“We Sucked At The 2017 Launch Of The Maserati Levante”, Says Marchionne

Sergio Marchionne wasn’t afraid to admit that the original launch of the Maserati Levante was a major disappointment, going as far as saying that they “sucked” at it.

During a call with investors, Fiat Chrysler’s CEO also spoke openly about the challenges the company is currently facing, including the challenges they’re facing with the launch of the 2019 Ram 1500, as reported by Motor Trend.

Retooling and getting the Sterling Heights assembly plant north of Detroit ready for the production of the new pickup truck proved more challenging and expensive than expected, adding an extra $300 million to the bottom line. Even today, the factory is running at 60 percent of its capacity, with FCA estimating it to run at full steam late this year.

As for the Levante, Maserati sold just 5.485 units in 2017, with FCA cutting production of the Italian SUV by 59 percent as the demand was simply never there. Marchionne, who thinks highly of the Levante, can’t hide his disappointment for the way the SUV was marketed and hopes that the new Levante Trofeo will be a “reset for the U.S. market.”

The terrible launch of the Levante was also one of the reasons Marchionne replaced Reid Bigland with Tim Kuniskis in the position of Maserati’s and Alfa Romeo’s  global head.

Maserati Levante Trofeo

The range-topping Maserati Levante Trofeo debuted at the New York Auto Show, featuring a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 with 581hp (590PS) and 538lb-ft (730Nm) of torque. Maserati claims it’s capable of pulling the 0-62mph (100km/h) in 3.9 seconds and accelerate beyond the 186mph (300km/h) mark.

The chassis has been updated with Maserati’s new ‘Integrated Vehicle Control’ system that prevents any vehicle instabilities before they even happen and a new ‘Corsa’ driving mode that improves the engine’s response and gear changes, as well as firm up the suspension.

more photos...
  • Nordschleife

    This is the only car that looks crazy cheap when it doesn’t have the big rims. It’s a shame it’s launch was abysmal. When spec’d right this looks rather tempting.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      I still don’t know why car companies make cheap-looking versions of their cars. Each time someone sees one, all they see is an unattractive vehicle. Imagine if all of a specific model looks attractive…

      Anyhoo…I am with you on the rightly spec’d ones…the one in this picture actually looks good to me. I saw one in person and they actually look fantastic, just not at EVERY angle.

      • Nordschleife

        Right. I get you want to have a range but I feel you should always show your vehicle in the best light. I have seen this vehicle in person at its best and it’s quite a nice vehicle.

      • alexxx

        If people wouldn’t buy cheap looking versions then car companies wouldn’t make cheap looking versions anymore…

      • Nick099

        I agree with you but the cheaper ones sell.
        You just have to ask yourself how many premium brands have their large cars powered by mouse motors. The same question of sports cars. The answer is most of them. All show and no go is alive and well in the psyche of most folks.

  • Considering the price, I see a lot of Levantes where I live…they must be offering cut rate leases on them…

    • Victor Ferreira

      Only ad I’ve seen was for a $789/month lease… and if they’re losing money at those prices, they clearly have no place being in business.

  • Victor Ferreira

    It’s actually quite surprising to me that they’re labeling it a flop in this manner. I see them everywhere where I live. In fact, I’ve probably seen around ten times as many Levantes as I’ve seen Giulias or Stelvios. Not that that’s any indication of success, but I thought it must have been doing pretty well for such an expensive niche car.

  • William

    It was a strategic miss to not launch with the V8 initially.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      I think the styling is also an issue. It works as a second SUV in the line up a la X6 or something, but as the only option it doesn’t work.
      I am not sure Marchionne and gang know who buys Maseratis. They are missing out on people who are simply looking for a badge. They should have made something the size of a Range Rover or GLS even and made it sporty.

    • Merc1

      Correct and they made the higher spec trim a special order only car. Yeah all of that was dumb.

      It makes no sense that the Ghibli doesn’t have a V8 either. Quattroporte should have this new 590hp V8 or one of Ferrari’s V12.

      Maser is supposed to be the 4-door Ferrari, but it’s Alfa that is doing that.

      M

  • jaykit

    He got it wrong. It should have been, ““The Maserati Levante Sucked At The 2017 Launch Of The Maserati Levante”

  • LeStori

    Another “truck” for the inept. . These types of vehicles are trying to be everything to everyone. A people mover. A luxury vehicle. A sports car. The ultimate mum’s mobile that the henpecked will want to drive in that dangerous enviroment out there. When I think Maserati, I do not think SUV .

  • europeon

    I’ve been busy with RL stuff, but in the rare ocasions when I come back, I see you still like to present information in a very misleading way.

    > As for the Levante, Maserati sold just 5.485 units in 2017

    In the US. You phrased this in a way readers would understand it’s worldwide.

    And for comparison, Porsche sold 13k Cayennes in 2017 in the US, so for a new player in this segment, like Maserati is, I don’t see where the failure is in selling half of that. Keep in mind that Porsche has both cheaper/less powerful models and more expensive/powerful models in the Cayenne range, and those cheaper ones make for a lot of the sale numbers.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      Pretty sure you either have a Levante or you bought stock in FCA.

      You and I argued over the size some months ago, and I hate to admit it but you were RIGHT and I was wrong.
      The problem then is styling IMO. It is a nice ride, just should not be the main SUV for the brand. It looks awkward, plain and simple. But, the X6 and GLE coupe (add X4 and co.) have buyers, so this should as well.

      A more conventional looking SUV is whats needed. Alfa Romeo Stelvio is/will face the same problem. Just looks diminutive for what it is supposed to be.

      • europeon

        Styling is subjective, and, as I’ve been trying to say for years now, Maserati’s brand values are different from the ones of “the Germans”, you simply can’t judge them by the same standards.

        • Merc1

          That is delusional. What standards should they buy judged by?

          M

          • europeon

            Not yours.

    • Merc1

      It’s U.S. based website and selling half of your competitors is not a “resounding success”. What in the world are you suffering from?

      M

      • europeon

        Yes, indeed, you are a living example of fading common sense and logic. I won’t even bother replying to all the stupid things you said because I’m tired to explain things that common sense and simple logic every time.

        • Merc1

          No I’m really interested as to how you can spin a company having to cut production on a vehicle by 60% being a resounding success. You can’t which is why you’re saying that. You just proved what I was saying, thanks.

          M

          • europeon

            60% of a projected sales figure, but… logic an you are things that can’t exist in the same universe.

  • Ed Ward

    If it was a Chrysler suv, it would have sold very well. No one in their right mind would spend their hard earned money on a Maserati or Alfa Romeo. They need CHRYSLER and DODGE investment and quick.

  • LWOAP

    Those 2017 numbers were only for the US. You should specify otherwise it comes off as misleading.

  • Six_Tymes

    Trofeo is good looking, inside and out. I am curious to see a review of it, if its in the right honest hands that is

  • Andrewthecarguy

    Ok…
    Whatevs.

    If FCA had to cut production by 59% because there was no demand, then it is a failure.

    • alexxx

      You are right there…
      But saying that Maserati sold only 5xxx Levantes is misleading when it’s only a USA sales number…agree?

      • Merc1

        NO, this is w US Website! Most if not all the sales articles here deal in U.S. numbers.

        M

  • I doubt that top of the range model would “reset” the Levante presence in US. Bringing people to the showroom maybe.

  • SteersUright

    Too many compelling alternatives. This SUV simply isnt differentiated enough nor any better in any significant way than better known and better regarded brands already out there. Personally, I also think this Maserati does not offer a particularly beautiful interior nor does it sport a beautiful exterior design. Its actually rather cheap looking from certain angles and nothing as impressive as it should be.

    • alexxx

      Well….it looks 10times better then Porsche Cayenne and the cayenne is selling big…so…I think it has nothing to do with looks…

      • SteersUright

        True, the Cayenne has always been rather ugly. But it was one thing going for it slapped on its ass “P O R S C H E”, which has deservedly become a coveted brand. Who is Maserati? A Fiat in drag? They dont get to produce ugly SUVs and cars and get away with it. They haven’t earned that right yet.

        • alexxx

          Agree…

          • europeon

            Read my comment above. Selling twice as much, with a much larger range of engine and specs, isn’t “big” by any standard.

          • alexxx

            Nonetheless,Porsche name is much bigger then Maseratis, I am afraid.

  • Auf Wiedersehen

    That’s not the ONLY thing FCA sucks at.

  • Emoto

    I spend a fair amount of my free time reading car-related stuff, and the launch snuck by me somehow. *shrug* I don’t think they made a very big splash with this model.

    I am underwhelmed by the styling. Maybe it is nice to drive.

  • Bash

    Hey serg!,, not only at the Lavanti launch.

  • Merc1

    And then what, U.S or anywhere else it doesn’t change the fact that this truck flopped. In a market that is SUV crazy it isn’t selling. You’re arguing about something that it tally matterless here.

    M

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