Maserati Is Making Big Changes to Avoid Irrelevancy

New/old management looks to polish the trident.

Whether you're talking about a 458-swapped Scion FR-S or the Maserati Levante GTS, if you put a Ferrari-sourced engine in a car, it's going to sound good. Guaranteed. But with questionable material quality and lots of parts sharing, it feels like Maserati—a brand increasingly reliant on Ferrari-derived power—lost its way over the last few years. The good news is it sounds like Fiat Chrysler is ready to change that.

Autocar reports that with both sales and profits down over the last year, FCA CEO Mike Manley wants to take Maserati in a new direction. He recently put Harald Wester, who led Maserati from 2008 to 2016, back in charge of the brand, and Manley has reportedly tasked him with bringing in a new management team. Once the new team is in place, it will be time to develop a plan to turn Maserati around.

Manley hasn't been quiet about his desire to shake things up at Maserati. At an investor conference last year, he said, "With hindsight, when we put Maserati and Alfa together, it did two things. Firstly, it reduced the focus on Maserati the brand. Secondly, Maserati was treated for a period of time almost as if it were a mass-market brand, which it isn't, and shouldn't be treated that way."

And while it will take time to bring new products to market, it sounds like Manley expects to start moving quickly. "It will take at least two quarters to sort through some of the channel issues, but I'm expecting Harald and his team to make some significant progress beginning in the second half of 2019," he said.

It's not clear at the moment what Wester's new plan will look like, but hopefully, we hear more by the end of the year.

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