Recently Maserati has become the main source of news coming from Fiat Group. Its ambitious plan for 2016 resulted in the introduction of two all-new cars in the last 6 months, that will help the brand to reach 50.000 units in the next 3 years. With the latest Ghibli, Maserati proved it can do excellent products. However, the trident brand isn’t the only one to grow exponentially in the coming years. Alfa Romeo is the other brand that should jump from 70.000 units this year to 300.000 in 2016. Most of the analysts consider this goal to be unrealistic as Alfa Romeo counts on only 2 models at the moment, and its presence is extremely concentrated in Europe. Still, Louis-Carl Vignon, Alfa Romeo’s chief for Europe, believes Alfa Romeo could even exceed that number as he thinks the brand is still well positioned, has a great image, and has a range to be created and sold not only in Europe but in USA, China and other markets. We all know how Alfa Romeo is supposed to achieve this goal: new models and new markets.
Alfa’s strategy is to grow upmarket which means to develop bigger and more expensive cars to compete with Germans. The future Alfa Romeo Giulia will be the option in D-Segment, while Alfa is also considering a larger sedan for E-Segment based on the Ghibli. A SUV and a roadster are also in the plans. This is all good, but as one of the readers of this blog said, to grow upmarket is very difficult and may take a lot of years. Alfa Romeo is present in B and C segments and will try to catch some of BMW, Audi and Mercedes’ buyers by offering better cars. I’m sure they will make one of the best cars for D and E segments, but the fight against Germans won’t be easy. At this point I agree with my reader, who said that Maserati should grow down-market, as it is easier. I agree with him, specially for a brand like Maserati which has a strong image. It is also the only brand of the group that could make more difficult the things for Mercedes, Audi or BMW. Other reader goes even further and talks about a Maserati D-Segment sedan, which could become a real threat to the German trio.
I like this move but it must be carefully analyzed. First of all Maserati can’t do what Alfa Romeo and Lancia. I mean, Lancia and Alfa Romeo ruined their premium image by launching small and low quality products. There is no reason for a Ypsilon or a Musa. Alfa Romeo shouldn’t have developed the MiTo without having a strong offer in upper segments. Thus, Maserati must ensure its success in E and F segment in order to become a powerful premium option, and then grow down-market with strong products. I would add that all Maseratis must be positioned in an upper level than Germans, or in other words, Maserati must keep its extra luxury image in all by offering the best car in each segment (and maybe the most expensive one). Then Alfa Romeo would come on the scene. How? Fiat Group must use the best weapon for the most difficult battle: for stealing clients to BMW/Mercedes/Audi, Fiat should use Maserati. Then, when some work has been done, Alfa Romeo could introduce its new cars to steal even more clients but from the low part of the segment. This strategy would have a double impact: Maserati attacks in the upper part of the segments, and Alfa Romeo attacks in the low part. It is pretty much the same thing what the 3 German premiums are doing now in lower segments (B, C, C-SUV, C-MPV) with their latest products by attacking the upper part of them. This way Fiat could seriously compete with them and things wouldn’t be that easy for the 3 Germans. Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo should work on its current range by improving the MiTo and Giulietta with the latest technologic and mechanical features.