Maserati's plan to ditch petrol engines might kill off sports car projects
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Italian sports car maker Maserati is turning to electricity as part of a “renewal and expansion” planned to boost sales of the underperforming brand. The move is a major change for Maserati, which is known for its seductive engine sounds, including bellowing V8s made by Ferrari.
A presentation delivered to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles investors late last week laid out a product road map that includes a “fully-electrified lineup” headlined by key new arrivals. The product offensive starts in 2020 with updates to the Levante, Ghibli and Quattroporte, each expected to pick up hybrid options as part of the electric push.
But it’s the all-new models and model replacements that will more wholly embrace the electric revolution, with each to include a pure electric option. That will include a new yet-to-be-named mid-sized SUV, due in 2021; rival Porsche has already announced its next Macan will be electric only.
Maserati will also unleash an all-new sports car next year, again planned to have an all-electric model. While Maserati has previously referred to it as Alfieri – referencing the 2014 concept car of the same name – the brand has reverted to calling it simply a new sports cars, possibly indicating a new name may be chosen.
The ageing GranTurismo and GranCabrio – which date back to 2007 – will not be replaced until 2021 and 2022 respectively, the V8 engines to make way for an all-electric option.
While the new models will likely share components and architectures with other models within the FCA stables, Maserati is also planning to showcase the character the brand is known for. According to the investor presentation that will include “traditional Maserati driving dynamics and performance” and “unique driving modes”.
The electric-focused model revelations came as FCA announced plans to merge with French giant PSA, which owns Peugeot and Citroen. The proposed 50-50 merger would create the world’s fourth largest car maker, behind Toyota, Volkswagen and Hyundai.
It also opens all manner of possibilities for sharing components within the expanded group, something that could reshape planned product portfolios. That could also help the struggling Alfa Romeo, which will receive little love over the next couple of years as part of a “rationalised” product portfolio and reduction in capital spending.
With grand plans to take on the luxury elite, Alfa Romeo’s modern revival has lacked firepower with just two new models – the Giulia and Stelvio – joining the ageing Giulietta. Each has an update planned for 2021 along with two smaller SUVs in 2021 and 2022. However, Alfa Romeo appears to have shelved plans to introduce two new sports cars, the 8C and GTV.
Alfa Romeo is also planning a “reduced global reach” that could mean focusing on larger, more lucrative markets such as China and exiting smaller ones.