It is also called the G-Segment, but for order reasons here it is called ‘F’ segment. Corresponds to the maximum level of luxury and engines of passenger cars. It is also the top in terms of prices (though there are even more expensive sporty cars) and is more or less the referent for the latest technologies to be seen in future cars. As the market in terms of units sold is not so big, therefore the offer is very concentrated and competition is really hard: Germans rule but are now facing new competitors from Asia, where the segment is growing really fast, especially in China. The cars that belong to this segment are more than 5m long in a sedan body type, normally for 4 passengers but with focus on the back seat as the owner or main target of these large sedans is a rich person who normally does not drive. These cars are normally used by chiefs of states, royalty, celebrities or important CEO around the world.
Last year more than 400.000 units were delivered all over the world. By markets, it is USA the leading one with almost 200.000 units sold, but then comes the rising China with more than 106.000 units. But it is in the Middle East where they have the largest market share: in Saudi Arabia they represented 4% of total car sales! and in Kuwait, 4.8%! very big numbers for cars that have prices startig at $80.000. In fact some of these cars are among 10 best selling cars in those countries, something unusual and just possible in really high income economies. As said before, Germans control the segment with their flagships: 7 series from BMW, Audi A8 and Mercedes S-Class. But British are also strong with their famous Rolls-Royce and Bentley, both owned by Germans (BMW and VW). Japanese are not quite popular as they began to develop F-Segment cars late back in the 80’s when they realized how popular they were in America. It is why they created premium brands such as Lexus (Toyota), Acura (Honda) and Infiniti (Nissan). From them, just Lexus could be considered global, though Infiniti is growing up so fast and soon will have an own factory in China. Koreans have always worked on them, but with low success outside Korea. Anyway their latest products have demostrated how well prepared they are to compete in equal terms. And finally French and Italians. First ones don’t offer anything as they are not even popular in E-Segment, and second ones are present with one model that it more or less popular, the Maserati Quattroporte.
The situation of Fiat-Chrysler in this segment is a bit complicated. In one hand they have the strong awareness of Maserati brand, almost as popular as Ferrari. But in the other hand they don’t make useful of it to enlarge the range of models or offer more versions. It is why even in Italy the Quattroporte is not the best selling car of the segment, and is behind the usual 3 Germans. Maserati is the brand that makes the cars Ferrari can’t do: sedans and SUVs. The Quattroporte is an awesome car with gorgeous design and with the best Italian engines. But the car is old and is not moving as fast as its competitors from the north. The new generation is expected to be presented in Paris/12 and will have the task to increase Maserati’s market share in the segment and so allow the brand to reach around 60.000 units sold per year. The best this car has is its great mix of sportiness and elegance, something that its competitors can not offer (with the exception of Porsche Panamera). If Maserati continues to positionate it like that, they might get an interesting piece of the market with those looking for luxury and dynamic sensations. Therefore Fiat has a big potential with this model which had the best sales in USA, China and Italy in 2011.