Maserati executive pledges brand will not go all-electric
Maserati needs to right its ship, but once righted, that vessel will continue to run on gasoline, at least partly.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ plans are to have the entire Maserati lineup renewed by 2023, along with two new models to fill gaps in its range. Maserati North America chief Al Gardner confirmed in March that the new Alfieri sports car will be revealed at next year’s Geneva Motor Show. A mid-size utility vehicle will follow, slotting in below the larger Levante SUV to give Maserati product in that now critical market segment.
Electrification has to be considered by any automaker these days, and that revised Maserati lineup will include plug-in-hybrids, full hybrids, and battery electric vehicles. However, Gardner told Motor Trend that Maserati will never completely abandon internal combustion engines. “This is a brand that needs combustion engines. It needs that raw emotion,” Gardner said.
FCA CEO Mike Manley told an investor conference call last week that the Italian luxury and performance brand has struggled. Sales for the first quarter of 2019 were down 41 percent from the same period last year. As yearly sales in 2018 were themselves down 28 percent from the previous year, that’s a pretty steep decline, with financial implications. Net revenue dropped by 38 percent in the first quarter of 2019.
Manley told investors the Maserati’s fortunes should pick up later this year, as FCA’s increased marketing and sales support starts to bear fruit. The FCA CEO said there are positive signs that Maserati is regaining momentum, despite slowing auto sales in China.