FCA Says Maserati Will Remain Unprofitable Until Post-2020 Product Offensive

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Maserati posted an ugly financial report for the second quarter of 2019. Revenue was down 40 percent, resulting in a loss of $132 million before interest and taxes. The good news, according to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, is that the brand will become profitable once new product hits the ground.

The bad news? None of those vehicles are scheduled to arrive until after 2020, meaning Maserati probably won’t see any improvements until sometime afterward. FCA CEO Mike Manley has already said the rest of 2019 will be ugly for the brand, though he remains hopeful that the 10 new or refreshed vehicles the premium nameplate had in the works would help it turn a corner.

In the meantime, Maserati wants to continue taking steps to reduce bloated dealer inventories. In 2018, the marque had a five-month supply of autos. The goal is to tamp that down by half by the end of this year. The company has already cut production and reduced deliveries by 46 percent in the second quarter. Sales declined by 17 percent, to 7,200 vehicles, over the same period.

While plenty of Maserati’s new product remains a mystery, we do know it plans to add a new sports car to the mix next year and update its mainstay models. There’s also a crossover, slotted below the Levante, and a successor to the Granturismo coming in 2021. The Quattroporte is scheduled to get its replacement in 2022, with the next-generation Levante arriving the following year.

We couldn’t say if this will work, however. Maserati is performing well below FCA’s original expectations. Former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne envisioned the brand yielding 75,000 deliveries annually, but Maserati had trouble even meeting its revised target of 50,000 units in 2018, moving just 36,500 cars. A large part of its problem was an inability to launch new product — something at the core of its turnaround strategy. Manley has previously said that lumping the brand in with Alfa Romeo was also a big mistake, promising that this won’t be an issue in the future, now that the brand has its own leadership.

[Image: Giovanni Love/Shutterstock]

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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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Aug 07, 2019

    This is what happens when you make it so difficult to apply car wax around your company's logo without getting it stuck in all those little nooks and crannies (first picture). Karma is a real thing.

  • MyerShift MyerShift on Aug 13, 2019

    Absolutely disgusting that money is poured into this pet project of the Europeans while they siphon all the profits generated by the North American MaMopar operations, leaving Ma to starve and wither. Just like $@#&+/- Daimler did.

  • Dartdude Having the queen of nothing as the head of Dodge is a recipe for disaster. She hasn't done anything with Chrysler for 4 years, May as well fold up Chrysler and Dodge.
  • Pau65792686 I think there is a need for more sedans. Some people would rather drive a car over SUV’s or CUV’s. If Honda and Toyota can do it why not American brands. We need more affordable sedans.
  • Tassos Obsolete relic is NOT a used car.It might have attracted some buyers in ITS DAY, 1985, 40 years ago, but NOT today, unless you are a damned fool.
  • Stan Reither Jr. Part throttle efficiency was mentioned earlier in a postThis type of reciprocating engine opens the door to achieve(slightly) variable stroke which would provide variable mechanical compression ratio adjustments for high vacuum (light load) or boost(power) conditions IMO
  • Joe65688619 Keep in mind some of these suppliers are not just supplying parts, but assembled components (easy example is transmissions). But there are far more, and the more they are electronically connected and integrated with rest of the platform the more complex to design, engineer, and manufacture. Most contract manufacturers don't make a lot of money in the design and engineering space because their customers to that. Commodity components can be sourced anywhere, but there are only a handful of contract manufacturers (usually diversified companies that build all kinds of stuff for other brands) can engineer and build the more complex components, especially with electronics. Every single new car I've purchased in the last few years has had some sort of electronic component issue: Infinti (battery drain caused by software bug and poorly grounded wires), Acura (radio hiss, pops, burps, dash and infotainment screens occasionally throw errors and the ignition must be killed to reboot them, voice nav, whether using the car's system or CarPlay can't seem to make up its mind as to which speakers to use and how loud, even using the same app on the same trip - I almost jumped in my seat once), GMC drivetrain EMF causing a whine in the speakers that even when "off" that phased with engine RPM), Nissan (didn't have issues until 120K miles, but occassionally blew fuses for interior components - likely not a manufacturing defect other than a short developed somewhere, but on a high-mileage car that was mechanically sound was too expensive to fix (a lot of trial and error and tracing connections = labor costs). What I suspect will happen is that only the largest commodity suppliers that can really leverage their supply chain will remain, and for the more complex components (think bumper assemblies or the electronics for them supporting all kinds of sensors) will likley consolidate to a handful of manufacturers who may eventually specialize in what they produce. This is part of the reason why seemingly minor crashes cost so much - an auto brand does nst have the parts on hand to replace an integrated sensor , nor the expertice as they never built them, but bought them). And their suppliers, in attempt to cut costs, build them in way that is cheap to manufacture (not necessarily poorly bulit) but difficult to replace without swapping entire assemblies or units).I've love to see an article on repair costs and how those are impacting insurance rates. You almost need gap insurance now because of how quickly cars depreciate yet remain expensive to fix (orders more to originally build, in some cases). No way I would buy a CyberTruck - don't want one, but if I did, this would stop me. And it's not just EVs.
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