Last month, Maserati chief engineer Roberto Fedeli revealed the automaker was looking at potentially introducing an electric vehicle by 2020. Fedeli said a Maserati EV would have to be different than other EVs on the market, such as those from Tesla, and couldn’t help but throw a little shade at the start-up automaker once he got on the topic.
“I don’t think that Tesla is the best product in the market but they are doing 50,000 cars a year,” Fedeli told Car & Driver. “The execution and quality of the products of Tesla are the same as a German OEM in the 1970s. Their solutions are not the best.”
The interview was published by C&D in early October, however Fedeli’s comments have only recently picked up some steam. Some publications have lambasted the engineer for talking ill about Tesla when Maserati’s record for quality is also rather poor, but we think Fedeli has a point.
Sure, it’s a bit ironic for Maserati to hate on Tesla, but Fedeli’s status as head engineer of Maserati doesn’t invalidate his words. Tesla’s build quality is less than stellar, especially when compared to other similarly priced sedans from Lexus or Mercedes. The interior is chalk full of plastics and other man-made materials. As advanced as the drive system and batteries may be, the Model S is far from the pinnacle of luxury.
Many websites are also becoming distracted with Fedeli’s status as chief Maserati engineer whilst failing to take into account his impressive resume. Fedeli engineered the Ferrari 458, F12 and LaFerrari. He was also poached by BMW to head the engineering side of its M division before Ferrari and FCA decided he was good enough to lure back.
So yes, Maserati’s quality isn’t great and it’s sales are lagging, but stop for a moment and consider this: the man who engineered the LaFerrari has a point and knows what he’s talking about. Tesla’s paving new paths and trying new things that Maserati isn’t, but take Maserati out of the equation and Fedeli is right. Some of Tesla’s solutions aren’t the best and there is room for improvement. That’s not news to Elon Musk, anyway, though.