Maserati is looking at a change of strategy amidst declining sales and profits around the world. The Italian luxury carmaker aims to shed its image of a mass-market brand and ascend as a force to be reckoned with in luxury and performance car circles.
New Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Mike Manley admitted that pairing up Alfa Romeo and Maserati under the same strategy was a mistake, resulting in the latter being treated “almost like a mass-market brand”. Manley has reconstituted Harald Wester to take the reins at Maserati and tasked him with installing a new management team and developing a revised plan. Wester previously led Maserati between 2008 and 2016.
Getting into the SUV game was not easy for a brand such as Maserati, but the Levante is losing its sheen fast.
Wester has already recruited Jean-Philippe Leloup from Ferrari to lead the new ‘Maserati Commercial’ department. Maserati North America also gets a new chief. There is no word yet about additional investments, if any, that FCA is setting up for Maserati.
Speaking at an investor conference in 2018, Manley said, “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 added that the new plan “will be followed by some further action we will take in the fourth quarter.
“It will take at least two quarters to sort through some of the channel issues, but I’m expecting Harald and his team to make some significant progress beginning in the second half of 2019.”
Maserati aims to usher in an electrified era with the launch of the long-delayed Alfieri in EV and PHEV guises.
Maserati is currently reeling from multiple losses such as a substantial sales slump in China, problems caused by new WLTP emissions regulations, and most importantly the lack of new models. The Maserati GranTurismo and GranCabrio are both 11 years old, effectively the oldest cars on sale today. The Quattroporte and Ghibli saloons are more than five years old, and the Levante has also not seen much traction past the two-year mark.
Maserati’s five-year plan was laid down by former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne in June 2018. Under the new plan of action, Maserati planned to launch the Alfieri coupe with both electric and plug-in hybrid drivetrains. A new SUV is coming that slots under the Levante. Maserati also plans replacements for the Ghibli, Quattroporte, and Levante as both EVs and PHEVs.