As we’ve reported before, Ferrari is going to be spun off by Fiat in the latter part of 2015. Instead of admitting that the company is losing a huge asset, CEO Sergio Marchionne is playing an upbeat tune. Whether he or anyone else really believes it, Marchionne is selling the narrative that Maserati has the ability to fill Ferrari’s big shoes.
Of course, Maserati in its present state isn’t in nearly the kind of condition to do such a thing. That’s why the brand is getting a new SUV and coupe as it works hard to appeal to more consumers. In the United States, numerous Maserati dealerships are popping up in strategic areas.
To say that Maserati is the crown jewel of Fiat come the end of 2015 is an understatement. With Ferrari gone, it’s the best shot the company has at exclusivity, performance and status.
In the United States, Maserati is facing an uphill battle. Brands like Lexus, BMW, Audi and Mercedes have strong footholds in the luxury market. Others like Volvo, Jaguar and Lincoln have their sights set on aggressive expansionism. Somewhere in the fray, the Italian brand must differentiate itself and stand out from the crowd, carving out a nice niche that will net a substantial following. Is it possible? Of course. Will it be easy? No, it won’t.
Automotive news recently pointed out that sales results for Maserati have been a mixed bag lately. In 2014 it saw worldwide shipments double, but more recently its sales figures have actually shrank. The sluggish numbers are being blamed on the economic instability in China, not on any unwillingness on the part of American consumers. However, June did provide a bright spot with a 22 percent increase.
Likely the big cash cow for Maserati will be the Levante SUV. Americans and other markets around the globe have an almost insatiable appetite for luxury SUVs, which also offer fat profit margins. The proceeds from Levante sales could help the brand finance some aggressive model expansions, further cementing the Maserati brand as a solid contender in the global luxury vehicle market.