Fiat SpA’s CEO Sergio Marchionne is proving to be a hard worker, from taking up the task of rescuing the Chrysler Group, to making radical changes to keep up with other automobile conglomerates like General Motors, Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Corporation. As part of those radical changes, Marchionne set some ambitious plans for Maserati in which he says will be the brand to challenge Porsche and Bentley—not Ferrari.
“Ferrari doesn’t play with Bentley and with Porsche, it plays in its own box,” Marchionne said in an interview.
Prior to the conceptualization of Maserati’s first ever SUV, Marchionne had considered branding their at-the-time “new luxury SUV” idea as a Ferrari. However, he didn’t feel that was suitable for Ferrari’s image. And to add, Marchionne clearly pointed out that Ferrari has no plans to launch a four-door rival to the Aston Marton Rapide as the Maserati Quattroporte is more of a suitable competitor.
“We have invested as heavily as we have in Maserati because this brand has all the elements of the proper DNA to play in that fight,” he said.
Unlike the rest of the Fiat brand, Ferrari’s growth will still be limited to an annual sales figure of just 10,000 in the mid-term, up from 7,000 last year, he continued. He also said that increasing the annual sales of Ferrari would be “dangerous” to the integrity of the brand.
“It’s absolutely crucial,” he pointed out. “The uniqueness of that brand cannot be minimized and so we are very, very careful.”
After Marchionne’s plans for Maserati set in, he hopes the brand will increase their annual sales tenfold to about 55,000-60,000 units, up from just 5,675 from last year. And to help with this goal would be Maserati’s two new four-door sedans: a replacement to the aging Quattroporte and a smaller, baby version.
“The two sedans are being industrialized and they are great, trust me,” Marchionne concluded.
– By: Chris Chin
Source: Automotive News