Sergio Says Maserati Needs Another SUV
Nobody could have predicted the success Porsche was to enjoy after introducing a performance-oriented sport utility vehicle in 2002. When the German manufacturer introduced the Cayenne, everyone scoffed, claiming the very idea of a sporting high-end SUV was patently ridiculous.
It’s now 15 years later and every premium brand is trying to replicate Porsch’s success with its own ultra-lux SUV. Lamborghini is getting the Urus, Bentley has the Bentayga, and even Ferrari — a company that said a sport utility vehicle was out of the question — recently confirmed development plans on its own “FUV.”
But sometimes one just isn’t enough. Maserati already has the Levante but Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says it will need a second if it’s going to hit ambitious profitability targets announced this week.
The Levante has already helped bolster Maserati volume quite a bit, but the brand is aiming for at least 70,000 annual units globally. Through September of this year, the company has managed 10,962 deliveries between Canada and the United States — and it’s on track to surpass 2016’s regional sales volume of 13,216. This is thanks largely due to the Levante and Ghibli moving at much higher volumes than the GranTurismo.
Worldwide, the more practical models have helped Maserati’s global sales immensely. The brand has shipped 36,000 global units within the first three quarters of 2017, compared to only 23,900 cars last year. Sergio thinks that ceiling could be much higher and would be reachable if the company had something akin to Porsche’s Macan.
According to Bloomberg, Marchionne feels Maserati can eventually generate 1 billion euros in earnings on 70,000 to 80,000 vehicle sales. The vehicle to bring in enough clientele to make this possible would be based off the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and slotted below the Levante — in both size and price. The prospective SUV exists on a tentative timetable with production set to begin in 2020.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.
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