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Big Price, Big Goal for New Maserati Levante

New SUV expected to nearly double luxury brand’s sales.

by on Apr.19, 2016

The production version of the Maserati Kubang debuts during a media drive in Italy.

After a long wait, Maserati is finally set to deliver its first SUV to customers next month, the global roll-out of the new Levante set to begin in Europe, with China and the U.S. to follow later in the year.

The launch marks the end of an unusually long gestation, the luxury SUV originally introduced in the form of the Maserati Kubang concept in 2003. Under the Levante nameplate, the production model will carry a U.S. price tag starting at $72,000, officials revealed during a media drive of the new model.

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The Levante will be one of the most important models ever to wear Maserati’s distinctive trident logo and, officials said, they expect it to be the biggest seller in the brand’s 102-year history, accounting for nearly half of Maserati’s total volume once production gets fully up to speed in 2017.


FCA Sets Ferrari IPO into Motion

Iconic brand intends to retain “exclusivity,” but changes are likely.

by on Jul.23, 2015

Ferrari's 458 Speciale A during its debut at the Paris Motor Show last autumn.

The spin-off for Fiat Chrysler’s Ferrari brand officially got underway this morning as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles filed the regulatory papers necessary to launch the long-awaited IPO of the iconic sports car maker.

Hoping to raise some desperately needed cash for FCA’s five-year expansion plan, CEO Sergio Marchionne expects to sell off 10% of Ferrari’s shares in the initial public offering. Another 80% will be distributed to existing Fiat Chrysler shareholders. The remaining 10% is currently held by founder Enzo Ferrari’s son, Piero Lardi.

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“It won’t be a difficult (sell),” Marchionne said earlier this year, reflecting the general expectation that investors will snap up the shares of Ferrari if priced properly. The CEO has said he expects the brand will be valued at around $11 billion.


Fiat Chrysler Hopes to Redefine, Sharpen Image as it Outlines Global Strategy

Tuesday session could deliver some surprises, sources say.

by on May.05, 2014

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne completed his long-sought merger - but must now show he can do something with the company.

Almost exactly five years after taking control of the bankrupt automaker, CEO Sergio Marchionne will outline his global strategy for both Detroit-based Chrysler and its Italian partner Fiat during a day-long strategy session this week.

The marathon meeting will be a follow-up to one that Marchionne and his management team staged shortly after Chrysler emerged from Chapter 11 protection in 2009 – a session that saw skeptics question whether the U.S. maker could survive, never mind flourish under Italian control. But five years later, that’s exactly what is happening, Chrysler last week reporting its 49th consecutive monthly sales gain as it continued to outpace the industry’s overall recovery.

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But the smallest of Detroit’s so-called Big Three has plenty of challenges to deal with – as does partner Fiat. Together, the newly merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) will need to sharpen and, in some cases, redefine the identity of its various brands, roll out a wave of new products, and expand its presence in key emerging markets. That’s especially true for Chrysler which was pushed out of China after the collapse of its previous marriage to Germany’s Daimler AG.


European Auto Industry Slowly Reviving – But Uncertainty Remains, Warns Marchionne

CEO says he's "generally optimistic" about the industry.

by on Mar.05, 2014

Marchionne tempered his optimism during his Geneva appearance, warning the Ukranian crisis could set back the European automotive revival.

There may be some light at the end of the tunnel – but there’s also a possibility it’s another oncoming train, warned Fiat Chrysler Sergio Marchionne, during a media reception at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.

The outspoken executive took on a variety of topics, from the crisis in Europe that has left key automakers struggling for survival, to the newly completed merger of the U.S. and Italian makers that began in the wake of Chrysler’s 2009 bankruptcy.


Sounding at least a bit more optimistic than he did during appearances at the Geneva Motor Show last year, Marchionne said he is “generally optimistic” about the recovery of the European automotive market which only now appears to be slowly climbing out of its worst recession in decades. The downturn, he said, has taken out about 3 million units of volume annually, the equivalent of a dozen auto assembly plants.


Ferrari Set to Bring California to Geneva

Next generation supercar could bring major engine change.

by on Feb.05, 2014

The 149M Project is believed to be Ferrari code for the updated California convertible.

If you can go to Las Vegas to see Paris or Venice, well, maybe that explains the idea of going to Geneva to check out California. The next-generation Ferrari California, that is.

The Modena-based supercar maker has announced plans to unveil what it has dubbed the 149M Project next week, with the new model itself set to get a Geneva Motor Show preview barely a month later.

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It’s believed the “M” signifies “Modificado,” or “modified,” a term Ferrari appears to be using for the redesign of the California convertible. (more…)

Fiat Dropping $12.3-Billion to Jump Start Europe Sales

Maker’s market share has dropped three points in four years.

by on Dec.10, 2013

Fiat is looking to pump up its European sales bolstering sales of its luxury lines, including Maserati.

Fiat SpA plans to drop $12.3 billion to breathe new life into the company’s sluggish sales in Europe. The plan is to put the Italian automaker back on the road to profitability with annual losses ending within the next three years.

The company plans to focus on jump starting the sales of its 500 subcompact and Panda small car as well as its pricier Maserati and Alfa Romeo lines, according to reports. In the past, Fiat said it planned to develop 20 new models for Europe by 2016, including eight Alfa Romeos. However, the company has repeatedly begged off providing any updates on its strategy, saying only it will provide more insight second quarter of 2014.

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In addition to the aforementioned products, it’s also introducing a lineup of Jeeps next year that will be built in Italy. Also expected is the replacement of the Fiat Punto with a five-door version of the 500, which will likely be built in Poland to save on labor costs. Wages for auto workers there are 75% lower than those in Italy. (more…)

Sales Soaring, Maserati Shakes Up Management

Two Chrysler executives tabbed to foster Marchionne’s growth plan.

by on Nov.12, 2013

Maserati is on a roll, but added two Chrysler executives to ensure the good times continue.

It’s anything but unusual for an automaker to shake up its management ranks when sales start to stumble. In the case of Maserati SpA, however, the maker is re-ordering its executive ranks just as sales begin to take off after years of lagging the luxury pack.

Maserati set a new all-time sales record of 623 units in October, nearly tripling the North American sales total for the same month last year. The introduction of the Quattroporte S Q4, the first all-wheel-drive car to be offered by Maserati, helped increase sales by more than 186% compared with the year-ago period.

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Overall, Maserati’s North American sales are up 29% year-to-date. In addition, Maserati has already sold more vehicles in 10 months in the U.S. than it sold in all of 2012. (more…)

Maserati Riding New Products to Sales Goal of 50,000 by 2015

Redesigned Quattroporte, all-new Ghibli leading the charge.

by on Oct.17, 2013

The Maserati Levante is the maker's first-ever SUV and considered an integral part of the company's plans to sell 50,000 units annually by 2015.

Much of the focus on Fiat SpA has been on how it can gain control of Chrysler Group and what it will mean for the Italian automaker, but lost in that story is the success of one of its other brands: Maserati.

The Modena-based maker of famous names like Quattroporte and Gran Turismo is enjoying a renaissance, but it’s one of its own creation and determination. Last year, the company announced a goal of selling 50,000 units globally by 2015. The company’s high-water mark for sales was 9,000 in 2008.

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While it seemed ambitious at the time, the company sold about 6,300 units in 2012, it has orders for 22,500 vehicles this year and is trending up.  (more…)

Fiat Takes $1.5 Bil Gamble as it Preps Launch of Maserati SUV in Turin

Jeep-based ute was originally planned for US production.

by on Sep.05, 2013

The Maserati Levante will use the Jeep Grand Cherokee platform and a Ferrari engine.

In what it described as a major gamble, Fiat will go ahead with an investment of 1 billion euros – about $1.5 billion — in its flagship Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy to assemble a Maserati sport-utility vehicle in a factory where work rules have been a major point of contention between the company and a key union.

The Italian partner of Detroit-based Chrysler has been threatening to shift production, indeed, even its headquarters, out of Italy if it didn’t get the sort of concessions needed to make it more competitive. CEO Sergio Marchionne is still dropping broad hints that Fiat’s corporate offices may be moved to the U.S.

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But the maker is going ahead with plans to produce the new Maserati Levante – originally known as the Kubang – in Turin, “despite the current economic and political uncertainties,” Marchionne revealed in a letter sent to the Mirafiori plant’s employees.

“Every organization and its people face important moments. Moments when it is necessary to take courageous decisions, even though the normal prudence and logic might suggest waiting.  Today is one of those moments,” Marchionne wrote.


Ferrari Puts Brakes On Production

Move designed to ensure the aura of exclusivity.

by on May.09, 2013

Ferrari is cutting back on production this year to maintain the brand's exclusivity.

Nothing turns heads quite like the sight of a Ferrari roaring down the road. The excitement and awe stems from the fact there aren’t many around. To ensure that continues, Ferrari plans to cut sales to fewer than 7,000 vehicles this year to maintain that aura of exclusivity around the storied brand.

“The decision we have made to sell fewer cars this year despite stronger sales is due to protect brand’s exclusivity,” Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo told reporters during a session at the company’s fabled factory in Maranello, Italy.

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Ferrari produced 7,318 cars last year, he said.