Maserati has set itself an ambitious sales target of 100,000 vehicles annually — more than 15 times the number it was selling as recently as six years ago — fuelled by a new-model offensive to fatten out the brand’s range. We chat to Maserati global product boss Enrico Billi on the sidelines of the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed to glean what’s to come from the trident marque over the coming years
Maserati has enjoyed strong growth over the past few years. Are you now where you want to be, or is there more to come?
The growth of Maserati over the past years has been driven by the Ghibli and Levante, which now accounts for more than half of our sales. Last month we announced the industrial plan for the FCA group, and particularly for Maserati, and in it was our objective to sell 100,000 units by 2022. The growth will be leveraged by new sportscars, such as the Alfieri, and a mid-size SUV to sit below the Levante. There will also be new generations of the Ghibli and Quattroporte saloons.
The GranTurismo and GranCabrio were launched in 2007 and are therefore now quite old. Will the Alfieri replace these, or will that model be in addition to them?
The GranTurismo and GranCabrio benefited last year from a refresh that brought new infotainment systems, rear camera and some styling updates. They account for about 2,000 sales a year, which is quite a small volume, but there are many customers who still appreciate the style of these models, so they’re good halo products for the brand. The plan for these two is for them to continue, but we have a great opportunity with the Alfieri, which was presented in concept form at the 2014 Geneva motor show. There was a great response from customers and media to that car’s style, so we’re going to introduce a production version of it in the coming years.
Will the Alfieri trade primarily on its style, or will it debut some technical innovations?
The Alfieri will introduce a brand-new modular architecture and powertrains that will represent a real step forward from what we have now. There will be possibilities for mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full-electric powertrains, so the Alfieri will represent the future of the Maserati sportscar. It will also be the first Maserati with a full-electric motor, so the time and effort that is going into this car is considerable.
Will the new platform debuted by the Alfieri be used for your future saloons and SUVs?
The Alfieri’s architecture is modular in the sense that it can accept all the different types of powertrains I just mentioned. But as far as the platforms for our next-generation saloons and SUVs is concerned, that has yet to be announced. The decision will be made based on the dimensions and performance targets for those models.
Will the Alfieri be the only model with a full-electric powertrain, or is the plan to introduce EV versions of the entire range?
As per the Alfieri, the next generation of the Levante and saloons will be available in full-electric, mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions. We’ll progressively move away from diesel as we embrace hybrids and EV technology. The same goes for the compact SUV that we’ll be introducing to sit below the Levante.
Selling 100,000 vehicles is an ambitious target for Maserati. Is it realistic?
Our research has indicated three macro trends. One is that the premium segment continues to grow, which is good news for us. Another trend is that the demand for SUVs continues to grow as well. This is largely because premium SUVs these days are fun to drive and their performance can nearly match that of a sports saloon. In addition, they offer a high seating position and more space for rear passengers and luggage. So, opening up to this segment will enable us to target a whole new group of buyers, especially in China. The third trend is the move away from diesel and towards electrification. So, it’s the combined effect of these three trends that will help drive the growth of Maserati.