Maserati, despite a penchant for parts-sharing with cheaper cars and a new directive to be a volume brand, won’t sell more than 75,000 models a year.
According to Reuters and Bloomberg, that’s the limit the Italian automaker has self-imposed to keep its “exclusivity.” Under the umbrella of Fiat Chrysler and the direction CEO Sergio Marchionne, Maserati has gone downmarket in an effort to boost sales and make the trident marque more popular against mainstream luxury competitors.
Last year, Maserati sold just over 15,000 cars worldwide and wants to ramp up to 75,000 by 2018. At that time, the Levante SUV, a new Alfieri coupe and an updated GranTurismo coupe and convertible will be available from Maserati, not to mention a host of diesel engines. By next year, Maserati plans to double its dealerships to 500.
The new Ghibli sedan starts at less than $70,000, while the upcoming Levante SUV is supposed to be based on the Grand Cherokee. But on the road to more affordable Maseratis, the mystique of these beautiful, handmade exotics is rapidly fading. Inside the larger Quattroporte and the Ghibli, parts shared with Dodge and FIAT models — such as the switches and much of the touch-screen interface — are glaringly obvious. Dan Neil of The Wall Street Journal caught the cost savings when he reviewed the Ghibli last weekend.
“Much too much of Chrysler’s human interface, from the Ram truck ‘Start’ button to the sluggy Garmin navigation systems, made the voyage from Auburn Hills,” he wrote.
While FIAT is losing money across the board in Europe, we’re not sure that building Maserati production up to Porsche levels — especially without that brand’s reputation for quality and reliability — is the answer. As we noted at the New York auto show this April, there’s a big problem when you sit in a loaded 2015 Chrysler 200 and then get into a Maserati Ghibli and can’t really feel the change — aside from the badge on the steering wheel.
Source: Automotive News