FCA Takes The First Steps Towards Maserati’s Hopeful Salvation

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles boss Michael Manley had no problem of admitting that pairing Maserati with Alfa Romeo was wrong, and now he appears to have a new strategy that will hopefully turn things around for the troubled Italian brand.

While details of Maserati’s new strategy are still under wraps, Manley’s move to restore Harald Wester as Maserati’s head and give him the task of forming a new management team is indicative of the ongoing planning, Autocar reports.

Wester has already appointed Jean-Philippe Leloup -who previously worked as Ferrari’s chief of operations in central and eastern Europe- to lead a new division called Maserati Commercial. Al Gardner was also promoted to lead Maserati in North America.

FCA didn’t tell if Maserati will receive any additional investment, as work on the brand’s new strategy is still ongoing.

During an investor conference last year, 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.”

Manley added that Maserati’s new plan will be followed by some further action during 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 suffered greatly from a sales drop in China and other delays caused by the latest WLTP emission regulations. However, the brand’s biggest problem can be found in its lineup: the GranTurismo and GranCabrio models are now 11 years old, followed by the Ghibli and Quattroporte that are five years old. Even the two-year-old Levante saw its sales dropping fast in a segment that includes newer rivals like the Porsche Cayenne.

Last time we heard about Maserati’s future was in June 2018, Sergio Marchionne’s last investor conference. The plan included the launch of the Alfieri coupe in both full-electric and plug-in hybrid versions, a new crossover that will be positioned under the Levante and brand-new successors for the Ghibli, Quattroporte and Levante that will feature both pure electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains.

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  • Merc1

    There is absolutely NO new information provided here. NONE. There was no reason to write any of this. Complete time waster.

    M

    • Mr. EP9

      Seems pretty normal for this site.

    • pxsupply

      Too much coffee?

    • Matt

      Also the interior photo is a modified car from tuning company.

  • Galaxium

    My brand perception of Maserati has fallen so much. The Ghibli sharing parts with the Dodge Dart as well as an overall cheap feeling compared to anything comparable. Hopefully these changes help Maserati out.

    • NightCall

      Dodge Dart and Maserati Ghibli share nothing. Why diffuse such misleading information?

      • Jay

        Probably referring to how they share buttons, knobs and switches.

        • Benjamin B.

          Even Alfa Romeo uses Chrysler UConnect software for the infotainment system

        • NightCall

          That’s not either true, c’mon. Dart was based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta platform, it’s more likely they were sharing something.

          • Jay

            It is true. You do realize that Alfa Romeo is another brand under FCA right. They all share parts.

        • europeon

          Mercedes buttons, knobs and switches, inherited from DaimlerChrysler era.

      • Galaxium

        If you’ve sat in a Dodge Dart, you’d recognize various parts that the Ghibli also has. They share identical infotainment systems, and no matter how ‘good’ UConnect is, Maserati didn’t update any of the icons or interface to make it more upscale or fitting for a luxury/sports brand that easily enter the six figure range.

        Instead of accusing me of making false claims, you should probably google it yourself.

        • europeon

          They did upgrade the infotainment after the first two model years. Who’s talking about googleing now?

          • Galaxium

            I haven’t caught up with the Ghibli after its release, which was not very good according to reviewers.

          • europeon

            The so-called “reviewers” are idiots, and they proved it more than enough in this case. Not all of them, it’s only dumb demuro types.

    • Joe E

      Ditto. The current Ghibli was very damaging to the brand. Especially how they were blowing them out on lease special so anyone who could swing a lease for a 3-series could get into a Ghibli. I had two friends lease Ghiblis (both the type here in Los Angeles that just lease whatever is ‘hot’ every three years, almost like changing clothes), and both liked how they drive but were underwhelmed by the rest of the car. The interiors seemed to age very rapidly. Both moved on to other brands and are not looking back. I do hope Maserati turns it around; still lots of value in that marque despite the Ghibli mis-adventure.

      • Benjamin B.

        Too bad FCA doesn’t have plans on an all-new Ghibli. The larger Maserati models will get all new platforms while the Ghibli will have to keep its old one.

      • europeon

        No, the entry-level/poverty spec Ghiblis and Quattroportes are damaging the brand.

    • europeon

      Mercedes parts, not Dodge darts. Your perception has fallen because you listen to stupid reviewers without bothering checking the facts.

      • Galaxium

        The reality is that brands like Maserati, which have product lines that mostly start $130k+, should not have parts shared with other economy cars, like the Dodge Dart. If the parts were cheap enough to be used in economy cars (which have razor thin margins comparing to other class segments), then it shouldn’t be used for a brand that can command easily six-digit prices. Surely you can agree to some degree with me?

  • Cool guy

    Carlacks taste!

  • MarkoS

    I think paring Maserati with Ferrari during the spin-off would have been a better choice.

    • Benjamin B.

      Some models still use Ferrari sources engines. Love that FCA invested a lot of money into Alfa-Romeo, but Maserati didn’t receive the same investment. The Maserati Quattroporte should compete with the Porsche Panamera and Mercedes-Benz GT 4-door, but it’s pretty shit compared to the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class or C-Class. It compares more favorably against a Dodge Charger, which is its hillbilly cousin.

      • MarkoS

        I wouldn’t say it is that dismal. The Charger is more closely related to the E-Class from days with Daimler/Chrysler. But I would agree it needs investment and just where it should be competing. I just don’t see it fitting in with FCA with Alpha. Pairing it with Ferrari would have been a better move.

      • europeon

        All petrol engines are Ferrari engines. As for the rest of the comment, it shows what an ignorant you are.

  • Bob

    Let’s hope it’s not another case of “you get a Fiat platform, you get a Fiat platform, you all get a Fiat platform!”

  • Jay

    We feel as though they shouldn’t share anything from a lesser car at all. Where’s the love. Sort of like getting a generic store bought birthday cake vs a homemade one. IMO nothing about the current Maseratis are stunning ad they hardly turn head any more. I don’t here the brand when luxury cars are brought up either.

  • Benjamin B.

    Maserati’s infotainment is Chrysler’s UConnect. Rolls Royce and Bentley don’t use either BMW or Volkswagen’s infotainment software.

    I understand Chrysler’s software is very good. And the new Ram trucks are lovely with that Tesla-like portrait screen.

    • Adi

      Actually Rolls Royce and Bentley use BMW a VW infotainment just with slight changes.

  • Wandering_Spirit

    They need a model in the midrange where Cayman sits. They need to renew the range and the interiors and all the rest. These half-baked “reforms” never work. They either go all in or can’t expect the market to be happy. Taiwan sells quite a few as it’s perceived as an old style gentleman’s GT car, but they can’t keep that halo forever.

  • Ronald Roman

    IMO, Levante is the best looking SUV. From outside. The interior design and materials are…chrysler-esque.

  • europeon

    six grand = six figures

  • Galaxium

    You need to stop.

    Yes, I know the Ghibli started at $70k – that’s why I said everything else starts around $130k. Please read closer.

    Your examples aren’t really good. At the end of the day, they used the same, cheap switches and parts from a Dodge Dart. No sane luxury consumer would be happy about this.

    You need to stop trying to defend Maserati. This is why Fiat has decided to improve Maserati, as per this article.

    • europeon

      No, YOU need to stop with all this BS. Ghibli and Levante both start at ~70k, Quattroporte (which is literally a long wheel base Ghibli with more standard options) starts at ~90k and that’s about it. Don’t know where you get the 130k figure. Probably the same place where you get the cheap switches and the other stupid things you say. There is absolutely nothing shared with Dodge Dart and the switches are inherited from Mercedes from the DaimlerChrysler era, and they were used in 150k+ AMG models. And even so, they’re made from different materials with metal inserts and with LED lighting.
      YOU need to stop spreading all this misinformation that you got from somewhere on the Internet.
      They decided to *improve* the brand because marchionne took it a bit more downmarket than it should have been, not because there is something wrong with it.

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