Maserati Promises Not to Go All Electric on Us

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Maserati promises it will steer clear of widespread electrification. And yet, it’s unclear whether this is part of a bold corporate strategy that sees electrification as the less-promising path forward, or simply the result of the brand’s current financial situation.

Regardless, the firm’s North American leader, Al Gardner, says it’s not in the cards. While Maserati fully intends to insert more plug-in vehicles and hybrids into its lineup by 2022, it vows to stop short of killing the internal combustion engine. Of course, we know that’s a promise no automaker can expect to keep indefinitely. All it takes is one important change in management to readjust a brand’s corporate trajectory, but Maserati appears safe from total electrification for the time being.

“This is a brand that needs combustion engines. It needs that raw emotion,” Gardner said in an interview with Motor Trend in which he outlined the company’s future.

In his opinion, Maserati needs to get in touch with its racing roots. Established as a company solely focused on racing cars over 100 years ago, the brand eventually expanded into luxury vehicles. By the 1960s, Maserati was putting the majority of its energy behind road-going GT cars, and that’s been the story ever since. But the big problem, as Gardner sees it, is a lack of awareness.

While we’re happy to agree that Maserati’s marketing efforts could be better, we’re not so sure public visibility is the biggest issue confronting the premium brand.

From Motor Trend:

Maserati shipments were down 41 percent, and net revenue fell 38 percent in the first three months. That’s on top of a 28 percent drop in sales in 2018. Those numbers are not a good trajectory for a brand that FCA’s five-year plan designated as a key pillar of the group’s future growth and success.

But improvements are coming in the second half of the year under new brand chief Harald Wester, who is also the company’s chief technology officer. And the brand is regaining momentum, said [FCA CEO Mike] Manley, even as it awaits new products and battles the headwinds of slowing auto sales in China.

Manley has also said Maserati stands to receive additional sales and marketing help on a global scale. Meanwhile, FCA’s examining ways to add EVs to its fleet, hoping to appease regulators that think it doesn’t have enough. One of the more interesting solutions involves an agreement that pools its vehicles with Tesla. Under the deal, FCA will count Tesla’s fleet in its figures, allowing the carmaker to lower its average CO2 output per vehicle whilst paying Tesla for the privilege.

[Image: FCA]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

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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4 of 11 comments
  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on May 07, 2019

    They are overpriced as is. They have to get real about pricing them otherwise there is no future for Maserati. IMO they would be better spending all these money on Chrysler or Dodge to develop new crossovers. How can they survive without mainstream brands which all are starved to death to maintain illusion about Alpha Romeo and Maserati. Ford was burned badly with this strategy wasting all money on "Crown Jewels".

    • See 1 previous
    • TMA1 TMA1 on May 08, 2019

      Sergio's biggest mistake.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on May 11, 2019

    "We won't make-a the EVs. Or any cars, for that matter. Sales down-a 70%, what can you do." Agreed that Maserati and Ferrari should be combined, with Maserati being the sedan version of a Ferrari.

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Union fees and corruption. What can go wrong?
  • Lou_BC How about one of those 2 foot wide horizontal speedometers out of the late 60's Ford Galaxie?
  • Lou_BC Was he at GM for 47 years or an engineer for 47 years?
  • Ajla The VW vote that was held today heavily favored unionization (75/25). That's a very large victory for the UAW considering such a vote has failed two other times this decade at that plant.
  • The Oracle Just advertise ICE vehicles by range instead of MPG and let the market decide.