can get more than that in an E53, and the top Quattroporte has 523 hp, you get 630 in the AMG GT 4-door and the AMG GT is your Nurburgring lap record holder for a 4 door car.

    Maserati is just a disaster, only way to fix it is better product, and clearly they don't have the money or resources or engineering know-how to do it.  

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    2 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    Their problems are 100% product and not any pairing with Alfa Romeo.  Maserati cars have poor build quality, low rent interior plastics and their whole deal is supposed to be performance, and any of the Germans will sell a better performing car and at less money.

    Case in point, Levante Trofeo is $170,000 base and the GLE63 which is dated itself is just as fast at about $125,000.  Or get a Cayenne Turbo or the new X5 M.  The most powerful Ghibli has 424 hp, you can get more than that in an E53, and the top Quattroporte has 523 hp, you get 630 in the AMG GT 4-door and the AMG GT is your Nurburgring lap record holder for a 4 door car.

    Maserati is just a disaster, only way to fix it is better product, and clearly they don't have the money or resources or engineering know-how to do it.  

    Hm, where to get the money for better product?  May I suggest ending FIAT and funneling that cash towards upgrading Maserati?  Makes a lot more sense than wasting a dime on FIAT.

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    They probably should dump Fiat.  Even in the 2nd world countries, I imagine VW, Skoda, Seat, Nissan/Renault or Toyota do way better and Fiat probably doesn't even do well in counties that crave cheap small cars.

    I don't really see the need for Maserati either.  As a high dollar car it should have good margins, but it doesn't because they can't sell enough and you still have some amount of fixed costs to cover.  Really you could transform the Ghibli into a mid/large Alfa Romeo sedan then Alfa has 2 sedans, give them another SUV and they have 2, give them an 8C $100k sports car as a halo product and that makes Maserati pointless. 

    Jaguar to some degree is in the same situation.  Just because Jaguar and Maserati are storied brands, doesn't mean they are relevant today.  Blockbuster Video and Sears were successful, segment leading brands are one point, irrelevant today.  I don't see any path in which FCA competes with the German luxury car brands.  They are too good at what they do and too far ahead.

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    Fiat cars worldwide were down to approx 1.1M in 2017, from 1.6M in 2010.   Fiat Commercial was up to approx 450k in 2017.   That is still a lot of sales...

    Edited by Robert Hall

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