Fiat Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne is somewhat less than pleased with the way the launch of the Maserati Levante crossover went last year, he said during a call with investors earlier in the week. He thinks highly of the vehicle itself, but its introduction to the market suffered from “very poor execution. I think we sucked at the launch of the Levante.”
The Maserati Levante represents the exotic Italian brand’s first-ever utility vehicle – a product that was supposed to cash in on the West’s insatiable need for tall, spacious vehicles and help the marque grow its sales volume. Yet through the first quarter of 2018, overall Maserati sales and shipments were down, and FCA installed someone else at the helm earlier this year.
That “someone else” is Tim Kuniskis, who was previously FCA’s Head of Passenger Car Brands in North America, after serving a stint as President and CEO of Dodge and SRT. He was undeniably effective in those roles, helping breath fresh life into an aging lineup with products like the SRT Hellcat models and the new Challenger SRT Demon. He’s taken over global leadership duties at Maserati and Alfa Romeo from Reid Bigland.
With Kuniskis at the helm, Maserati unveiled the new, V8-powered Maserati Levante Trofeo at the 2018 New York Auto Show – a vehicle that Marchionne called a “reset for the US market.”
It’s important for Fiat Chrysler’s future plans that its premium Italian brands – Maserati and Alfa Romeo – continue to perform. Sergio Marchionne says that both brands have been able to build upon their technical skills, which will benefit products from other FCA brands – such as the forthcoming Jeep Grand Cherokee. Alfa Romeo’s rear-drive Giorgio platform could underpin a future version of the Dodge Journey, it’s been rumored, while the next iterations of the Dodge Challenger and Charger are expected to adopt a platform from Maserati.
(Source: Motor Trend)