Maserati-Alfa Romeo bundle was a mistake says FCA CEO


2019 Maserati Levante Trofeo, 2018 New York auto show

2019 Maserati Levante Trofeo, 2018 New York auto show

As newly minted Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles CEO Mike Manley settles in, his strategy is starting to become clear. As part of it, we'll see Maserati drift away from Alfa Romeo in the future.

Manley said the strategy to bundle Maserati and Alfa Romeo under one leader was a mistake, according to a Saturday Automotive News (subscription required) report. The CEO said the move took the focus off Maserati and the marque was, for a time, treated like a mass-market brand, "which it isn't and shouldn't be treated that way," he added.

Since taking over, Manley has installed Harald Wester as the head of the brand. He led Maserati from 2008 until 2016 and has since been FCA's chief technology officer. Wester then recruited Jean-Philippe Leloup, an experienced sales and marketing pro from Ferrari.

2019 Maserati Levante GTS

2019 Maserati Levante GTS

Maserati will likely miss the brand's target for the year, which was to sell 50,000 vehicles. The figure was slashed mid-year from former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne's initial outlook of 75,000 vehicles. AN reported Maserati sales are down 26 percent through the first nine months of the year with just 26,400 new cars delivered. Analysts said Maserati's rather dry product portfolio hasn't helped, and its varied launch cadences have put rivals ahead in important segments.

For example, the Levante SUV, launched two years ago, faces newer luxury SUVs from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche. The Levante's large luxury SUV segment is also on the decline while small SUVs are taking off. Maserati plans to remedy that with a mid-size luxury SUV. And the Levante is the brand's newest vehicle. It's cars are much older. 

Maserati 2022 roadmap

Maserati 2022 roadmap

FCA's latest five-year plan calls for widespread electrification at Maserati, the aforementioned SUV, and a production Alfieri halo car. The latter will take inspiration from the 2014 Alfieri concept, but its arrival in coupe and cabrio body styles will likely spell the end of the GranTurismo.

By 2022, we'll also see a new Ghibli sedan as the brand pushes for a profit margin of at least 15 percent that same year. Manley said he has no reason not to believe the brand won't achieve such a goal.

 
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