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FCA chief admits Maserati mismanagement killed growth

by Justin King

Without explicitly blaming his predecessor, new CEO Mike Manley says Maserati was improperly operated "like a mass-market brand."

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' new chief executive, Mike Manley, has blamed brand mismanagement for killing Maserati's ambitious growth plan.

Following FCA's formation in 2011, former CEO Sergio Marchionne planned to achieve a nearly tenfold increase in sales to 50,000 units annually. He later bumped the target up to 75,000 cars by the end of this year. With sales sliding to just 26,400 units through the first three quarters of 2018, the luxury marque is falling far short of its lofty goals.

Without explicitly blaming the late Marchionne for Maserati's troubles, Manley recently told analysts that the troubles trace back to the initial decision to group Maserati and Alfa Romeo together.

"Firstly, it reduced the focus on Maserati the brand," he said, as quoted by Automotive News. "Secondly, Maserati was treated for a period of time almost as if it were a mass market brand, which it isn't and shouldn't be treated that way."

Aside from the basic handling of the brand, Maserati has failed to release several important new models that had been planned for launch from 2014-2018. The company now plans to add two new cars and a smaller SUV by 2022.