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Auto blogFri, 18 Jul 2014 10:58:00 EST
Maserati appears set to take a page out of corporate sibling Ferrari's playbook with the possibility that it may cap global annual output in the coming years. Ferrari announced in 2013 that it would limit itself to 7,000 vehicles a year to maintain exclusivity, and so far, it has stuck to the plan.
According to an unnamed Maserati executive speaking to Reuters, the Italian luxury car maker wants to cap its sales to 75,000 vehicles a year. However, it's hardly there yet. The company doesn't forecast reaching that production benchmark until 2018.
Dave Sullivan, an auto industry analyst for AutoPacific, thinks that limiting sales could be a smart move for Maserati. "If it is profitable at 75,000 and doesn't require a significant investment in capacity to get there, this appears to be sound," he said to Autoblog via email. "Alfa Romeo is intended to be the volume brand and by capping Maserati, it means that even if you opted to buy the 'entry level' Ghibli, you still have a level of exclusivity."
Europe's continuing financial woe is forcing automakers to get creative, and while Fiat may be scaling back its volume vehicles, it's looking to ramp up production of the exclusive Maserati brand. Following the debut of a new Quattroporte sedan, Fiat wants to boost Maserati sales to 50,000 vehicles by 2015. Maserati may lose as much as €7 million ($9.05 million) this year, and Fiat is betting big on Chrysler platforms and dealers to turn that around.
Currently regarded as a low-volume boutique carmaker, Maserati sold just 6,159 units last year, and 4,700 units through three quarters of this year. For 2013, Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne is targeting 13,000 in sales of the redesigned Quattroporte alone. Fiat apparently wants the brand's low volume image to change, hoping to position it closer to BMW and Porsche in the market.
The recent unveiling of the new Quattroporte will be followed by more new vehicle launches, including a crossover utility called Levante, and a long-promised sub-Quattroporte sedan, called Ghibli. The latter will share certain components with the Chrysler 300 sedan in an effort to optimize production costs. The Ghibli will be positioned to take on the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. It's all in an effort to turn the profit tide for Maserati and its parent company Fiat amidst European economic turmoil.
Vastly Upgraded Italian Speed Sedan Kicks Off Brand Renaissance
The sixth-generation Maserati Quattroporte is big - and not just because it's 6.5 inches longer than before with a wheelbase that stretches 4.3 inches beyond its predecessor. The new Quattroporte is big also because it's a huge deal both for its segment and for Maserati. Just as FoMoCo is finally chucking $1 billion at Lincoln MoCo, so too is Fiat investing 1.2 billion euros ($1.55 billion at the time this writing) in Maser's future hopes of achieving the larger success we all have wished for it. And after a thorough drive over the intensely challenging mountain roads of France's Mediterranean coast, we can't deny that there's finally reason to put some faith in this long overdue investment.
The much-applauded outgoing Quattroporte enjoyed a reputation of being among the very fastest executive sedans of its day, all while delivering the sportiest overall ride and handling, even in base trims. Yet there was constant corporate-level dysfunction that kept all Maseratis from getting important upgrades or receiving much-needed investment support. So, the outgoing Quattroporte has up until now sort of languished nobly, largely resting on the laurels it earned when it launched way back in 2003.